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Market realities of earthquake-strengthening recognised

MEDIA RELEASE

7/8/2013

Government recognises market realities of earthquake-strengthening

Today’s Government announcement on changes to its earthquake-prone building policy recognise the market realities of creating more resilient public buildings across New Zealand.

The Government has announced its intention to look into the affordability of strengthening and possible incentives in the coming months.

Property Council applauds the Government in taking this matter seriously and believes changes to tax policy are necessary, and if implemented effectively, could be relatively cost-neutral to the Government.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said the Government had appeared to listen, during the consultation period, to the many submitters that reiterated the spiralling cost of strengthening work.

“We support the Government in its objective to balance the cost of strengthening or removal with protecting people from harm by maintaining the current standard of strengthening required for earthquake-prone buildings.

“However, in many cases the market is demanding a much higher standard – further increasing the challenging of funding strengthening work. It’s crucial that the Government provides certainty to the market about any financial incentives as soon as possible.”

Property Council believes any central register of earthquake-prone buildings, maintained by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), must be accurate and up to date.

“Inaccurate information can have significant ramifications on property values, obtaining insurance, finance and retaining tenants.”

Much of the public focus around earthquake-strengthening work has been on heritage buildings and Property Council believes this discussion must continue.

“We need to identify the right buildings to protect, as not every heritage and character building will be able to be saved. That is a reality, along with the fact that heritage buildings can be phenomenally expensive to strengthen.

“If communities across the country value certain heritage buildings to the point that they want a say in whether they are protected, preserved and strengthened, then it is only right that communities contribute to this work.”

ENDS.


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