The National Recovery Office works with councils and government agencies to support a coordinated and efficient recovery after the devastating November 2016 earthquakes.
Coordination, leadership, action on the ground
The National Recovery Office, part of MCDEM, was established for a fixed term in December 2016, supported by recent amendments to the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 that enhanced the role of the National Recovery Manager by placing it in legislation. The amendments also gave the ability to give notice of recovery transition periods which provide for a limited suite of extraordinary powers.
A national transition period for Kaikōura, Hurunui and the Wairau-Awatere ward of Marlborough came into force on 9 December 2016 and expired on 7 June 2017.
The National Recovery Manager, Dave Brash, was tasked with coordinating and supporting central and local government recovery activities after the November 2016 earthquake.
The National Recovery Office has a small number of advisors, and draws on resources from across the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and other Government agencies, as necessary.
The recovery work supported by the NRO is mostly in the Kaikōura, Hurunui, Marlborough, Wellington and Whakatāne districts. The team works with councils, central Government, iwi, NGOs and businesses to support recovery activities on the ground. It focuses on people, land, economy, infrastructure, relationships and legislation.
The National Recovery Office is set to wind up in December 2017. Its roles and responsibilities will then pass to the various government agencies, including MCDEM.
What does recovery mean?
Recovery means the coordinated efforts and processes to bring about the immediate, medium and long term holistic regeneration and enhancement of a community following an emergency (from the CDEM Act 2002).
- Support cultural and physical well-being of individuals and communities
- Minimise the escalation of the consequences of the disaster
- Reduce future exposure to hazards and their associate risks – ie build resilience
- Take opportunities to regenerate and enhance communities in ways that meet future needs.
Act locally, support nationally
The Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) maxim “act locally, support nationally” has been the foundation of recovery efforts from the November 2016 earthquake. The affected local authorities established local arrangements for recovery, including Local Recovery Managers, and recovery plans that identify goals, priorities and actions to support their delivery of recovery at the local level:
- Kaikōura District Recovery Plan
- Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery Plan for Marlborough District
- Hurunui District Council’s Hurunui Recovery FAQs across four environments
Central government provided support to local authorities to lead and coordinate community recovery across the four environments (social, economic, natural and built), and support local structures to deliver recovery (consistent with the CDEM framework). Central government’s support has included financial support, either through existing policies or Cabinet decisions.
The Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016 was passed on 12 December 2016, administered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to provide for Orders in Council to modify or extend any provision in key statutes to enable a speedy recovery. All Orders are revoked on 31 March 2018 except for those which modify the Local Government Act or one of the rating-related Acts, in which case the Orders are revoked on 30 June 2021.
The Orders in Council progressed under this legislation were:
- Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Coastal Route and Other Matters) Order 2016 (administered by the Ministry of Transport) provided for non-notified resource consents, speeding up restoration work on the coastal corridor, and for restoration work to be carried out in conservation and protected areas.
- Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) Order 2017 (administered by MBIE)modified the Building Act 2004 with respect to the definitions of a dangerous building and requirements for remediation, in the districts severely affected by the earthquakes.
- Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Rating Valuations Act—Kaikōura District Council) Order 2017 (administered by LINZ) modifies the Ratings Valuation Act 1998 to prevent the Council from revaluing properties on its district valuation roll to reflect the impact of earthquake damage.
The Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Act 2016 (administered by the Ministry for the Environment) was also passed in December 2016. This Act:
- extended the timeframes for agencies and utility network operators to notify relevant Councils and retrospectively apply for any resource consents required when using the existing emergency works provisions in the Resource Management Act.
- provided for a modified resource consent process to enable the rehabilitation of the Kaikōura Harbour.
- enabled rural land owners and occupiers to undertake some repair works without needing resource consents. This subpart was repealed on 31 July 2017.
Other than the subpart that has already been repealed, the Act is repealed on 1 April 2018.
The Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act 2002 was amended in 2016 to allow the Councils to move out of a state of emergency and into a transition period for recovery (explained further below) and to enable officials to require owners of structures to provide an assessment of the effect of the emergency on the structure. Under the CDEM Act, the Minister of Civil Defence may give notice of a national transition period and a local authority may give notice of a local transition period. Transition periods provide national and/or local recovery managers with certain powers to assist in transitioning from response to recovery.
The National Recovery Office facilitated the establishment of several governance arrangements to support a speedy response and recovery following the earthquakes:
- A regular Chief Executives' Forum where any matters could be raised and dealt with (chaired by the National Recovery Manager).
- A fortnightly, now monthly, All-of-Government meeting to ensure a good flow of information (chaired by the National Recovery Manager).
- A Transport Corridor Oversight Group (with an independent chair and with representation from Ministry of Transport, Treasury, KiwiRail, NZ Transport Agency and the National Recovery Manager).
- The Kaikōura Harbour Restoration Steering Group (chaired by the CE of the Kaikōura District Council and with National Recovery Office representation).
- The Kaikōura Rebuild Steering Group (chaired by the Kaikōura District Council and with MCDEM representation).
- The National Social Recovery Coordination Group (chaired by the National Welfare Manager in MCDEM).