New Zealand is still not prepared for another big earthquake, a new research report has found.
The study's authors say policy mistakes and lack of a long-term plan "substantially hindered" the recovery after the Christchurch quake.
The study, published by the New Zealand Initiative, says governance arrangements such as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) were rushed and became increasingly problematic.
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Report co-author Dr Eric Crampton lived in Christchurch for three years after the earthquake, and says policy and regulatory uncertainty was "terrible" for the recovery.
"Homeowners and business owners need to know quickly what the rules are for rebuilding their homes, lives and businesses," he explained.
The study warns Wellington needs to be the focus now, as the "seat of government, and most at risk for the next earthquake".
"We need to work now to make sure that, when the time comes, recovery is as smooth as possible," The Initiative's executive director, Dr Oliver Hartwich, added.
"Earthquakes are bad enough. We do not need to compound the unavoidable losses of a natural disaster with avoidable policy failures."
The research report, 'Recipe for disaster: Building policy on shaky ground', will launch tomorrow. It has the support of Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, who wrote the foreword.