Resource Management Act streamlining by National-led government

### 8 March, 2011
Nick Smith | Environment

RMA changes support Christchurch recovery

The Government is streamlining the resource consent processes for land remediation works to enable homes to be rebuilt more quickly for Christchurch families hit by the 4 September and 22 February earthquakes, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

“These are extraordinary circumstances that require extraordinary processes. There is no provision in any council’s plans for this sort of land remediation work. This is the worst liquefaction known anywhere in the world and poses huge challenges in the reconstruction of Christchurch as it cannot proceed until the land is made safe,” Dr Smith said.

“These new regulations enable resource consenting for this land remediation work to be fast-tracked. The normal process of public notification, hearings and appeals would delay the rebuilding of suburbs for months and potentially years. Instead, affected parties will have two weeks to provide written comments prior to councils making decisions. This minimum requirement for consultation can be extended if councils wish – although the Government’s priority is facilitating the rebuilding as quickly as possible.

“The sort of land remediation provided for includes stone piles and land compaction and vibration works that will stabilise liquefied land and provide greater protection from any future earthquakes. We are expecting the first applications for this work next week and therefore need to have the processes in place as soon as possible to ensure these consents can be advanced quickly and the work begun.”

These changes were approved today as Orders in Council under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010.


(5.45pm) @10PARK So WHERE are the geotech report/process mentions, huh??? #NickSmith #RMAstreamlining #LandRemediation

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Town planning, Urban design

6 responses to “Resource Management Act streamlining by National-led government

  1. Phil

    I haven’t read through the act for a while, but I’m not sure there are many restrictions in the existing legislation which would delay the general ground stabilising works mentioned. The consultation and consent process in the RMA is centered around the intended use of the land. Sounds like a bit of an excuse to tear the act apart for other reasons.

    “Mr Key said the RMA had been a source of “huge frustration” and a “handbrake on growth”. “It had led to uncertainty around developments and stalled projects, including those of national importance. We need to unlock that lost growth potential and untangle the red tape suffocating everyone from homeowners to business.”

    • Elizabeth

      ### Tue, 08 Mar 2011 9:59p.m.
      Govt moves to cut rebuilding red tape
      The Government today moved to cut red-tape to allow homes to be rebuilt more quickly. Mr Brownlee said nine regulations had been changed or carried over from the September quake to help speed up the recovery process, including three changes to the Resource Management Act.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### Wed, 09 Mar 2011 6:17p.m.
        ChCh quake: Brownlee dishes out more reality
        Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has delivered another reality check to Christchurch homeowners. He said it could take up to three months for people to learn if their houses will be demolished, and if they are to be relocated. Until then, they’re in limbo. Watch the video for Duncan Garner’s full report.
        3News Link + Video

        • Elizabeth

          ### Monday, 07 March 2011 at 8:22
          Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
          Architectural ambassador joins rebuild debate
          The rebuilding of Christchurch is clearly an emotive issue. Wellington architect Ian Athfield and Christchurch planning and resource management consultant Dean Crystal join us to discuss the rebuild debate. (duration: 6′22″)
          Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3

  2. Phil

    Are they trying to tell that by the time a building inspector has walked through a house, possibly with a structural engineer in tow, that they don’t already know if a house is suitable for rebuilding ? Rubbish, they know straight away. What I think they were TRYING to say, was that it might take some time to decide if the ground is going to be suitable for rebuilding on, or whether the house will need to be rebuilt on a different site which has not yet been determined. That, I can understand. But don’t leave people hanging not knowing if their house is going to be lived in again or not. It’s ok to say “Sorry, but your house needs to be demolished. Unfortunately, we don’t know if we can build you a new house here or if we’re going to have to find somewhere else to build it. At least then people have got some idea of direction. They have time to decide if they want to stay in the area, or move on somewhere else. I believe they have that right.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Phil – dead right. And I think it is plain enough already which areas of Chch will be suitable for rebuilding on.

    I have seen some opinion that seems to be saying that land subject to liquefaction has, through violent shaking, become more stable. I think that this is incorrect as large areas of Chch consist of combinations of sand and underlying gravel and ground water comes in from both the sea and from the run-off from the Alps. The water has not been shaken out of the ground as it is constantly being replenished so as I see it, the land will never be suitable for rebuilding – particularly not the buried infrastructure. Water and sewage cannot be strung over poles.

    Time for some straight talking and straight action on those areas.

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