The regulatory framework for effective post-disaster reconstruction in New Zealand
Rotimi, J.O.B.; Le Masurier, J; Wilkinson, S
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New Zealand has extensive infrastructure networks and localised, dense urban populations that make it vulnerable to natural disasters. When they occur, the effects can be devastating on the natural and built environment. Organisations therefore need to be well prepared, rather than rely on a reactive recovery process after an event. As one aspect of a major programme of research in New Zealand, the authors address the recovery issue in terms of how the local legislative and regulatory frameworks either facilitate or hinder reconstruction projects and programmes. If well articulated and implemented, the regulations should not only provide an effective means of reducing and containing vulnerabilities (disaster mitigation), but also a means of facilitating reconstruction projects. This paper highlights the interrelated reconstruction challenges of allocation of responsibility for coordination, scarcity of resources and the application of legislation and regulations that were written for routine construction rather than post-disaster reconstruction. Examples of reconstruction following recent small scale disasters in New Zealand are presented to support the points raised. The paper concludes that whilst routine construction processes have proved adequate for small-scale disasters, the greater degree of coordination required for programmes of reconstruction following a larger disaster has not been adequately addressed in policy and legislation.