10 Apr 2012

Earthquake-prone churches closed

8:30 am on 10 April 2012

Catholic churches nationwide are undergoing earthquake assessments and many parishes are being told to expect closures.

The Catholic Church has begun inspecting all its 616 buildings and so far three churches - in Takaka, Levin and Lower Hutt - have closed.

Wellington Archdiocese general manager Paul Bayliss says so far nearly a quarter of the 181 buildings in his area have been found to be earthquake-prone.

Mr Bayliss says it is unrealistic to think that all churches can be brought up to building codes, because the funding is not available.

The Saints Peter and Paul church in Lower Hutt closed at the end of March when it was found to be only 11% compliant with earthquake regulations.

A church spokesperson says it was an agonising decision to close the church, but it had to be done for safety reasons.