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


Protecting Dunedin’s heritage buildings, but at what cost?

Media Release 14 October 2016

Protecting Dunedin’s heritage buildings, yes, but at what cost?

Property owners will have no choice but to lock their buildings up and undergo demolition by neglect unless realistic provisions are put in place under the Second Generation District Plan, says Alex Voutratzis, Property Council Director of Policy and Advocacy.

Presenting to the Hearings Panel on the Heritage provisions of the Second Generation District Plan, Property Council asked Dunedin City Council to accurately assess property owner needs when determing which heritage buildings can and should be saved.

“Just because a building is old, doesn’t make it a quality reflection of a previous architectural era.

“Many older CBD buildings are earthquake prone and are therefore functionally obsolete. It is too costly to strengthen these buildings and owners should be able to demolish these in order to make way for redevelopment as part of CBD renewal,” he says.

Mr Voutrartzis advises that objective and rigorous data, analysis and evidence must be used in determining whether a decision is made to protect a building or precinct.

“This is crucial as the economic and societal costs of Dunedin City Council making poor policy decisions can be steep.

“This objective approach must take into consideration specific issues like the cost of earthquake strengthening, structural integrity of the building, construction materials and site typology.”

He suggests Council work collaboratively with commercial property owners factoring in:

• the time and cost involved in having buildings assessed

• the drop of building value as it is deemed an earthquake prone building

• loss of tenants and the jeopardising of owners’ rental income

“We have concerns that the decision-making process used in determining which buildings to include in the scheduled heritage buildings are often based on aesthetics or historical factors alone. This approach risks undermining any analysis undertaken to determine the economically or financially viability of a building.”

He states that for a variety of reasons, not all privately owned heritage buildings are economically or financially viable to save.

However Mr Voutratzis is quick to point out that Property Council supports the appropriate protection of historical heritage buildings as they provide amenity and a historical narrative that charts the evolution of our cities.

“Within a Dunedin context many of the best New Zealand examples of heritage are either central or local government owned buildings or churches. Buildings like the Town Hill, Railway Station, Court

House, Knox Church or the Otago University Registry Office are the foremost heritage symbols that define Dunedin.

“We believe that these buildings are the heritage bottom lines and must be protected.”

The ideal outcome he believes is to protect what the community views as valuable, yet also enable property owners to demolish buildings where it makes sound economic sense to do so.

“We all want a Dunedin that has economic growth and is socially vibrant. But if a one size fits all approach or subjectivity clouds the heritage policy decision-making process Dunedin will end up with sub-optimal property outcomes. This would be a travesty for Dunedin’s future.”


About Property Council New Zealand

Property Council is a member-led, not-for-profit organisation offering a collective voice for the commercial property industry. Our members include owners, investors, managers, and developers of office, retail, industrial and residential properties, central and local government agencies and other property professionals. Our branches throughout the country represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and the

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


RBNZ Act Review: Govt Plans Deposit Guarantee Scheme

The Coalition Government today announced moves to make New Zealand’s banking system safer for customers through a new deposit protection regime, and work to strengthen accountability for banks’ actions.

The in-principle decisions are part of Phase 2 of the Review of the Reserve Bank Act, which is making sure the 30-year old laws regulating our banking system are up to scratch. More>>



Stats NZ: Gender Inclusive Questions Introduced

More than 28,000 New Zealand households will be asked to take part in the upcoming Household Economic Survey. Starting this year, the survey will ask people to describe their gender – whether that is male, female, or if they see themselves another way, such as one of many non-binary genders. More>>

New Report: Are We Listening To Children?

A report released today is a sharp reminder that what children and young people say makes a difference, and that it’s time we paid more attention to their views, says Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft. More>>


The Nation: Canadian Euthanasia Practitioner Stefanie Green

The euthanasia debate is progressing, with the End of Life Choice Bill expected to have its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday. A similar bill was passed in Canada in 2016 ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Gun Buy-Back Scheme

Do gun amnesties and buy-backs save lives? Since it’s always difficult to exclude all of the socio-economic factors that may be operating in parallel, the die-hard denialists in the gun lobby will always be able to find a bit of wiggle room. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Op Burnham Revelations

Eight centuries ago at Beziers in France, the papal soldiers besieging the town faced much the same problem as the New Zealand troops engaged in Operation Burnham – namely, how to how to tell the difference among the town’s inhabitants as to which were Cathar heretics, and which were true Catholics... More>>


World Refugee Day: Former Refugees Say Policy Must Change

This year, 1000 refugees will be able to resettle here in New Zealand - but there are restrictions on where those people can come from. More>>


The Lobbyist Staffer: PM Defends Handling Of Conflicts Of Interest

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's comfortable with the way her interim chief of staff's conflicts of interest were managed. More>>





InfoPages News Channels