Saturday, April 13, 2024

Third reading for cyclone recovery Bill

Further legislation to support cyclone recovery efforts passed its third reading in Parliament today.

Emergency Management Minister, Kieran McAnulty said the Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Bill supports more timely recovery efforts by communities following the recent severe weather events in the North Island.

“This Bill provides the flexibility necessary to allow communities and local authorities, supported by the Government, to respond quickly to issues that occur during recovery efforts,” the Minister said.

“This flexibility was important in facilitating recovery after the Kaikōura earthquake, and we want to provide the same flexibility to all areas affected by the recent severe weather events.

“This will support locally-led recovery efforts to be managed in a way that best suits the needs of each affected community,” he said.

The Bill contains safeguards to ensure any amendments to legislation through Orders in Council are made appropriately. The safeguards add to those put in place when Orders in Council were used to amend legislation following the Kaikōura earthquake.

“The Government recognises Parliament has entrusted it with significant powers to amend legislation that are normally Parliament’s alone. That is why the Bill tightly limits, and requires justification of, how those powers are exercised.”

“The Bill requires any proposed Orders to be reviewed by an independent panel, chaired by a former or retired Judge of the High Court. Members of the panel will broadly have experience and knowledge of local Māori communities, law, local government, emergency management, primary industries, and rural interests.

“Draft Orders are generally subject to engagement processes with affected local communities, including local Māori communities, to help ensure any response best meets the needs of those communities.”

The reasons for making any Order must be published alongside the Order, and Ministers must keep any Orders made relating to their portfolios under review, he said.

“Courts retain the ability to review any recommendations or decisions of Ministers, and Parliamentary select committees will be able to examine how the Act is working and seek public submissions as part of its work.”

“The Bill strikes the appropriate balance to ensure any powers to amend legislation are properly exercised while also quickly responding to support the needs of communities recovering from the recent severe weather events.

“The Government will continue to do everything it can to smooth the path ahead for communities as they continue their recovery efforts,” Minister McAnulty said.

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