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

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Hi and welcome to the 47th edition of Werewolf, published on the eve of Anzac Day. Its become a cliché to describe Gallipolli as the crucible of this country’s identity, yet hold on... Isn’t our national identity supposed to be bi-cultural... and wouldn’t that suggest that the New Zealand Wars of the 19th century is a more important crucible of national identity than those fought on foreign soil?

Yet as Alison McCulloch eloquently reveals in this month’s cover story, New Zealand devotes a mere fraction of its attention span and funding resources to commemorating the New Zealand Wars compared to what it devotes to the two world wars, Vietnam and Afghanistan... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Spookwatch: New Inspector-General Of Intelligence And Security Appointed

Prime Minister John Key hasannounced the appointment of Cheryl Gwyn as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The appointment was made by the Administrator of the Government on behalf of the Governor General and is for a term of three years. More>>

Crowdsourcing: Green Party Launches Internet Rights And Freedoms Bill

The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shane Jones Departure

Shane Jones has left Parliament in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with self interest coming in first and second, and with the interests of the Labour Party (under whose banner he served) way, way back down the track. More>>

COMMENT:

Multimedia: PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - April 22 2014

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • The recent improvement in the economy with a growing job market • Income and wealth inequality • Easter trading laws • The New Zealander killed in a drone strike in Yemen... More>>

ALSO:

Easter Trading: Workers 'Can Kiss Goodbye To Easter Sunday Off'

The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. More>>

ALSO:

ACT Don't Go For Maximum Penalty: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison... More>>

ALSO:

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. More>>

ALSO:

Elections: New Electorate Boundaries Finalised

New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

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:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news