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Extension won’t affect ‘momentum’

Earthquake-prone buildings are set to be given a four-year stay of execution by the coalition government.

It means Masterton’s Town Hall will have until 2030 – instead of 2026 – to be remediated or demolished.

Earlier this week, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk said many building owners would have struggled to meet the current deadlines due to the high costs involved.

Without change, “a significant number of buildings could sit empty which would have a devastating impact on the economy in cities such as Wellington and provincial towns across New Zealand”, Penk said.

A review into the building code requirements that was scheduled to start in 2027 will also be brought forward to start immediately, Penk said.

Masterton District Council’s [MDC] infrastructure and assets manager Maseina Koneferenisi said MDC has been working with owners of earthquake-prone buildings to ensure they are aware of legislative requirements and options available to them.

“This work will continue following the Government’s announcement,” she said.

“We hope the announcement will not slow the momentum we believe we have achieved with this work.

“An extension of four years to deadlines may seem like a long time, but owners should continue to plan – the issue cannot be ignored.

“The option for most buildings is not going to be to do nothing.”

Koneferenisi said the council looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the earthquake-prone building review and will continue to encourage building owners to keep abreast of requirements, including possible changes.

“We encourage the Government to provide clarity on any changes to requirements as soon as possible.

“The council will consider requirements for buildings it owns, mindful of possible changes and the most prudent use of ratepayer funds.

A Carterton District Council [CDC] spokesperson said CDC is waiting on further detail on the intent of the new policy and for the legislative process to continue before it can provide further comment about the impact on its community.

South Wairarapa District Council has been approached for comment.

– NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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