Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Housing NZ staff moved from earthquake prone offices

MEDIA RELEASE

9 November 2012

Housing New Zealand staff moved from earthquake prone offices

Housing New Zealand has temporarily relocated a very small number of staff (mainly in tenancy manager roles) for safety reasons.

These relocations have been necessary as the offices previously occupied by these staff do not meet earthquake safety standards. Impacted staff are in Invercargill, Te Kuiti, Greymouth, Nelson, and Kaitaia.

‘We are expecting these staff relocations to have little or no impact on customers, who can continue to contact us anytime at our Customer Services Centre. Tenancy Managers are already mobile and spend around 70% of their time out of the office visiting tenants.

Where these offices also carried out needs assessment work, Housing New Zealand staff are conducting these assessments over the phone in the interim’, Angela Pearce, Acting General Manager Tenancy Services said.

During the next three months more permanent premises will be sourced for these staff. A range of options will be investigated including the possibility of sharing an office with other agencies. ‘Staff health and safety is of paramount importance and is our prime concern in taking this action. While in most cases we have no reason to believe there is any reason for immediate concern, we have acted quickly in the best interests of our staff working in these offices’.

‘Local stakeholders have also been informed and as we don’t own any of these buildings, we are informing and working with the building owners’.

‘A further 88 staff working in four other Housing New Zealand offices have also been advised that the office they occupy is undergoing further evaluation to establish the level of health and safety risk to staff. These offices are in Palmerston North, Hastings, Lower Hutt, and Porirua’.

Additional background for reporters The Building Act 2004 requires territorial local authorities to have policies on earthquakeprone buildings in their areas, and to work with large property owners on the approach, priorities, and timetable to be followed for any strengthening work. As a consequence, every large property owner (includes the owners of hospitals, schools, other government department buildings etc) is required by their local territorial authority to carry out these assessments.

The safety of staff is a high priority for the Corporation, and it has moved quickly on this matter.

For commercial buildings the Building Act 2004 criteria for assessing potentially earthquake prone buildings is different to residential buildings. The criteria for commercial buildings is single storey buildings and above.

Housing New Zealand has taken the same approach with tenants living in buildings that meet the definition of being 'potentially earthquake prone'. Where a tenanted building has been assessed by engineers as being at less than 20% of the current standards [New Build Standard], the tenants are being relocated to other state rental properties.

Once tenants have been moved to other safer state rental properties, the earthquake prone building is assessed to determine the best course of action. Many earthquake prone buildings will be strengthened and made available to priority applicants on our waiting list in urgent need of state housing. Housing New Zealand has identified 767 residential buildings that meet the definition of being ‘potentially earthquake prone’.

A residential building is ‘potentially earthquake prone’ if it is two or more storeys and three or more household units live there.

Housing New Zealand is continuing to make good progress with these building assessments with around 35% [of the 767 potentially earthquake prone buildings] having a final outcome as determined by engineers.

To date 170 of these buildings have been assessed by engineers as requiring no strengthening work at all, being at 67% or higher of New Build Standard.

To date it has also been necessary to issue 90 day notices [for safety reasons] to tenants in 100 buildings. We have a dedicated Tenant Liaison Team to work with these tenants oneon- one through the relocation process. Housing New Zealand rehouses these tenants in other state rental properties and also pays reasonable relocation and reconnection costs.

Actual numbers of Housing New Zealand staff affected by these office relocations:

• Invercargill (3 staff)
• Greymouth (1)
• Kaitaia (2)
• Te Kuiti (1)
• Nelson (6)

Total = 13 staff

*****

Housing New Zealand provides safe and affordable homes for people in greatest need. As New Zealand’s largest landlord, we own or lease about 69,000 properties, housing around 200,000 people.

The needs of the our applicants and tenants change constantly, this means we need to understand, plan for and deliver changes to our housing stock to match – it is a big challenge.

We are committed to meeting this challenge by investing in new, warm, dry, improved state housing, homes that are the right size for our applicants today and in the future. We are redeveloping some areas where our houses are highly concentrated. National and international research has confirmed that mixed communities can lead to an overall improvement in life chances for all, including more vulnerable members such as our customers.

Our vision for the future is that state houses are part of healthy, sustainable, mixed communities including state, social and privately owned properties. Where possible, we incorporate affordable housing into redevelopment projects.

To achieve this we partner with businesses and iwi organisations as well as other government agencies and local authorities.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Alison McCulloch: Lest We Remember

Local iwi have plans to spruce up the Te Ranga site as part of the 150th commemorations this year of key battles in the “New Zealand Wars”, but not a lot of money to do it with.

Information gathered from numerous government agencies shows that while more than $25 million is being spent on monuments and commemorations relating to foreign wars, primarily World War I and its centenary, only around $250,000 has been set aside for those fought on our own soil. More>>

Anne Russell: Anzac Day - Identity Politics, With Guns

Even cursory research into media reports from the past forty years reveals a cultural shift in the commemoration of Anzac Day. Among other things, turnout at Dawn services has increased significantly in recent decades.

Contemporary numbers are estimated at 3,000-4,000 in Wellington, and 10,000-15,000 in Auckland. Newspaper reports from the 1970s and 80s estimated Wellington turnouts at 300-800, and Auckland at anywhere from 600 to 4,000. 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

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news