News | 25 January 2017

3 Million fund to help make Wellington's buildings safer in earthquakes

Wellington’s Mayor Justin Lester welcomes today’s announcement from the Government of a $3 million fund to assist Wellington building owners to secure unreinforced masonry on their buildings and says it will go a long way to keeping people safe in future earthquakes.

“The Government will be using emergency powers to require securing of parapets and facades that may pose a risk in an earthquake. Owners will have 12 months to complete this work,” he says.

“We have worked with the Government to make a $3 million fund available for building owners to draw from to go towards the cost of the work. I will be asking Council to reprioritise a $1 million contribution towards this.

“It’s great to be able to partner with the Government to work on this important issue. Wellington has taken a leading role on earthquake resilience but more remains to be done and the investment from both central and local government will be a great help to owners.

“Unreinforced masonry is a real threat to people’s lives during a strong earthquake. It has been responsible for many earthquake-related deaths in New Zealand and overseas. As we are in the middle of an active earthquake sequence, it’s important we get this work done as soon as possible.

“This will help keep people safe and it could save lives.” 

  Council is developing a full list of the streets and buildings these rules will apply to and which will be eligible to draw on the fund. Mayor Lester says he has asked for this to be completed as soon as possible as part of a significant programme of work to further increase Wellington’s resilience.

Infrastructure and Sustainability Portfolio Leader Cr Iona Pannett said securing this masonry would help preserve iconic elements of Wellington’s buildings.

“This is about making sure Wellington’s building owners can get on with the job quickly and preserve the character and safety of our city. I urge all building owners affected to take advantage of the extra funding, comply with the law, and get the job done,” she says.