15 Jun 2012

Court quake costs rise

8:24 am on 15 June 2012

The cost of earthquake strengthening seven court buildings has blown out substantially with one project alone set to exceed an initial estimate for the work nationwide.

Upper Hutt, Masterton, Feilding, Rangiora, Oamaru and Balclutha courts closed in December. Part of the Dunedin court was also shut after engineering reports on earthquake risk.

At the time, the Ministry of Justice said the estimated strengthening cost nationwide would be about $2 million.

Now, district courts general manager Tony Fisher says the work on the Masterton court alone is expected to cost up to $3.5 million.

He says the ministry's priority is to get the Dunedin and Masterton courts fixed. Masterton will be back in session by April next year.

Plans for work on other courts will be complete by the end of the year.