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New building for Parliament

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New building for Parliament

Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives

For release: 28 November 2016

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House.

The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter.

It is the preferred option of three; the other two involved continuing to lease Bowen House or leasing part of the Bowen State Building, both being owned by private landlords.

“The new building is the most cost-effective of the three options and will future-proof Parliament for the long term,” Mr Carter said.

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Parliamentary Service has been assessing Parliament’s future accommodation needs for almost three years. The status quo, with Ministers, MPs and staff spread across various buildings, is considered expensive and unsustainable, and poses security risks.

This project has in-principle approval from Cabinet, but final decisions will be made in September 2017 based on finalised detailed design and costings.

The plan involves the construction of a five storey, 8,500 sq. metre building for MPs on the carpark behind Parliament House. There will be an air-bridge linking the new building to Parliament House.

Parliament House itself will be slightly modified as part of this project as will the Parliamentary Library.

The existing Press Gallery building, which is earthquake prone, will be demolished and rebuilt with two extra stories added to it to house Ministers.

The new building will be base isolated, as is Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. The remodelled Press Gallery will be built to the same rigorous earthquake safety designs as the Beehive. None of the Parliamentary Precinct buildings suffered any structural damage at all in the recent earthquake.

The investment will enable Parliament to vacate Bowen House and Select Committee Rooms 1 and 2 by December 2022.

Mr Carter said it was not possible to confirm the total cost until such time as the detailed design phase of this project has been completed, and the work tendered.



Q: How many people will be working in the new building?

A: Approximately 350.

Q: What happens to all the offices in Parliament Buildings? Will they still be used when the new building is completed?

A: There is no change there - all the offices in Parliament Buildings will continue to be used, with better utilisation of both Parliament House and the Library.

Q: Where will the Press Gallery be situated during the demolition and build process?

A: Now that an announcement has been made, it is appropriate for the Parliamentary Service to work closely with the Press Gallery Chairperson to ensure the Gallery’s accommodation needs are considered and a suitable solution found.

Q: What happens to Bowen House?

A: Parliament will vacate it when the building work is all completed.

Q: What are the timelines around this work?

A: Work starts on the Press Gallery in late 2017 and that should be complete by December 2019. Work starts on the new building in Dec 2019. That will be complete about August 2022.

Q: What modifications are being made to other Parliamentary Precinct buildings?

A: Areas of the Parliamentary Library which are currently unoccupied will be modified for use by Parliamentary Service staff from Bowen House; and Office of the Clerk staff will move from Bowen House to Parliament House. Utilisation of both those buildings will be improved.

Q: Who, exactly, will go where when the project has been completed?

A: Ministers currently located in Bowen House will move into the re-built Press Gallery building. Members of Parliament currently located in Bowen House move into the new building. Select Committee rooms 1 and 2 move into the new building.

Q: What’s the total cost of this project?

A: It is not possible to confirm exact costs until such time as the detailed design phase of this project is complete, and the work has been tendered.

Q: Is this the Government’s idea?

A: No. This proposal has been explored thoroughly by Parliamentary Service in consultation with all Parties in Parliament. It has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First.

Q: What are the earthquake ratings for the new building and the modifications?

A: The new building and the re-built Press Gallery building will be 100 percent of the building code. The new building will be base isolated, as is Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. The remodelled Press Gallery will be built to the same rigorous earthquake safety designs as the Beehive. None of the Parliamentary Precinct buildings suffered any structural damage at all in the recent earthquake.

Q: Does the new building have any special environmental features?

A: Yes, it will be 5 Green Star rated. Green Star is a tool that rates and communicates the sustainability of New Zealand’s commercial buildings. 5 Green Star is noted as ‘New Zealand Excellence’. The building will also be rated 4.5 on the NABERSNZ scale. NABERSNZ is a system for rating the energy efficiency of office buildings. The scale runs from 0-6.

Q: Will the new building and the modifications use New Zealand building products or will materials be imported? If so, what materials?

A: Where at all possible NZ material will be the priority and the preference.

Q: Are there any special architectural features?

A: No, these are functional office accommodation buildings for Ministers and Members of Parliament.

Q: Will the tenders be open to off-shore companies or just New Zealand companies?

A: We will be tendering main contractor works to New Zealand-based companies.

Q: The new building will occupy what is now a carpark. What happens to those parking spaces?

A: There is one level of car parking under the new building but there will be a decrease in the total number of car parks available. Parliament is adjacent to the Wellington transport hubs and a large number of staff already commute on public transport.

Q: Was any thought given to moving Parliament from Wellington to Auckland?

A: No, that idea was never entertained when considering the business case for this project.

Q: Are there any visuals of the project showing how it will look?

A: We have some indicative concept designs which we can share with you (indicative designs [see links above]).

Q: What happens to the sub-tenants of Parliamentary Service who currently occupy space in Bowen House – Min Services (DIA) and DPMC

A: They will have to take a lease directly with the landlord of Bowen House or find other accommodation.

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