Member log in

Brownlee uses special CERA powers again

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is using his special powers again to change the Canterbury regional plan.

The move highlights the continued loss of democracy being endured by Cantabrians. There will be no public submissions or appeals process.

The change was requested by the government-appointed commissioners at Environment Canterbury who replaced elected members in 2010.

Mr Brownlee has responded with his sweeping powers under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011.

He has used them to amend the Canterbury Natural Resources Regional Plan to include new subdivisions within Environment Canterbury’s strict new air quality rules.

The rules are so strict that there are no woodburners currently on the Canterbury market that comply with them.

Environment Canterbury is also sending letters to anyone with burners older than 15 years demanding they get rid of them regardless of condition.

NBR ONLINE has asked the minister for an estimate of how many chimneys were destroyed in the earthquakes and the likely reduction of burner numbers.

We have also asked how amending the Natural Resources Regional Plan complies with the purposes defined in the CER Act.

The legislation states –

The purposes of this Act are:

  • (a) to provide appropriate measures to ensure that greater Christchurch and the councils and their communities respond to, and recover from, the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes.
  • (b) to enable community participation in the planning of the recovery of affected communities without impeding a focused, timely, and expedited recovery.
  • (c) to provide for the Minister and CERA to ensure that recovery.
  • (d) to enable a focused, timely, and expedited recovery.
  • (e)to enable information to be gathered about any land, structure, or infrastructure affected by the Canterbury earthquakes:
  • (f) to facilitate, co-ordinate, and direct the planning, rebuilding, and recovery of affected communities, including the repair and rebuilding of land, infrastructure, and other property.
  • (g) to restore the social, economic, cultural, and environmental well-being of greater Christchurch communities.
  • (h) to provide adequate statutory power for the purposes stated in paragraphs (a) to (g).
  • (i) to repeal and replace the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010.

More by Chris Hutching

Comments and questions

The rebuild of Canterbury will be a pyrrhic victory for Cantabrians and this government. We did not realise what we had lost until it as too late - democracy.

This isn't really a startling example tyranny in action. I'm not allowed to put a wood burner in at my place in Auckland, and haven't been able to do so for years. Why should Christchurch be any different? Perhaps this will help cut down on the smog problem that Christchurch is said to suffer from in winter.

Minus 2 here this morning. It hasn't got cold here yet. I don't recall Auckland getting as cold as it does here. My log burner heats the whole house. Maybe spend a winter here and you may reconsider. Respiratory illness data is comparable to Auckland despite a few smoggy nights. Fact.

Sounds like a cr*p place to live.

No its a fantastic place to live and the people are great too

There are many cost-effective alternatives to log burners for home heating. I am familiar with the temperatures experienced during a Christchurch winter, but it sounds like you need to upgrade your home insulation.

Two wrongs make a right?

Because if you don't have heating in Chch you will die in certain conditions, whereas in Auckland you will just be cold.
Firewood is free to the collector in some cases so allows a lifestyle on lower wages, which are prevalent.
Electricity requires money which many poor people don't have enough of.

There are plenty of pellet fires available that comply. If you want to load "free" wood into burners it is usually code for treated off cuts, rubbish, broken up building material, plastic, wet wood, particle board type material (dumped pallets) and other nasty stuff. That's ok - but only if you keep the emissions INSIDE your house. I don't want to breath it the resulting fumes.

Also you don't need "chimneys" for any sort of modern appliance - a modern flue will do the job. Chimneys are about aesthetics, not practicality. Who wants 1000 loose bricks ready to drop on their head?