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Media statement: New Director for Greater Christchurch Group

Experienced public servant Kelvan Smith has been appointed Director of the Greater Christchurch Group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

The Greater Christchurch Group is a unit set up to take over some of the responsibilities of the outgoing Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, to lead and co-ordinate the Government’s role in the regeneration of greater Christchurch, and to monitor and report on the progress of the regeneration.

DPMC Chief Executive Andrew Kibblewhite says Kelvan will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from his involvement in the earthquake recovery to date.

“Kelvan’s appointment follows the very sad loss of Michelle Mitchell, who died in January just a few weeks after being appointed to the Director role,” Mr Kibblewhite says.

“I’m confident Kelvan’s leadership will help us successfully build on Michelle’s legacy. I also want to pay tribute Jo Fitzgerald, who stepped into the role in an acting capacity following Michelle’s death, and did an excellent job in helping to establish the group.”

“Aside from being a dyed in the wool Cantabrian, Kelvan brings plenty of experience in Government, most recently as a deputy chief executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. He will oversee a Group with staff based in Christchurch and Wellington. The Group will progressively decrease in size as Government programmes are concluded and leadership of the regeneration is progressively transferred to local institutions, but the Government’s commitment to greater Christchurch will remain.”

“Kelvan will take up the Director role on 19 April, and I know he is looking forward to working closely with the existing organisations in Christchurch, and new organisations like Regenerate Christchurch and Ōtākaro Limited, to make this regeneration a success.”

The Greater Christchurch Group’s tasks include the oversight and funding of the horizontal infrastructure rebuild programme alongside the New Zealand Transport Agency and Christchurch City Council. This programme is about restoring a fully functioning network of infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and underground pipes, to ensure they can cope if there are any future quakes, and so people can have confidence in these vital services.

The Group will also provide formal advice to the Prime Minister and Ministers on regeneration policy issues and regeneration plans prepared by Regenerate Christchurch and others, and will lead the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Learning and Legacy programme that gathers the many recovery lessons across different sectors to share not only in New Zealand, but throughout the world, so that others can benefit from them.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority comes to an end on 18 April, with its remaining roles and responsibilities transferring to other organisations. More information about the new structure in the regeneration phase can be found at www.dpmc.govt.nz/gcg

For further queries, contact the Communications Team at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on media@dpmc.govt.nz, or phone 03 903 0570.