Chch council banned from issuing consents

LOIS CAIRNS AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 17:41 01/07/2013
Fairfax NZ

The Government is sending two ministers down to Christchurch to look at its building consent issue.

Tony Marryatt and Bob Parker
David Hallett
LEADERS: Council chief executive Tony Marryatt and mayor Bob Parker.

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Prime Minister John Key says the move to strip Christchurch City Council of its consenting power is unprecedented.

International Accreditation New Zealand today followed through on its threat to revoke the council's accreditation and from next Monday the council will be unable to issue building consents.

Key said Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Local Government Minister Chris Tremain would travel to Christchurch on Wednesday with options to resolve the issue.

"We do need to resolve this situation. It's critically important for the rebuild the process is speeded up.

Key said he visited Christchurch last week and it was clear consenting was a major issue.

"If we can't speed up consenting, we can't speed up the rebuild. We cannot afford the rebuild to go off the rails."

Christchurch City Council council planning committee chairwoman Cr Sue Wells confirmed the revokation this morning.

She urged the public not to panic, saying that consents would continue to be processed as normal.

She said it was unclear why Ianz had revoked the accreditation as the council had written to it on Friday and informed it that it believed it had addressed all the concerns that the agency had raised.

Staff were gutted by the decision.

Wells said a consenting authority had never been stripped of its accreditation before so the council was now in uncharted waters.

"We're going to take a deep breath and sort this out,'' she said.

Last November Ianz identified 17 areas of concern with the council's processes and in May gave it formal notice of its intention to remove its consenting ability.

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