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

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news