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Maurice Williamson

21 February, 2013

Dunedin to host earthquake-prone buildings meeting

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says issues relating to heritage buildings are likely to be prominent at tonight’s earthquake-prone buildings public meeting in Dunedin.

Proposals for a national approach to deal with earthquake-prone buildings are out for consultation, and if adopted would mean all such buildings would be dealt with within 15 years, compared with the current average of 28.

“Dunedin has a great many older, unreinforced masonry structures in its commercial building stock, many of important heritage significance to the city.

The Dunedin City Council has been commendably active in developing funding schemes to assist building owners with upgrading.”

The proposals in the consultation document take account of recommendations made by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission. They try to strike an acceptable balance between the risks posed by buildings in earthquakes and the costs of strengthening or demolishing them.

“I will be at tonight’s meeting and expect hard questions asked on what the proposals will mean for Dunedin and the rest of the country,” Mr Williamson says.

"I want to stress no decisions have been made and the final policy will be shaped by the public’s views.”

This evening’s meeting is at Otago University, Burns 1 Lecture Theatre, starting at 5.30pm.

The consultation document, details of public meetings, explanatory video and online response form can be found at: http://www.dbh.govt.nz/consultingon-epbp

The consultation period closes on March 8th.