Monday, May 27, 2024

Panel to review emergency recovery decisions

The Government has appointed an independent review panel to oversee decisions made under the Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act.

Hon Denis Clifford.

Associate Cyclone Recovery Minister, Barbara Edmonds said the panel, to be led by retired v, will provide an important check and balance to the significant powers in the Act.

“This panel is part of our ongoing commitment to help communities recover and rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle,” said Minister Edmonds.

“They will be tasked with reviewing draft orders and providing advice to relevant Ministers.” 

She said members of the panel had extensive experience and knowledge across local Māori communities, law, emergency management, local government, primary industries, and rural interests.

The review panel appointments include:

  • Hon Denis Clifford
  • Rachael Schmidt-McCleave
  • Natalie Coates
  • Horiana Irwin-Easthope
  • Liana Poutu
  • Rachel Devine
  • Dr Charlotte Severne
  • Dr Veronica Jacobsen
  • Anne Carter
  • Associate Professor Dr Hamish Rennie
  • Steve Wyn-Harris

“The work of the panel will be important in the broader recovery effort and give communities both certainty and opportunity to have their voices heard,” Ms Edmonds said.

Emergency Management Minister, Kieran McAnulty said support of timely, locally-led recovery efforts remained a priority for the Government.

“The Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act created the ability to issue Orders in Council (OIC) to assist communities affected by the recent severe weather events to respond to, and recover from, the impacts of these events,” he said.

“Put simply, we’ve used OIC’s to relax some administrative timelines which allows local councils to get on with leading their cyclone recovery.”

The first OICs will:

  • Provide a three-month extension of the timeframe for affected local authorities to enter into triennial agreements, to 1 June 2023;
  • Provide a three-month extension for a local governance statement to be prepared by affected local authorities, to 8 July 2023;
  • Modify consultation requirements for annual plans so severely affected local authorities may comply with the principles of section 82 to the extent that is reasonably practicable;
  • Enable severely affected local authorities to make decisions to change services and service levels without amending their long-term plan;
  • Remove the requirement for severely affected local authorities to align funding for activities with the source of funding so they can redistribute funds to affected communities more easily; and
  • Modify the consultation requirements for making additions to rates remission and postponement requirements so severely affected local authorities can publish and allow two weeks for feedback rather than doing extensive consultation.

“The OIC changes reflect how much of an impact the cyclone has had on council’s work load. We want cyclone affected regions to be in the best position possible for their recovery and these changes will make it easier and smoother for councils,” Minister McAnulty said.

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