The beginning of a new era for Christchurch? Amendments to the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016

Author:Miss Michelle Mehlhopt and Jesse Aimer
Profession:Wynn Williams Lawyers

Nine years on from the devastating earthquake of February 2011, the Government has heralded a movement to a new era of regeneration for Christchurch through the introduction of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill (Bill) to Parliament. This note outlines the changes proposed by the Bill and considers what this means for local decision making in greater Christchurch.

Key aspects of the Bill

The Bill proposes to amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 (Act) by:

repealing specific provisions early; removing certain powers that are no longer needed; disestablishing Regenerate Christchurch; and providing for limited extension of some land powers. Early revocation of section 71 powers

The Bill brings forward the revocation of powers contained in section 71 of the Act from the end of June 2021 to the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent. The section 71 powers currently provide an expedited way to make changes to Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) plans and other documents by allowing the Minister to suspend, amend or revoke these documents. This process is notably more streamlined than standard RMA plan making processes.

The powers under section 71 have been used on several occasions, including to make amendments to the Residential Unit Overlay, establish the Yaldhurst Recreation and Sports Facility and a car parking proposal in Lyttleton.

The early repeal of section 71 recognises that extraordinary powers are no longer required and demonstrates the Government's intention to transition back to local decision making.

Early disestablishment of Regenerate Christchurch

The Bill brings forward the disestablishment of Regenerate Christchurch, an organisation jointly controlled by the Crown and the Christchurch City Council to lead regeneration in Christchurch, to 30 June 2020. The Bill also provides for some consequential amendments to remaining statutory processes, such as removing Regenerate Christchurch's role in regeneration plan processes.

Limited extension of some land powers

The Bill extends Land Information New Zealand's (LINZ) powers for title reconfiguration (primarily conducting surveys, road stopping, title amalgamation and land disposal) for land within and adjacent to the Otakaro Avon River...

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