29 March 2011
New authority created for Canterbury rebuild
Prime Minister John Key today announced the creation of a new, single authority to provide leadership and coordination of the ongoing recovery effort in Canterbury.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will be established as a stand-alone government department to enable an effective, timely and co-ordinated rebuilding and recovery effort in Canterbury.
CERA will have a lifespan of five years and its operations will be reviewed annually.
“Rebuilding Christchurch and the wider region following the earthquakes is one of the government's highest priorities and we are committed to providing the necessary resources to make this happen over the coming weeks, months and years,” Mr Key says.
“We are making progress on many fronts, but this will be a long and complex task which will require huge resources.
“While the initial focus has been on rescue and relief, it is critical we move forward with business recovery, getting vital infrastructure running and ensuring we have the right systems and relationships in place to get greater Christchurch rebuilt.
“CERA will support the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee to get the job done, in close collaboration with local councils and local communities,” Mr Key says.
CERA’s establishment will be made effective by Order in Council and will be made complete by enabling legislation which will be introduced to Parliament in coming weeks.
“It has been clear since the February 22 earthquake that the rebuilding task in front of us is too large to be completed by existing institutions,” Mr Key says.
“We have looked at international examples of major disasters and been mindful of the lessons learned as we have looked for the best governance structure.
“Billions of dollars will be spent on behalf of taxpayers to fix Canterbury and the job requires a significantly more centralised response – but one that works alongside the Christchurch City Council, other councils and local government agencies, and also provides ways for the community to have input.
“I’m confident we have developed a structure that meets those requirements,” Mr Key said.
Prime Minister John Key today announced extended assistance for Christchurch businesses and workers following the initial Earthquake Support package launched last month.
Both the Earthquake Support Subsidy for employers and the Job Loss Cover for workers will be extended until 18 April, followed by a second round of assistance with tighter application criteria.
“The purpose of this initial package was to be a solid first step for Christchurch businesses and individuals on the road to rebuilding their lives and livelihoods,” says Mr Key.
“Following the extension of the Earthquake Support package, those businesses which are currently receiving the Earthquake Support Subsidy, and which remain viable but need short-term support, will be eligible to apply for the second round of the Earthquake Support Subsidy.
“There will also be an exceptions process for those businesses that do not meet the tightened criteria, but which can demonstrate a strong case for limited additional support”, says Mr Key.
Those businesses qualifying for the second round of the Earthquake Support Subsidy will receive payments at gradually-reducing rates each fortnight over the six-week period.
The second round of the Subsidy will, for the first fortnight, stand at the current rate of $500 gross per week for full-time employees, and $300 for part-time employees. This will reduce to $375 and $225 (part-time) for the second fortnight, and $250 and $150 (part-time) for the third fortnight.
Job Loss Cover for those workers who lost their job immediately after the earthquake will be extended until April 18. After that date, an Individual Support Payment will be introduced for six weeks, which will essentially be a top-up in addition to the unemployment benefit.
“The support recognises people who have lost their main source of income, and provides additional support as they move to find alternative work.
“This support is part of the Government’s wider economic recovery package for Canterbury,” says Mr Key.
Prime Minister John Key says ASB’s announcement that it will invest $250 million to stimulate the Christchurch economy is both generous and far-sighted.
Mr Key was in Christchurch with incoming ASB Chief Executive Barbara Chapman when she announced a $250 million investment programme to support the Christchurch rebuild.
Among other initiatives, ASB is offering;
· reduced interest loans and six-month repayment holidays to existing home loan customers significantly impacted by the earthquake
· additional cash flow relief through $100 million in loans to existing small and medium business owners impacted by the earthquake
· an additional $100 million in loans to encourage new business in the Christchurch region. These business loans will be interest free for the first 12 months
· $1 million in grants to community groups that have suffered damage or loss
· open another two branches in the Christchurch region.
“This is the type of stimulus Christchurch needs to get back on its feet and I am delighted that ASB has been so quick to react,” says Mr Key.
“This is a multi-million dollar vote of confidence in Canterbury and I applaud ASB for their initiative.”Tweet
25 March 2011
In this issue of Key Notes, I talk about our efforts so far in the Canterbury recovery process and provide a link to the Government's official Christchurch Earthquake Appeal website. The Government has also contributed to the recovery effort in Japan and I've spoken with Prime Minister Naoto Kan about our willingness to assist.
Read full article