Re­port says where Cera went wrong

The Press - - News - JAMIE SMALL

A new Gov­ern­ment re­port says au­thor­i­ties made mis­takes and missed op­por­tu­ni­ties that led to in­ef­fi­cien­cies and bad pub­lic per­cep­tion of the post-earth­quake Can­ter­bury re­cov­ery.

The Whole of Gov­ern­ment Re­port: Les­sons from the Can­ter­bury earth­quake se­quence was re­leased yes­ter­day, out­lin­ing a time­line of Gov­ern­ment ac­tions taken dur­ing and fol­low­ing the 2010 and 2011 quakes.

The re­port says the Gov­ern­ment knew be­fore the Septem­ber 2010 earth­quake that ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion would not be ad­e­quate to deal with re­cov­er­ing from a largescale dis­as­ter. Within days, it ap­pointed Gerry Brown­lee as Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Min­is­ter and set up the Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Com­mis­sion to lead the re­cov­ery.

‘‘There were con­cerns that the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the re­cov­ery was strug­gling to make progress, and that lo­cal Can­ter­bury civil de­fence emer­gency man­age­ment struc­tures re­mained as dys­func­tional as they had been prior to the Septem­ber 4, 2010, earth­quake.

‘‘The cre­ation of the Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Com­mis­sion led to con­fu­sion about who was re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing the re­cov­ery, and the com­mis­sion it­self was seen as in­ef­fec­tive.

‘‘Dur­ing this pe­riod, the Christchurch City Coun­cil was not seen as tak­ing an ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship role in the re­cov­ery, and it had not pro­duced a re­cov­ery plan by the time of the Fe­bru­ary 22, 2011, earth­quake.’’

Af­ter the Fe­bru­ary quake, the Gov­ern­ment cre­ated the Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Au­thor­ity (Cera). It had con­sid­ered al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing a Crown agent struc­turally sim­i­lar to ACC, a busi­ness unit in an ex­ist­ing depart­ment, or re­plac­ing lo­cally elected au­thor­i­ties with gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed com­mis­sion­ers.

The re­port said Cera suf­fered from a bad im­age.

‘‘As the Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Au­thor­ity’s role evolved over time, un­cer­tainty and con­fu­sion amongst the re­cov­ery com­mu­nity grew.

‘‘As it took on more de­liv­ery roles and re­leased over­ar­ch­ing strate­gic plans . . . re­cov­ery part­ners and the pub­lic be­gan to see the Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Au­thor­ity as ‘own­ing’ the re­cov­ery and be­ing re­spon­si­ble for solv­ing all prob­lems. The kinds of ten­sions that arose could have been ex­pected, and mech­a­nisms put in place to man­age them.’’

The re­port said some of th­ese ten­sions arose be­cause the Gov­ern­ment took re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties that did not have enough pow­ers to ef­fec­tively cre­ate the Christchurch Cen­tral Re­cov­ery Plan.

The city coun­cil used the widely com­mended ‘‘Share an Idea’’ pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion cam­paign to cre­ate a draft cen­tral-city plan, but the Gov­ern­ment be­lieved it was not spe­cific enough on de­tails and es­tab­lished a new unit within Cera to fi­nalise and im­ple­ment the plan.

The re­port said coun­cil ‘‘did not have the re­sources and the statu­tory pow­ers nec­es­sary to lead the re­cov­ery of the cen­tral city’’. ‘‘This was per­ceived by some as cen­tral gov­ern­ment ‘tak­ing over’ a lo­cal gov­ern­ment-led ini­tia­tive and led to feel­ings of dis­il­lu­sion­ment.

‘‘[Cera] ac­knowl­edged that there was a com­mu­ni­ca­tions vac­uum af­ter the re­lease of the Christchurch cen­tral re­cov­ery plan, which likely con­trib­uted to this pub­lic per­cep­tion.’’

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Min­is­ter Nicky Wag­ner said the re­port helped the Gov­ern­ment learn, so re­sponse to fu­ture dis­as­ters would be faster and more ef­fec­tive. ‘‘We didn’t al­ways get it right, but we made the best de­ci­sions pos­si­ble with the in­for­ma­tion we had at the time,’’ she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.