Earthquake Recovery Minister Brownlee heads to San Francisco

By Cullen Smith

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is off to San Francisco on Sunday for a series of meetings relating to both his earthquake and transport portfolios.

Mr Brownlee will call on the mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles and receive briefings on how California's active San Andreas faultline has affected building design in those major cities.

A number of significant facilities similar to those proposed in the central Christchurch rebuild have been built on liquefiable soils that have undergone large scale treatment in California and Mr Brownlee will review their design and construction and learn about business models for running them.

A spokesman for Mr Brownlee told The Star the visit was part of New Zealand's "ongoing programme of engagement with the United States".

With large scale anchor projects in the Christchurch rebuild moving to design stage, Mr Brownlee will also visit emergency operations centres in Los Angeles and Seattle.

"These have been suggested as potential models for the Justice and emergency precinct in Christchurch," the spokesman said. "He will also look at a large urban renewal project in Los Angeles to understand if there are lessons for the rebuild of Christchurch."

In Los Angeles, Mr Brownlee will meet and thank personally the "first responders" who were involved in the search and rescue work following the deadly February 2011 quake.

"A significant theme of his trip will be the future of transportation systems, which are increasingly being integrated with technology," Mr Brownlee's spokesman said.

"He will visit the Port of Los Angeles, the largest sea port for New Zealand goods entering the United States, and will discuss advances in passenger and freight transport separation in major transport networks."

Mr Brownlee will also look at the future of cars, investigating innovations relating to electrically propelled cars and developments of "driverless" cars.

He will visit the Boeing factory in Seattle to view the new "Dreamliner" 787, soon to join the Air New Zealand fleet.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise was working to leverage the Government's support of Team New Zealand, and showcase New Zealand's industry to the world, the spokesman said.

"He will support these activities and meet with high level business contacts - both New Zealand businesspeople visiting the United States, and US-based businesspeople."

- Christchurch Star

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