Quake recovery Bill passes first reading
The first of a trio of urgent earthquake recovery Bills has passed its first reading in Parliament.
The Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Bill overrides regulations and permits earthquake repairs to be carried out quickly without the Resource Management Act getting in the way.
Farmers can carry out repairs and sink bores that would otherwise need RMA consents, the harbour can be dredged and slips that are blocking SH1 can be pushed into the sea.
Opposition parties are working with the Government and the first reading vote was unanimous.
The Bill has been sent to a select committee which will deal with it on Wednesday and return it to Parliament.
Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in charge of the Bill.
He told Parliament that since the earthquake, there had been only two hours a day when whale watching and charter boats could leave Kaikoura harbour.
"Kaikoura depends on tourism - they will need to have the harbour dredged, and quickly," he said.
Parliament has started debating the second Bill, which brings forward recently-enacted changes to civil defence laws because they're needed urgently to deal with the Kaikoura situation.
The third Bill, which gives ministers special powers to deal with emergencies, will be introduced on Thursday.
The Bills are similar to those urgently passed by Parliament after the Christchurch earthquakes.