This glossary is a collection of terms used on the EQ Recovery Learning website and in related publications provided.

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Accrual accounting
An accounting system in which revenue is recognised when it is earned and expenses are recognised when bills are received, regardless of when cash changes hands.


Balance sheet
A statement of the assets, liabilities, and capital of an entity at a particular point in time, detailing the balance of income and expenditure over the preceding period.

Building Research Association of New Zealand - BRANZ is an independent and impartial research, testing and consulting organisation supporting the building and construction industry.

Building platform
A prepared mass of compacted soil to provide a base on which to construct a dwelling.

Building environment
A prepared mass of compacted soil to provide a base on which to construct a dwelling.


Capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is funding used by a company or department to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, industrial buildings or equipment.

Cash accounting
An accounting system that recognises cash when it is received and bills when they are paid.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority - CERA
The government agency established by the New Zealand Government in April 2011 to lead and coordinate the ongoing recovery effort following the devastating earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011.
A Recovery Strategy Strategic Partner, along with the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, the Waimakariri District Council, the Selwyn District Council and Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu.

Canterbury Wellbeing Index (The)
The Canterbury Wellbeing Index collates indicator data about health, education, economic wellbeing, social connectedness, civil participation, sports and arts recovery, housing, crime, safety, child abuse and people.

CERA Wellbeing Survey (The)
The CERA Wellbeing Survey addresses gaps in the Canterbury Wellbeing Index. It gathers self-reported wellbeing data about quality of life, levels of stress, stressors, positive outcomes and residents' perceptions of the recovery.

Christchurch City Council (CCC)
The local government authority for the city of Christchurch, a territorial authority elected to represent the nearly 400,000 people of Christchurch. The Council consists of 13 Councillors presided over by a mayor who is elected at large. A Recovery Strategy Strategic Partner, along with CERA, Environment Canterbury, the Waimakariri District Council, the Selwyn District Council and Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu.

Components of Recovery
Community (within the context of "Components of Recovery") - Groups of people aligned by proximity, clubs or interests who are at the heart of the recovery, different communities sit across and within all of environments and intersect at multiple points.

Leadership & Integration - The provision of research and information, communication, funding and finance, and the governance, coordination and project management of recovery activities.

Built environment - Involving, affecting, and effecting recovery in, land use, housing, buildings, transport and infrastructure.

Cultural recovery - Involving, affecting, and effecting recovery in, the arts, culture, heritage buildings and places, and sports and recreation.

Economic recovery - Involving, affecting, and effecting recovery in, investment, businesses, labour, and insurance liaison.

Social recovery - Involving, affecting, and effecting recovery in, education, health, and community support services.

Natural environment - Involving, affecting, and effecting recovery in, air quality, biodiversity, the coast, land, groundwater and surface water quality, and natural hazards.

Chartered Professional Engineer

Includes all Ministries of the Crown and all departments, but does not include an Office of Parliament, a crown entity, or a state enterprise.

Crown entities
The term Crown Entity encompasses a range of different organisations undertaking a range of different functions: regulatory, advisory, service delivery, devolved purchase, ownership. Most exist under their own governing legislation. They form part of the Crown reporting entity, but are not part of the Crown itself.


Departments that comprise the Public Service are listed in the First Schedule to the State Sector Act. In addition to those departments, the Public Finance Act includes the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, Office of the Clerk, Parliamentary Counsel Office, Parliamentary Service, and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. The latter six departments are also referred to as “Non-State Sector Act Departments” or “Non-Public Service Departments”.

Department of Building and Housing DBH
Now a part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Previously responsible for ensuring an effective regulatory environment for the building and housing sector, regulating the building sector and the rental housing sector, and providing policy advice to the Government on the building sector, residential tenancy market, and housing and building regulation.


