Share an Idea, spare a thought: Community consultation in Christchurch’s time-bound post-earthquake rebuild


  • Sally Carlton



The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 (CER Act), brought into effect after the 22 February 2011 earthquake which devastated the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, outlines as its second purpose the imperative ‘to enable community participation in the planning of the recovery of affected communities without impeding a focused, timely, and expedited recovery.’ The Act thus clearly highlights the importance of community participation and a time-bound recovery process. Viewing the fundamental disconnect between these two aims through the lens of community consultation, this article demonstrates that the necessity of a timely recovery works against the generation of meaningful community participation, providing an insight into the strain placed on democratic processes and questioning whether the social right to housing and the political right to opinion can both be adequately met during times of difficulty engendered by natural disaster.