Historic Places Trust defended over quake response

7:12 pm on 27 September 2011

The Government is defending the Historic Places Trust after it was accused of failing to save earthquake-damaged buildings in Christchurch.

Labour MP for Christchurch Central Brendon Burns says the trust has been gutless and needs to stand up for heritage buildings before they are all pulled down.

Mr Burns says the Trust is charged with looking after heritage values but has failed miserably in its role. He says all the buildings will be demolished and a public debate is needed on the issue now.

But the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chris Finlayson, says attacking the professional staff of the trust is cruel and unfair.

Mr Finlayson says they have been deeply involved in trying to preserve a number of buildings and Mr Burns should not make those kinds of comments.

Anna Crichton from the Canterbury Earthquakes Heritage Buildings Fund says the Historic Places Trust is doing all it can to save buildings.

However, she is critical of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority for undertaking demolitions too quickly.

CERA says a special team provides complete heritage engineering assessments on relevant buildings.