Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has used emergency legislation to override existing laws 14 times to speed up recovery efforts since the Canterbury earthquake.

The Labour opposition, which says it reluctantly agreed to support the legislation, has raised concerns with just three of the 14 uses of the act so far.

The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act allows ministers to use 'orders-in-council to relax or suspend potentially every other act of Parliament in order to speed up the region's recovery. The act, passed two weeks after the September 4 quake, was supported reluctantly by other parties.

Legal academics from all six of the country's law schools publicly criticised it for subverting Parliament's normal lawmaking role and handing it to ministers whose decisions could not be challenged in court.

So far 14 orders-in-council have been made amending legislation and regulations including the Resource Management, Building, Civil Defence Emergency Management, Historic Places and Local Government Acts.

Labour MP Charles Chauvel, who chairs the regulatory review committee which scrutinises the orders, said Labour had raised concerns about three of them.

The first dealt with time extensions for consent applications under the RMA. The second temporarily exempted some local authorities from information disclosure requirements when issuing land information memorandum reports. The third dealt with an order amending the Historic Places Act which Mr Chauvel said allowed classes of buildings to be demolished rather than individual buildings "and we've said we think there needs to be a much better description in the order".

Mr Chauvel said Labour had received assurances from Mr Brownlee that RMA standards would not be relaxed, and was waiting for responses on the other two issues.

Mr Brownlee told the Herald he believed the Government had used the act "pretty judiciously so far".

Labour's earthquake recovery spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, said his party had agreed to support the act in return for concessions on additional scrutiny of proposed orders and subsequent more formal consideration by the regulatory review committee.

Mr Cosgrove, whose Waimakariri electorate includes some of the worst-hit areas in Christchurch and to the north, said criticism that Labour had handed the Government a blank cheque by supporting the legislation was not justified.

"There's been a lot of late-drinking people who have the luxury to contemplate the constitutional niceties. That's wonderful if you're not digging sewage out of your own home."