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Regulations on shaky ground

In response to Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell’s call for central government to simplify the rules and regulations around earthquake-prone buildings, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has told the Times-Age he has taken noticed of the problem and wants to review the current process.

As reported on Wednesday, Masterton District Council has begun an initiative to “proactively work with business owners” who need to complete seismic work that’s legally required under the Building Act.

While saying that the initiative will be helpful for business owners, Caffell noted a need for the earthquake legislation that has been “dumped” on councils “to deal with” to be simplified, and expressed a concern about the possibility of some buildings being left empty if they can’t be brought up to standard by deadline.

When approached about the issue, Penk said there was a review of the legislation “due to take place in a couple of years, but I’m looking to bring that forward”, although he added “it would need to be a government decision”.

“This is on the table in response to people from local governments around the country asking for it,” Penk said.

“It’s tied with the other request that was made in some cases, which is that there should be relief from having to enforce compliances, and extending the deadlines to give people more time to do the strengthening work.”

Masterton has 33 buildings that are rated as being earthquake-prone, with deadlines for completing seismic work that range from 2029 to 2038.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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