20 Feb 2013

Input sought on quake-prone building proposals

9:02 pm on 20 February 2013

The Government is seeking public input on a $1.7 billion scheme intended to earthquake-proof buildings throughout New Zealand in the next 15 years.

Consultation to improve the safety standards of older buildings is underway, driven by recommendations that came out of the Royal Commission into the Canterbury earthquakes.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says the tremors have highlighted the need to review and improve standards fo quake-prone buildings.

He believes there are between 15,000 and 25,000 such buildings throughout the country.

Mr Williamson told a public information session in Christchurch on Tuesday night he hopes to get submissions from Cantabrians who lived through the quakes.

Meanwhile Clutha district mayor Bryan Cadogan says New Zealand is in danger of losing all perspective on the real danger of earthquake-prone buildings.

A report to a group of South Island councils has found they could have to assess the earthquake risk of all shearing sheds and hay barns on farms.

The study, to be released on Friday, analyses the cost of a proposed tightening of earthquake rules flowing from the Royal Commission.

Mr Cadogan said the proposals go too far and a one-size-fits-all approach could end up killing rural districts.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she is pushing for exemptions for rarely-used rural buildings.