Premier House under DIA review

8:27 am on 24 February 2017

The Department of Internal Affairs is reviewing its management of the Prime Minister's official residence, Premier House.

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This is the first time Premier House has sat empty since 1990, when Geoffrey Palmer and his wife moved in. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As a Wellington MP, Prime Minister Bill English is not allowed to live in the building as the law prevents him from using taxpayer-funded accomodation in the capital.

The property, on Tinakori Road, will instead be used to host functions and conferences.

An Internal Affairs spokesperson said there were no plans to change the building's official purpose at present.

In a statement, the department said it needed to review its approach "to ensure that any decisions around maintenance and refurbishment are aligned with [Premier House's] expected long term use."

It said it's also considering the arrangements for a house on Bolton Street, the last Crown-owned Ministerial home.

"he future need for the property is not clear, particularly given all other Ministers are in rented or self-owned accommodation."

Premier House was bought in 1865 to be the first official Premier's residence.

Many of the country's leaders though chose to live elsewhere, and in 1935, the building was repurposed as a children's dental clinic until 1977.

In 1990, the building was recommissioned as the Prime Minister's official residence after a massive revamp, and Geoffrey Palmer and his wife moved in.

The building has housed every subsequent prime minister since then until now.

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