29 Jan 2024

Earthquake-prone building regulations unaffordable for some

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 29 January 2024
Reading car park to be demolished due to damage from the 7.8 earthquake.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Calls are growing for the new Government to urgently address the hefty bills facing owners of earthquake-prone buildings.

Former Wellington owner Hazel Kirkham is warning many simply cannot afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to get their buildings up to code, and will not be able to comply with upcoming deadlines. Much of the issue is condensed in the Capital, which has more multi-owner quake-prone buildings than any other city, as well as shorter timeframes to comply, due to its seismic risk.

A review of the regulations was promised in 2022, but it has been pushed forward to 2027. Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says he is seeking advice from officials in the coming weeks on what options are available to the Government. Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett is warning potential buyers not to buy apartments until policy around earthquake strengthening is changed.

Hazel Kirkham and Iona Pannett speak with Kathryn Ryan.