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Maurice Williamson

12 February, 2013

Second earthquake-prone buildings public meeting tonight

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says feedback from tonight’s second public meeting in Auckland will be vital in helping establish a new policy to deal with earthquake-prone buildings.

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 years.

The first public meeting on the proposals in Wellington a week ago attracted more than 200 people and a range of issues were aired.

“I will be attending tonight’s meeting at the Auckland Council Chambers and am hopeful there will be more robust discussion. This is an important issue for Auckland, as QV figures show there are about 19,000 buildings built prior to 1976 in the city. Some of these might be earthquake prone.”

“Getting a new policy right involves striking a balance between the risks posed by buildings in earthquakes and the costs of strengthening, or demolishing, them,” Mr Williamson says.

Under the proposed changes, all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings would have to be assessed within five years. Owners of buildings assessed as being earthquake-prone would then have up to 10 years to strengthen or demolish them.

As of yesterday, 102 submissions on the proposals had been lodged with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Tonight’s meeting at the Auckland Council Chambers begins at 5.30pm.

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

The consultation process runs until 5pm Friday 8 March 2013.