The first load of Orders in Council have been passed under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010. As at the time of posting they can be found here.
Most of them are dry and uncontroversial, as you would expect. Those of us who have railed against the powers granted under the Act don’t do so because the Government will behave dictatorially, but because it will have the power to.
One power surprised me, and that is the one contained in the Canterbury Earthquake (Civil Defence Emergency Management Act) Order 2010. Clause 9 of that OIC appears to extend the powers that exist under law to requisition property, so that they can be enforced without the need for a state of emergency to first be declared.
This is just the kind of power that concerns me. What need is there to empower officials to seize people’s property in the absence of a state of emergency (which was lifted yesterday), and in the absence of a humanitarian catastrophe? If people were dying or hungry I could easily see why it might be necessary to seize medicines or food. But are we really in such desperate straits?
I don't wish to be too critical, in case there are good and valid reasons why this power is needed. I just want to know what they are.