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News » International » Wellington launches new fund to improve earthquake safety » published 26 Jan 2017

Wellington launches new fund to improve earthquake safety

The New Zealand government has allocated NZ$3m (£1.73m) to help building owners in Wellington secure unreinforced masonry such as parapets.

Wellington’s mayor Justin Lester welcomed the announcement, saying that 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,” he said. “Owners will have 12 months to complete this work.  “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.”

He added that 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,” said Lester. “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.”

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

Infrastructure and sustainability portfolio leader councillor Iona Pannett said that securing the 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,” she said. “I urge all building owners affected to take advantage of the extra funding, comply with the law, and get the job done.”

 

MPU

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This article was published on 26 Jan 2017 (last updated on 26 Jan 2017).

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