Monday, September 13, 2010

The devil will be in the details

The government has announced special legislation for the Canterbury earthquake, allowing urgent recovery work to be exempted from the normal planning process by Order-in-Council. There's an obvious need for such legislation, but at the same time, I'm concerned. Its one thing to allow truly urgent reconstruction work, but depending on how it is worded - and how it is used - it could go further. And here the government's choice of a commission dominated by government dictators rather than elected and accountable representatives does not fill me with confidence.

The devil is really going to be in the details on this one. Unfortunately, it is going to be rammed through under all-stages urgency tomorrow afternoon, with the opposition presented with a fait accompli and bullied into silence by the threat of being slandered as interfering with reconstruction. That is not a good way to make law at the best of times. In these circumstances, it is just asking for trouble.