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The Office of the Auditor-General report into CERA’s effectiveness must be viewed in the context of New Zealand’s most significant natural disaster, the Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee says.

“I believe the report as a whole is unbalanced at times and doesn’t compare CERA with other recovery agencies or post-disaster experiences worldwide,” Mr Brownlee says.

“After I requested the involvement of the OAG from the early stages of CERA, it’s disappointing that this report only reflects their inability to identify problems earlier.

“CERA was in an evolving post-disaster situation – that included thousands of aftershocks. People were very stressed for a great number of reasons and the report skims over the enormity of this impact on every facet of the community’s recovery.

“The report compares CERA to government departments that have existed for decades and doesn’t recognise the unprecedented nature of the organisation and its tasks.

“The clarity of the role of CERA and relationships with other agencies had to evolve in order for the government to be able to disestablish the organisation and move towards a new regeneration phase after five years, as we committed to.

“The report says CERA’s communications did not meet public expectations, but fails to compare them with the experiences of recovery agencies worldwide, where this is sadly always the case.

“CERA was subject to annual audits, including quality assurance reports, as well as a robust select committee process and was assisted in financial management by Treasury.

“I remain proud of the work CERA staff accomplished alongside other local and central government agencies and they should be too,” Mr Brownlee says.

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