Minister hopes police will pursue CTV case

3:10 pm on 26 March 2013

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says he hopes the police will be able to take action against engineers responsible for the CTV building in Christchurch.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission found design and construction deficiencies in the building which collapsed in the 22 February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people.

The country's two top engineering bodies have told the Government there is no legal or regulatory action they can take.

Mr Williamson told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he is disappointed the organisations cannot take action. "If you had 115 people die in an aircraft ... or you had 115 people die in a medical misadventure in a hospital the public would be clamouring for somebody to be brought to answer."

He said the only option remaining was a police prosecution, as he does not have powers under any legislation to pursue the matter.

Earlier this month, Police National Headquarters advised it was still engaged in complex technical assessments of documents from the commission and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. A spokesperson declined to say when a final decision on a prosecution might be made.

Mr Williamson said legislation might be needed to enable sanctions in future cases.

Late last year the Government sought official advice about any legal avenues that could be pursued to hold people to account for the collapse.

In a letter of response, the Chartered Professional Engineers Council said it had no power to act because of a 2002 law change.

The Institution of Professional Engineers also advised it cannot take legal or regulatory action but may impose other sanctions.