Our Wellington

News | 2 November 2020

Insurance agreed on damaged building

Wellington City Council has agreed a $38 million (excluding GST) insurance settlement following damage to its Civic Administration Building (CAB) in Te Ngākau Civic Square in the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

Wellington's Civic Square, showing the Town Hall and the Council's Building.

Mayor Andy Foster welcomed the confirmation today that the Council had reached a negotiated settlement with its insurers. “New Zealand has suffered terribly from earthquakes in the last 10 years, and as a result of that I think we are all well aware that resolving insurance claims can take a very long time, so I am delighted to reach a very satisfactory agreement.

“This has been a great week for the Council. Along with our decision on the Central Library, the resolution of the CAB claim means we can finally make decisions about the building and about next steps. It also means we can start talking about what we as a city community want for the future of Te Ngākau Civic Square.

“It will be a chance to think laterally and creatively, and collectively this will be an exciting opportunity for Wellington. I look forward to talking more about this very soon.”

The six-floor building, constructed in the early 1990s, suffered significant damage in the Kaikoura quake. Since then, Council Chief Financial Officer Sara Hay says, senior Council staff, engineers and insurers have been involved in protracted negotiations. “This centred on the question of how badly damaged the building actually was and the question of whether it should be repaired or demolished.

“We acknowledge this process has taken several years – but there have been a number of factors that presented challenges. This includes the fact that the extent of the structural damage to the building has been gradually revealed during inspections – and that the inspections themselves have presented significant risk to the people involved.”

She confirms temporary props were installed in sections of the building due to concerns about the safety of inspectors.

Council Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow says a decision on the future of the building has still to be made – but it will be an important consideration in relation to decisions about the future of the adjoining 1950s Municipal Office Building (MOB) and the future of Te Ngākau Civic Precinct as a whole.

The Mayor and Councillors are scheduled to receive a report on the MOB and related issues before Christmas.