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Audio, Radio New Zealand

Ang Jury of Womens' Refuge talks about the announced changes to family violence law and if the government's got it right. Labour's Andrew Little "rejected" yesterday's One News Colmar Brunton Poll so the party released its own results today. Bruce Springsteen has announced dates for a New Zealand tour including a concert in Christchurch for the anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake. Your feedback about the long hours hospital doctors work.

Videos, UC QuakeStudies

A video of a presentation by Dr Duncan Webb, Partner at Lane Neave, during the third plenary of the 2016 People in Disasters Conference. The presentation is titled, "Loss of Trust and other Earthquake Damage".The abstract for this presentation reads as follows: It was predictable that the earthquakes which hit the Canterbury region in 2010 and 2011 caused trauma. However, it was assumed that recovery would be significantly assisted by governmental agencies and private insurers. The expectation was that these organisations would relieve the financial pressures and associated anxiety caused by damage to property. Some initiatives did exactly that. However, there are many instances where difficulties with insurance and related issues have exacerbated the adverse effects of the earthquakes on people's wellness. In some cases, stresses around property issues have become and independent source of extreme anxiety and have had significant impacts on the quality of people's lives. Underlying this problem is a breakdown in trust between citizen and state, and insurer and insured. This has led to a pervading concern that entitlements are being denied. While such concerns are sometimes well founded, an approach which is premised on mistrust is frequently highly conflicted, costly, and often leads to worse outcomes. Professor Webb will discuss the nature and causes of these difficulties including: the complexity of insurance and repair issues, the organisational ethos of the relevant agencies, the hopes of homeowners and the practical gap which commonly arises between homeowner expectation and agency response. Observations will be offered on how the adverse effects of these issues can be overcome in dealing with claimants, and how such matters can be managed in a way which promotes the wellness of individuals.

Research papers, The University of Auckland Library

In September 2010 and February 2011 the Canterbury region of New Zealand was struck by two powerful earthquakes, registering magnitude 7.1 and 6.3 respectively on the Richter scale. The second earthquake was centred 10 kilometres south-east of the centre of Christchurch (the region’s capital and New Zealand’s third most populous urban area, with approximately 360,000 residents) at a depth of five kilometres. 185 people were killed, making it the second deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand’s history. (66 people were killed in the collapse of one building alone, the six-storey Canterbury Television building.) The earthquake occurred during the lunch hour, increasing the number of people killed on footpaths and in buses and cars by falling debris. In addition to the loss of life, the earthquake caused catastrophic damage to both land and buildings in Christchurch, particularly in the central business district. Many commercial and residential buildings collapsed in the tremors; others were damaged through soil liquefaction and surface flooding. Over 1,000 buildings in the central business district were eventually demolished because of safety concerns, and an estimated 70,000 people had to leave the city after the earthquakes because their homes were uninhabitable. The New Zealand Government declared a state of national emergency, which stayed in force for ten weeks. In 2014 the Government estimated that the rebuild process would cost NZ$40 billion (approximately US$27.3 billion, a cost equivalent to 17% of New Zealand’s annual GDP). Economists now estimate it could take the New Zealand economy between 50 and 100 years to recover. The earthquakes generated tens of thousands of insurance claims, both against private home insurance companies and against the New Zealand Earthquake Commission, a government-owned statutory body which provides primary natural disaster insurance to residential property owners in New Zealand. These ranged from claims for hundreds of millions of dollars concerning the local port and university to much smaller claims in respect of the thousands of residential homes damaged. Many of these insurance claims resulted in civil proceedings, caused by disputes about policy cover, the extent of the damage and the cost and/or methodology of repairs, as well as failures in communication and delays caused by the overwhelming number of claims. Disputes were complicated by the fact that the Earthquake Commission provides primary insurance cover up to a monetary cap, with any additional costs to be met by the property owner’s private insurer. Litigation funders and non-lawyer claims advocates who took a percentage of any insurance proceeds also soon became involved. These two factors increased the number of parties involved in any given claim and introduced further obstacles to resolution. Resolving these disputes both efficiently and fairly was (and remains) central to the rebuild process. This created an unprecedented challenge for the justice system in Christchurch (and New Zealand), exacerbated by the fact that the Christchurch High Court building was itself damaged in the earthquakes, with the Court having to relocate to temporary premises. (The High Court hears civil claims exceeding NZ$200,000 in value (approximately US$140,000) or those involving particularly complex issues. Most of the claims fell into this category.) This paper will examine the response of the Christchurch High Court to this extraordinary situation as a case study in innovative judging practices and from a jurisprudential perspective. In 2011, following the earthquakes, the High Court made a commitment that earthquake-related civil claims would be dealt with as swiftly as the Court's resources permitted. In May 2012, it commenced a special “Earthquake List” to manage these cases. The list (which is ongoing) seeks to streamline the trial process, resolve quickly claims with precedent value or involving acute personal hardship or large numbers of people, facilitate settlement and generally work proactively and innovatively with local lawyers, technical experts and other stakeholders. For example, the Court maintains a public list (in spreadsheet format, available online) with details of all active cases before the Court, listing the parties and their lawyers, summarising the facts and identifying the legal issues raised. It identifies cases in which issues of general importance have been or will be decided, with the expressed purpose being to assist earthquake litigants and those contemplating litigation and to facilitate communication among parties and lawyers. This paper will posit the Earthquake List as an attempt to implement innovative judging techniques to provide efficient yet just legal processes, and which can be examined from a variety of jurisprudential perspectives. One of these is as a case study in the well-established debate about the dialogic relationship between public decisions and private settlement in the rule of law. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Hazel Genn, Owen Fiss, David Luban, Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Judith Resnik, it will explore the tension between the need to develop the law through the doctrine of precedent and the need to resolve civil disputes fairly, affordably and expeditiously. It will also be informed by the presenter’s personal experience of the interplay between reported decisions and private settlement in post-earthquake Christchurch through her work mediating insurance disputes. From a methodological perspective, this research project itself gives rise to issues suitable for discussion at the Law and Society Annual Meeting. These include the challenges in empirical study of judges, working with data collected by the courts and statistical analysis of the legal process in reference to settlement. September 2015 marked the five-year anniversary of the first Christchurch earthquake. There remains widespread dissatisfaction amongst Christchurch residents with the ongoing delays in resolving claims, particularly insurers, and the rebuild process. There will continue to be challenges in Christchurch for years to come, both from as-yet unresolved claims but also because of the possibility of a new wave of claims arising from poor quality repairs. Thus, a final purpose of presenting this paper at the 2016 Meeting is to gain the benefit of other scholarly perspectives and experiences of innovative judging best practice, with a view to strengthening and improving the judicial processes in Christchurch. This Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in New Orleans is a particularly appropriate forum for this paper, given the recent ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the plenary session theme of “Natural and Unnatural Disasters – human crises and law’s response.” The presenter has a personal connection with this theme, as she was a Fulbright scholar from New Zealand at New York University in 2005/2006 and participated in the student volunteer cleanup effort in New Orleans following Katrina.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

