Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Major Concerns over Earthquake-prone Buildings Proposals

Southern Councils Highlight Major Concerns over Earthquake-prone Buildings Proposals

Dunedin, 22 February 2013 – Southern communities could face a bill of almost $1.8 billion under proposed changes to rules governing earthquake-prone buildings.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says that councils accept work needs to be done on this issue in response to the tragic events in Christchurch, but that any changes need to be flexible, risk-based, practical and affordable for building owners and communities.

Speaking on behalf of the Otago Mayoral Forum and 10 South Island councils, Mayor Cull says rural provincial areas would be seriously disadvantaged by proposed changes to earthquake legislation.

The proposals put forward by central Government include shortening timeframes for earthquake-prone buildings to be assessed and strengthened and greater accountabilities and costs on local authorities.

“The accountabilities, risk allocation and timeframes put forward by the Crown would place a disproportionate burden on rural and provincial New Zealand. This is one of the biggest issues to face councils, building owners and the wider community in a generation, and, as such, it is important we work together to ensure any changes are right first time.”

The concerns outlined in a draft joint submission prepared by the southern councils include:

1. Scale of the problem
The southern councils believe there may be as many as 22,600 rural and urban buildings from Timaru south which require assessment under the proposed changes, with upwards of 7440 that require demolition or strengthening.

2. Cost of implementation
The proposed mandatory requirement that councils undertake seismic capacity assessments over a five-year period is financially challenging. The cost of this work could reach as much as $30 million and would need to be recovered through rates or user charges.

3. Proposed timeframes and costs for building owners
Under the proposals, earthquake-prone buildings at less than 34% of the new building standard will either need to be upgraded or demolished within 10 years. Ten years may not be an economically-feasible timeframe for a large number of buildings to be upgraded or demolished. In the southern councils’ area alone, it is estimated upgrading affected buildings could cost about $1.77 billion over the proposed 15-year period. In smaller urban or rural areas, there would be limited opportunities to recoup these costs through raised rentals.

4. Negative socio-economic impact
If it is uneconomic to upgrade earthquake-prone buildings, businesses may be forced to close or relocate. Some building owners may choose to demolish rather than upgrade their buildings, which could result in the loss of services and of buildings of social and heritage significance. The added costs to business may see some move away from the region or close up altogether.

5. Affordability and risk
The councils believe the existing proposals are unaffordable for their communities. They want to see a more targeted, risk-based approach which targets buildings with high occupancy first. They also support the short-term targeting of building elements such as parapets, which present the greatest risks to lives, with longer timeframes for full building upgrades.

The Otago Mayoral Forum began work on the issue last year. Detailed work is still being carried out and the next step is to consider options to address this issue. Mayor Cull says flexibility and awareness of local variables are necessary to ensure solutions are enduring and cost effective for communities now and in the future. The Mayoral Forum wants to work closely with central Government to develop solutions that address risk while maintaining the economic, social and cultural viability of the South Island’s towns and cities.

The 10 councils involved are Dunedin and Invercargill City Councils, and Central Otago, Clutha, Gore, Mackenzie, Southland, Timaru, Waimate and Waitaki District Councils.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking comments on proposals to improve the earthquake-prone building system. The proposals were prepared following recommendations from the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission. As well as a joint submission from the southern councils, each council and organisation may make its own submission to the Building Seismic Performance consultation document. Public submissions close on 8 March.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news