Earthquake Commission EQC
A Crown entity established under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 whose core functions include provision of natural disaster insurance for residential property (contents, dwellings and some coverage of land), administration of the Natural Disaster Fund (NDF), including its investments and reinsurance, and funding research and education on natural disasters and ways of reducing their impact. These three core functions are essential for New Zealand to effectively manage natural disaster risk.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute EERI
A national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists, members include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.

Earthquake sequence
A series of earthquakes that has a main shock as its foundation, followed by a series of aftershocks which are linked together by their connection to the main shock.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority EECA
The government agency that works to improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand's homes and businesses, and encourages the uptake of renewable energy.

Environment Canterbury ECan
The regional authority comprising Canterbury’s ten territorial authorities, managing the region’s air, water and land, and committed to a sustainable management of the environment while promoting the region's economic, social and cultural well-being. Following a government review of Environment Canterbury and the passing of new legislation in 2010, 14 elected councillors were replaced by seven commissioners.
A Recovery Strategy Strategic Partner, along with CERA, the Christchurch City Council, the Waimakariri District Council, the Selwyn District Council and Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu.

In a government context, the Executive comprises the Prime Minister and other Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries; the Government.

Expense recognition
The expense recognition principle states that expenses should be recognised in the same period as the revenues to which they relate. 


Fletcher Construction EQR Fletcher Construction – Earthquake Recovery
A business unit of Fletcher Construction established in October 2010 to manage home repairs on behalf of the Earthquake Commission (EQC). This work is carried out under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, concerned with homes where the damage is assessed in the range between $15,000 and $100,000 per claim. Fletcher EQR’s role as project manager is to co-ordinate the resources involved in carrying out the repairs – primarily, a force of contractors, sub-contractors and tradespeople drawn predominantly from the Canterbury market.

Foundation damage
Damage such as differential settlement, cracking, stretching, tilting and twisting, resulting from land or structure movement (vertical or horizontal) attributable to the earthquake sequence.

The building element that transmits loads from the structure directly to the ground.


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, a common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that entities use to compile their financial statements.

GNS Science
New Zealand Crown Research Institute that focusses on geology, geophysics (including seismology and volcanology), and nuclear science. Its Natural Hazards platform focusses on understand, monitoring and planning for community protection.

The party or parties that command a majority of the House of Representatives on confidence and supply matters. Can also mean the Executive.


House of Representatives
The elected Chamber of Parliament, made up of members elected to represent electorates and members elected from party lists.


Imprest supply and supplementary estimates
Imprest supply provides interim authority for the Crown to incur expenditure between the beginning of the financial year and the passing of the main Appropriation Bill approving the Government’s spending plans for the coming 12 months. Spending that occurs under imprest supply must later be approved through another Appropriation Bill, which is accompanied by further detailed documents know as Supplementary Estimates.

A security or protection against a loss or other financial burden. The PFA (Public Finance Act) states that “The Minister [of Finance], on behalf of the Crown, may give, in writing, a guarantee or indemnity to a person, organisation, or government if it appears to the Minister to be necessary or expedient in the public interest to do so.

Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand IPENZ
New Zealand’s professional membership body for engineers, dedicated to building a strong engineering profession and to creating a community of learning, collaboration and support.






Leadership and integration
The provision of research and information, communication, funding and finance, and the governance, coordination and project management of recovery activities.

Licensed Building Practitioner LBP
Designers, carpenters, brick and block layers, roofers, external plasterers, site and foundations specialists assessed to be competent to carry out work essential to a residential building's structure or weather tightness.

Light Detection and Ranging – a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the reflected light. Used extensively to assess land damage.

“Light Detection and Ranging” definition disputed (Wikipedia)


A member of Parliament who is part of the Executive and usually responsible for one or more government departments or ministries.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment MBIE
The government agency focused on growing New Zealand’s economy to deliver sustainable growth with higher standards of living, higher incomes, greater job opportunities and good quality, affordable housing, by promoting a more supportive and dynamic business environment, greater numbers of highly skilled people and innovative firms, a built environment that better supports a well-functioning economy, greater value sustainably derived from our natural environment, and a more productive and prosperous sectors, regions and people.

