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Projects

Spewing Volcano

Current Projects

Funder
QuakerCoRE (Flagship 3) 

Lead Researchers:
John Hopkins, Toni Collins, Cameron Eade and Holly Faulkner 

Project Description:
The project provides an assessment of the current regulatory environment and the level of building stock resilience the system is likely to deliver, with a focus on multi-storey, multi-occupancy buildings in the Wellington CBD. The project aims to other aspects of QuakeCoRE’s research programmes to provide an overall regulatory map. On the basis of this, the Wellington Case Study project will incorporate comparative understandings from overseas examples, particularly focussing on intensively developed CBDs with similar regulatory models with a view to providing future directions for seismic regulation. 

Funder:
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Lead Researchers:
John Hopkins, Finau Leveni, Leticia Smith and Holly Faulkner 

Project Description:
Pacific Island Countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards; the region hosts five of the ten most at-risk countries in the world. As such, it is critical that domestic laws and policies provide clear rules of the road to guide national and international humanitarian efforts. The project examined the legal preparedness for international disaster assistance across the 16 English-speaking member states of the Pacific islands Forum and provides an assessment of domestic disaster risk management arrangements against the ‘Guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance’ (IDRL guidelines) as promulgated by the IFRC and accepted by all UN member states as the key measurement in its assessment. The complete work is freely available online via the IFRC Asia-Pacific website.

Funders:
Earthquake Commission (ECQ) Biennial Research Funding Programme 

Lead Researcher: Toni Collins (in collaboration with Resilient Organisations)

Project Description:
Organisations have a number of regulatory obligations to protect their employees and other stakeholders, such as those in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). The HSWA has a core purpose to “protect workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety, and welfare by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work….”.  On the surface, the legislation is well placed to promote seismic risk reduction activities, however we currently have little understanding of how organisations interpret and act on obligations within the HSWA to reduce seismic risk. Understanding the obligations imposed by current legislation, as well as how legislation is interpreted and acted upon by organisations, will help us to determine:

  1. The potential impact of legislation influencing disaster risk reduction behaviours; and
  2. How legislative levers could be better utilised to encourage preparedness and reduce economic loss and injury following natural hazard events.

Funders:

Lead Researchers:
John Hopkins and Thomas Wilson 

Project Description:
Building upon existing work in the field, this project will examine the resilience of New Zealand’s legal and constitutional framework in the wake an Auckland Volcanic Field Eruption. The project will utilise scenarios developed by the DEVORA research programme, assess the ability of the current structures to deal with such an event and consider how such structures could be further developed to increase their resilience. Working alongside DEVORA stakeholders (including Auckland Council), the project aims to provide not only a better understanding of the specific issue of volcanic risk to the legal framework (and thus effective response and recovery) but more generally expand our knowledge of disaster law and governance in a New Zealand context. The project will be undertaken by a funded PhD scholarship. Details are available here.

Funders:
Collaboration between Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC), Urban Theme and QuakeCoRE (Flagship5).

Lead Researchers:
John Hopkins and Helen O’Connor (in collaboration with David Johnston, Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University) 

Project Description:
The project examines the potential use of smart technology to provide increased public safety around seismic risk and wider hazards. It will explore the use of such technology and the issues around privacy and information sharing in all aspects of the disaster cycle both in a New Zealand and global context.

Funder:
BRANZ

Lead Researchers:
John Hopkins and Cameron Eade 

Project Description:
The sudden closure of public buildings and amenities due to seismic risk can have a negative effect on local communities. LEAD is part of a joint team led by BRANZ, aiming to help local authorities make well-informed decisions about earthquake-prone buildings.

Funders:
QuakeCoRE Strategic Project Fund 

Lead Researcher:
Natalie Baird 

Date:
2018 - 2020 

Project Description:
The project examined two preliminary Canterbury-based case studies of Human Rights in the context of disaster:

  1. “Disasters, Human Rights and Vulnerability: Reflections from the Experiences of Older Persons in Post-Quake Canterbury”;
  2. “Remedies for Human Rights Violations in Post-Quake Canterbury: the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises”

Funder:

UC School of Law Research Fund

Lead Researchers:

Elizabeth Toomey and Toni Collins, in collaboration with Emily Walton (Wynn Williams)

Project Description:

A plethora of novel legal issues arose as a consequence of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Issues pertaining to holiday pay and sick leave in employment law, frustrated leases and re-zoning of land in land law, custody and care arrangements in family law. The Courts were inundated with claims. The largest number, though, related to insurance for buildings damage in the earthquakes. The meet the demand the High Court set up a special list called the "High Court Earthquake List" in 2012 to manage litigation resulting from the Canterbury Earthquakes. The purpose of the List was to ensure the claims on it were dealt with as expeditiously as possible and with this in mind a select group of Judges were assigned to these cases. However, the case load was enormous and delays were inevitable. In 2019 the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal was established to provide a fair, speedy, flexible and cost-effective dispute resolution service as an alternative to court proceedings. Now, 10 years on from the first earthquake, there are still outstanding insurance cases to be resolved. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests a number of problems with the process were exposed, such as a lack of civil legal aid, important test cases that settled before going to trial, llitigation funders creating false expectations, inexperienced insurance staff (including assessors and loss adjustors), expert disagreements and overall a lack of resources to deal with the enormity of the problem.

The purpose of this research is to investigate how disputes were managed after the earthquakes and examine whether our learnings can provide a best practice solution for future disasters in Aotearoa New Zealand. To do this, an overview of the issues that arose in Christchurch will be produced together with an examination of how they were resolved, which information will be obtained from interviews with Judges, practitioners and advisors working at the coal face. There will also be an investigation into overseas experiences of dispute resolution in disasters to ascertain what has been done in other jurisdictions that may be able to inform any change required in this country.

Past Projects

Lead Researcher:
Natalie Baird 

UC UPC Submission Group:
Erin Gough, Andrew Pullar, Christy Pullyn, Jennifer Sangaroonthong, Sara Tan and Joy Twemlow (LLB Students) 

Year:
2013 

Project Description:
Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Human Rights Impacts of the Earthquakes.

Funder:
Santander Fellowship 

Lead Researchers:
Annick Masselot (in collaboration with Roberta Gurrina, University of Surrey, UK)

Year:
2016 - 2017

Funder:
Jean Monnet Programme, European Commission

Lead Researchers:
Annick Masselot, G. Taylor and Dr. K Vadura

Awarded the 2014 RISK Award for the best project proposal for disaster prevention in 2014 by the Global Risk Forum, Davos, UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR) and the Munich Re Foundation from Knowledge to Action.

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