Streamlining the consenting process for infrastructure after the Kaikōura earthquake

The 2016 7.8-magnitude Hurunui/Kaikōura caused massive damage to the coastal road and rail routes between Picton and Christchurch.

Resilience

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Photography Waka Kotahi

The 7.8-magnitude Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquake struck on 14 November 2016. It caused massive damage to the coastal road and rail routes between Picton and Christchurch. In response, the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016 was passed on 12 December 2016. The Act was time limited (to 31 March 2018) and allowed for:

  • Activities that enabled an economic recovery, repair of land and infrastructure, safety and resilience, and the restoration of social and cultural wellbeing.
  • Orders in Council to be passed as “necessary and desirable” to achieve the purpose of the Act.

The ensuing Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Coastal Route and Other Matters) Order 2016 allowed for restoration work on the coastal corridor to be undertaken as a controlled, non-notified activity, with the following provisions:

  • Limited engagement and consultation.
  • Broad descriptions and desktop assessments.
  • No objections or appeal rights.
  • Two pathways for RMA applications:
    • Before 31 March 2017: A nine-day process with conditions pre-written.
    • After 31 March 2017: A 21-day process.

The rail corridor was partially reopened within 10 months, and the State Highway was opened to all traffic by 15 December 2017. The $1.2 billion project was completed in December 2020.422