Christchurch has a new legal framework to support regeneration
over the next five years. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act
2011 ("CER Act") expired on 19 April 2016 and the
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is no more. The CER Act
has been replaced by the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016
Key aspects of the new Act
The Act establishes a new entity called Regenerate Christchurch.
Jointly controlled by CCC and the Crown, one of its objectives is
to lead regeneration in the Christchurch district for the next five
years. 'Regeneration' is defined broadly. It means:
Improving the environmental, economic, social, and cultural
well-being, and the resilience, of communities through urban
renewal and development, and restoration and enhancement.
In achieving regeneration, Regenerate Christchurch will work
collaboratively with other organisations.
Regeneration and Recovery Plans
The Act provides for the continuation of existing Recovery
Plans, such as the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, the Land Use
Recovery Plan and the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan. The Act allows
the development of new Regeneration Plans (which are similar to
Recovery Plans), and the amendment or revocation of Recovery Plans
or Regeneration Plans.
A move away from emergency response
The new framework transfers more decision-making powers to local
authorities and provides for greater public input. Under the CER
Act, the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, now Minister
supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration (the
"Minister"), determined how Recovery Plans were to be
developed, including any requirement as to consultation or public
hearings. The Minister approved draft Recovery Plans, having regard
to the impact, effect and funding implications of the Recovery
Under the new Act, a number of parties can develop a
Regeneration Plan. A 'proponent' could be Regenerate
Christchurch, a 'strategic partner' or the chief executive
of a relevant government department. Strategic partners include
four listed local authorities and Ngai Tahu.
The Minister still has the power of final sign-off. However,
there are now more checks on that power. For example:
The proponent is obliged to seek views of specific parties
while developing a draft Regeneration Plan.
In approving a draft Regeneration Plan, the Minister must have
particular regard to the views of specific parties and must
consider whether the draft Plan is in the public interest.
For Regeneration Plans that relate to the Christchurch
district, Regenerate Christchurch must review all draft Plans if
itself is not the proponent, before making a recommendation to the
Minister. When deciding whether to approve the Regeneration Plan,
the Minister must have particular regard to the views of Regenerate
Some key features of the CER Act remain:
The Minister has the power to suspend, amend or revoke a range
of documents, including Resource Management Act 1991 documents and
bylaws. However, under the new Act, a proponent proposes the
exercise of that power and must be able to explain why the exercise
of that power is necessary and preferable to any alternatives.
There is provision for public written comments and in making the
final decision, the Minister must take into account those comments
and the views of Regenerate Christchurch.
Like the CER Act, the new Act restricts Councils from acting
inconsistently with a Regeneration Plan. The restriction remains in
relation to Recovery Plans.
Other powers provided by the Act
In addition to the above, the Act provides for a range of other
The transfer of Crown assets, liabilities and land to Otakaro
Limited - the new Crown company established to deliver key anchor
projects in Christchurch.
The erection, alteration or removal of buildings, and the
ability to carry out such works on private land.
The power to direct owners to act for the benefit of
neighbouring owners if it would assist the implementation of a
Recovery or Regeneration Plan or if the owners have sufficiently
linked interests in relation to their properties. Intentionally
failing to comply with such a direction will be a criminal offence
liable to imprisonment.
The compulsory acquisition of land by the Crown.
Christchurch has moved from recovery to a stage of regeneration.
This shift is reflected in the new Act that creates Regenerate
Christchurch and gives greater recognition to local leadership and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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