About 1200 Christchurch and Kaiapoi sections badly affected by liquefaction in Canterbury's earthquakes should never have been built on, a Government report says.
Environment Minister Nick Smith today released a report by consultants Hill Young Cooper and Resource Management Group Ltd that found subdivisions, including Seabreeze Close in Bexley's Pacific Park, were consented after liquefaction risk in those areas had been clearly identified.
The report pointed to failures in the Resource Management Act (RMA).
''The RMA didn't work and needs fixing,'' Smith said.
''The concern is that reports in 1991 identified these areas as highly susceptible to liquefaction, yet consents for subdivisions were granted without any consideration of these risks.''
About a fifth of the areas badly affected by liquefaction in earthquakes in the past year were consented after that time.
The RMA still did not require risks from natural hazards to be assessed and managed, Smith said.
''This reflects the priorities in the RMA of preserving natural character, landscape, flora and fauna, public access, cultural values and heritage over managing natural hazards,'' he said.
''The Government intends to amend the RMA to give greater weight to managing the risks of natural hazards like earthquakes.''
A technical advisory group led by barrister Alan Dormer will report to the Government on detailed proposals by March next year.