Labour would axe earthquake authority

TIM FULTON
Last updated 13:06 10/07/2014

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The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority would be axed in 2016 if Labour is elected, party leader David Cunliffe says.

Labour would give some of Cera's decision-making powers back to local authorities ''by immediately beginning to wind down Cera and cancelling its extraordinary powers'', Cunliffe said.

The ''wartime powers'' that CERA was able to call on in the initial aftermath of the earthquakes were appropriate but it was time for Cantabrians to have a more direct say in the rebuild, Cunliffe said. 

Labour would first move to appoint a board of ''prominent Cantabrians'' who could govern CERA in place of the direct control currently exercised by the Earthquake Recovery minister.

DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS FOR ECAN 

Environment Canterbury would meanwhile return to democratic elections ''as soon as possible'' while Christchurch City Council would be allowed to create a new strategic plan.

Cunliffe said a Labour government wouldn't leave Canterbury to chart its own path, in either funding or input from central government.

It would ''work in partnership with the Christchurch City Council to find solutions to the financial crisis created by the cost-sharing arrangement imposed by the current government on the previous council''.

A Labour-led government would work with the city's Mayor and councillors to work out a ''fair and sustainable solution'' that brought the council's books back into balance while paying for necessary rebuilding.

There would be no restrictions on the options that could be negotiated in these talks, Cunliffe said.

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