Wellington apartment owners seek details for quake-prone buildings fund

9:29 am on 1 June 2019

Wellington apartment owners say $23m in the Budget to help fix earthquake-prone buildings is only a start.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The money is to help apartment owner-occupiers or investors facing hardship. The $23.3m in capital and operating spending over the next decade will be used to provide assistance through a suspensory loan scheme.

"We will be interested to see the detail of the scheme," Inner-City Wellington group spokesperson Geraldine Murphy said.

"We called it the lender of last resort ... it's a place that someone can go if they're in a body corporate that's progressing to strengthen, and those people have no money.

"Now they have somewhere that they can go."

It should be a significant help for some people facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs, but others would be left out.

"There are owners who have already strengthened at considerable expense under what we think is a flawed policy," Ms Murphy said.

The costs of remedying a public risk were being borne by private owners, the lobby group argues.

Initial findings from a survey by the group showed the average strengthening cost per apartment was $500,000, and ranged from $93,000 to $805,000.

Owners face tight deadlines, especially in priority areas where there are lots of pedestrians and busy streets.

Inner-City Wellington has been lobbying Finance Minister and Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson and mayor Justin Lester for action.

It would now be vital to see the nuts and bolts of the scheme, and for it to be backed up with an advisory support service, Ms Murphy said.

"We are the canary in the mine ... people's property rights are being taken away for a public benefit."

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