Earthquake building regulations could be impacting on regional NZ

Waitaki news
Sunday, March 22, 2015

Waitaki MP and Rules Reduction Taskforce co-chair Jacqui Dean said regulations around strengthening earthquake-prone buildings could be having an effect on some cities and towns.

“I’m concerned that some of the strengthening requirements for earthquake-prone buildings under the Building Act, put in place after the Christchurch earthquake, could be adversely impacting on cities and towns around New Zealand.

“I’ve had feedback from many people who’re concerned about the future of their towns if the heart is removed from the business district, thanks to overzealous regulations.

“The main streets of many towns and cities are lined with heritage buildings, but the cost of earthquake strengthening them to meet these building regulations could see them being left to rot.

“I’m talking about places like Invercargill, Oamaru, Lawrence and many parts of Central Otago. We could find ourselves living in ghost towns if we don’t get these regulations right.”

Mrs Dean said her work chairing the Rules Reduction Taskforce, which aims to reduce unnecessary rules, had already revealed a level of concern about this issue.

“I will be reporting back to Government about the genuine concern people have around the costs of earthquake strengthening buildings.

“We must find a way through this – ensuring people’s safety is paramount, but protecting people’s livelihoods, managing the costs of strengthening or removing buildings and ensuring the future of our small towns and cities also need to be considered.”