Andrew Geddis has expressed concern about the unconstitutionally sweeping powers of Gerry Brownlee's Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010.
I wondered if the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 had a Regulatory Impact Statement. These statements are meant to give an "evidence-based approach to policy development".
I wrote to the Ministry of Economic Development asking if there had been a Regulatory Impact Statement. Their reply (Google Docs) fairly promptly; "No there wasn't".
So I wrote this letter and sent it to Bill English, Rodney Hide (as the Ministers behind the Government Statement on Regulation and Gerry Brownlee, as Minister of Economic Development and Earthquake Recovery.
"The Ministry of Economic Development has confirmed to me that a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) was not prepared for the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 of 14 September 2010. That Act gives the executive branch of Government sweeping powers to create exemptions from existing legislation via orders in council.
Will you please explain to me why there was no RIS for the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010? Who authorised the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 to proceed without a RIS? Please treat this as a request for official information.
The absence of a RIS appears to be inconsistent with the Government Statement on Regulation, which you released on 17 August 2009. It includes commitments that:
"We will introduce new regulation only when we are satisfied that it is required, reasonable, and robust".
"We will resist the temptation or pressure to take a regulatory decision until we have considered the evidence, advice and consultation feedback.."
"Ensure that Cabinet's requirements for assuring regulatory quality are treated as an integral part of policy development, and built into the policy process from the beginning"
The statement also encourages the public to hold the Government to account for actions inconsistent with the commitments in the statement. In light of that, I am writing to say that the absence of an RIS for the earthquake Act is inconsistent with the Government Statement on Regulation, and I wish to hold the Government to account.
The absence of the RIS also appears to be inconsistent with Treasury's Regulatory Impact Analysis Handbook, which indicates that a RIS is required for any policy initiative or review that considers new primary legislation (Regulatory Impact Analysis Handbook, 2/11/2009, The Treasury, ISBN: 978-0-478-33091-5)."
I wonder what I'll get back?