In this dissertation it is argued that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority were both necessary and inevitable given the trends and traditions of civil defence emergency management (CDEM) in New Zealand. The trends and traditions of civil defence are such that principles come before practice, form before function, and change is primarily brought about through crisis and criticism. The guiding question of the research was why were a new governance system and law made after the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011? Why did this outcome occur despite the establishment of a modern emergency management system in 2002 which included a recovery framework that had been praised by international scholars as leading edge and a model for other countries? The official reason was the unprecedented scale and demands of the recovery – but a disaster of such scale is the principle reason for having a national emergency management system. Another explanation is the lack of cooperation among local authorities – but that raises the question of whether the CDEM recovery framework would have been successful in another locality. Consequentially, the focus of this dissertation is on the CDEM recovery framework and how New Zealand came to find itself making disaster law during a disaster. Recommendations include a review of emergency powers for recovery, a review of the capabilities needed to fulfil the mandate of Recovery Managers, and the establishment of a National Recovery Office with a cadre of Recovery Managers that attend every recovery to observe, advise, or assume control as needed. CDEM Group Recovery Managers would be seconded to the National Recovery Office which would allow for experience in recovery management to be developed and institutionalised through regular practice.

Research papers, Lincoln University

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify through the application of Actor Network Theory (ANT) the issues and impediments to the implementation of mandatory seismic retrofitting policies proposed by the New Zealand Government. In particular the tension between the heritage protection objectives contained in the Resource Management Act 1991 and the earthquake mitigation measures contained in the Building Act 2004 are examined. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses a case study approach based on the Harcourts Building in Wellington New Zealand and the case law relating to attempts to demolish this particular building. Use is made of ANT as a 'lens' to identify and study the controversies around mandatory seismic retrofitting of heritage buildings. The concept of translation is used to draw network diagrams.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

The Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 had a significant impact on landlords and tenants of commercial buildings in the city of Christchurch. The devastation wrought on the city was so severe that in an unprecedented response to this disaster a cordon was erected around the central business district for nearly two and half years while demolition, repairs and rebuilding took place. Despite the destruction, not all buildings were damaged. Many could have been occupied and used immediately if they had not been within the cordoned area. Others had only minor damage but repairs to them could not be commenced, let alone completed, owing to restrictions on access caused by the cordon. Tenants were faced with a major problem in that they could not access their buildings and it was likely to be a long time before they would be allowed access again. The other problem was uncertainty about the legal position as neither the standard form leases in use, nor any statute, provided for issues arising from an inaccessible building. The parties were therefore uncertain about their legal rights and obligations in this situation. Landlords and tenants were unsure whether tenants were required to pay rent for a building that could not be accessed or whether they could terminate their leases on the basis that the building was inaccessible. This thesis looks at whether the common law doctrine of frustration could apply to leases in these circumstances, where the lease had made no provision. It analyses the history of the doctrine and how it applies to a lease, the standard form leases in use at the time of the earthquakes and the unexpected and extraordinary nature of the earthquakes. It then reports on the findings of the qualitative empirical research undertaken to look at the experiences of landlords and tenants after the earthquakes. It is argued that the circumstances of landlords and tenants met the test for the doctrine of frustration. Therefore, the doctrine could have applied to leases to enable the parties to terminate them. It concludes with a suggestion for reform in the form of a new Act to govern the special relationship between commercial landlords and tenants, similar to legislation already in place covering other types of relationships like those in residential tenancies and employment. Such legislation could provide dispute resolution services to enable landlords and tenants to have access to justice to determine their legal rights at all times, and in particular, in times of crisis.