What reports has he received on responses to the Canterbury earthquake, particularly with respect to the region’s flood and waste management systems?
I am advised that the flood protection works in the lower Waimakariri area suffered from liquefaction involving lateral spreading to approximately 1.5 kilometres of the stopbanks, mainly on the Kaiapoi side of the river but also in the Stewarts Gully area. Environment Canterbury has been working to re-establish this protection as quickly as possible and has already restored it to a 1-in-15-year level of flood protection. Work costing nearly $3 million will be completed over the next month to secure a 1-in-50-year level of flood protection. It will take 12 months to do the full set of work, providing Christchurch and the people of Canterbury with a 1-in-200-year level of protection by this time next year.
What steps has the Government taken to assist in the earthquake clean-up so as to minimise the cost for householders and business?
Canterbury transfer stations and landfills have reported an eightfold increase in volumes, with 40,000 tonnes of food alone having to be disposed of. On top of this there will be tens of thousands of tonnes of other waste. The Government has stepped in to minimise the cost by exempting this waste from the Waste Minimisation Act levy of $10 per tonne. This step will save Cantabrians several million dollars. The purpose of the waste levy is to encourage recycling and waste minimisation during the normal course of business. An earthquake of this scale is a very exceptional event, and there will be no impact on the Government’s waste minimisation programme and recycling work, as the estimates do not include the sort of extra waste that comes from such a disaster.