Established in July 2012, MBIE incorporates the functions of the previous Department of Building and Housing (DBH).


New Zealand Geotechnical Society NZGS
The affiliated organization in New Zealand of the International Societies representing practitioners in Soil mechanics, Rock mechanics and Engineering geology.

Affiliated to the Institution of Professional Engineers NZ as one of its collaborating technical societies.


The total Crown’s annual operating balance excluding gains and losses. Represents core Crown revenue less core Crown expenses plus surpluses from SOEs and Crown entities. OBEGAL can provide a more useful measure of underlying stewardship than the operating balance as short term market fluctuations are not included in the calculation.

Offices of Parliament
The primary function of an Office of Parliament is to be a check on the Executive, as part of Parliament’s constitutional role of ensuring the accountability of the Executive. An Office of Parliament must discharge functions which the House itself might appropriately undertake.

At time of publication there were three Offices of Parliament: Office of the Controller and Auditor-General, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and Office of the Ombudsmen.

Operating expenditure. An operating expenditure results from the on-going costs a company or department pays to run its basic business.


The Sovereign and the House of Representatives.

A block or column-like member used to transmit loads from the building and its contents to the ground.

Public Finance Act PFO
Provides the core legislative framework within which the Government can borrow money or spend public money. This framework provides for both the rights of Parliament to give informed authority for, and scrutiny of, government borrowing and activity, and the need for the Executive to have sufficient ability to effectively and responsively manage the affairs of the Government




Any official record or documentation published between 4 September 2010 and 18 April 2016 and made available on this website.

Recovery Strategy 
The Recovery Strategy was developed by CERA and its strategic partners to provide a vision, goals and a road map for ensuring the success of greater Christchurch for recovery and future leadership in earthquake resilience.  It encompasses the key components of recovery – economic, social, built, cultural and natural, with the community at its heart.

Any learning resource created and supplied to EQ Recovery Learning and made available on this website.

Resource Management Act RMA
The RMA was passed in 1991 and is based on the idea of sustainable management of resources.

The RMA is the principal piece of legislation which sets out the framework for the management of the environment, promoting sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water.

Decisions made under the RMA are made primarily by district and regional Councils, (often) controversial outcomes affect individuals and businesses in very tangible ways, and are addressed in courts.

RMA also provides for the Environmental Protection Authority which deals with nationally significant proposals instead of local Councils.


Selwyn District Council SDC
The territorial authority representing the area predominantly south and west of Christchurch, bound by the Waimakariri River to the north, the Rakaia River to the south, the Southern Alps to the west, and the city of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula and the sea to the east. Predominantly rural but including the urban areas of Rolleston, Prebbleton and Lincoln. Approximate populations 40,000. A Recovery Strategy Strategic Partner, along with CERA, the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, the Waimakariri District Council and Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu.

State-owned enterprise SOE
Businesses (typically companies) listed in the First Schedule to the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986. Operated as commercial businesses but owned by the State, with boards of directors appointed by shareholding Ministers to take full responsibility for running the business.


Technical category TC
Categories established to define ground conditions, including the susceptibility to future liquefaction, along with the extent of land and building damage caused by the recent earthquakes.
TC1 – future land damage from liquefaction unlikely
TC2 – minor or moderate land damage from liquefaction is possible
TC3 – moderate to significant land damage from liquefaction is possible
Categories also used as the basis for a framework for required building foundation construction.







Waimakariri District Council WDC
The territorial authority representing the area to the north of the Waimakariri River north of the city of Christchurch.

Predominantly rural but including the urban areas of Rangiora and Kaiapoi. Approx. population 50,000
A Recovery Strategy Strategic Partner, along with CERA, the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, the Selwyn District Council and Te Rūnanga Ngāi Tahu.








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