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Wellington Mayor Welcomes Earthquake Prone Building Extension Deadlines And Review

Mayor Tory Whanau says the announcement of a four-year extension and the bringing forward of the earthquake-prone buildings review will be welcome relief for many Wellingtonians.

“This is an extremely complex issue. It’s important that New Zealand has a system for strengthening buildings that is fit for purpose. The closure of earthquake-prone buildings come with significant social and economic costs, resulting in an often unaffordable and unsustainable position for building owners” says Mayor Whanau.

“I met with Minister Penk earlier this year and shared the astronomical costs Wellington residents, Council and business owners are facing to strengthen buildings. Without change there was a real risk Council would be required to close some buildings with a crippling effect on owners and the city as a whole.

“I am glad the Minister has moved quickly to provide owners with this extension. Wellington City Council’s Resilient Buildings Team will continue to support building owners to strengthen their buildings. We will also offer whatever assistance we can to help with the review.

At present, there are around 300 buildings in Wellington that must be strengthened by 2027, a further 300 or so will need to be done by the early 2030s.

Pukehīnau Lambton Ward Councillor Iona Pannett said that many inner -city residents have made it clear to Council and the Government that under the current system it just isn’t feasible for them to strengthen their buildings due to costs, often in the hundreds of thousands.

“A lot has changed since 2016 and it is timely for the Government to do this review, I hope they engage with affected owners and seek the best technical advice from Aotearoa and overseas.”

“While we must build a more resilient city, the current regime is simply not working and it’s important this review looks at how we build for more resilience at an affordable rate.”

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