3 Jun 2015

Chch transition plan behind schedule

10:55 am on 3 June 2015

The special legislation that governs Canterbury's earthquake recovery expires in less than 12 months, but arrangements to transfer power back to local authorities are behind schedule.

no caption

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Late last year, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister established a transition advisory board to help steer the recovery past early 2016.

It will advise the Government on how to wind back the functions of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and what provisions of the Earthquake Recovery Act may need extending.

But so far, little is known about the board's work. Chairwoman Jenny Shipley hoped to have a draft plan in place by April but that timeline was missed.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee dodged questions about the transition plan's delay but said he was confident the board would deliver.

He hoped to have a draft transition plan for consideration this month.

Labour Party earthquake recovery spokeswoman Ruth Dyson said Cera's powers needed scaling back sooner rather than later.

She said the city "desperately needs a solid transition plan" and was disappointed that it was already running behind schedule.

"Cera itself has moved from what was meant to be a nimble recovery support to being a bloated bureaucracy," she said.

"It should just go and let's get those powers devolved to organisations that can make things happen."

Earlier this year, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said a plan could have been developed sooner to provide more certainty to businesses, investors and residents.

Ms Dalziel and the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive both deferred comment about the board to Dame Jenny.

City councillor Yani Johanson said the council had not received a formal update about the transition and said the board lacked transparency.

He said the time was right for decision-making powers to be restored to the people of Christchurch and their elected representatives.

Dame Jenny said the board had almost completed its first report to the minister and hoped to be able to provide an update about the transition shortly.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs