17 Dec 2017

CTV building: Little promises law changes

7:20 pm on 17 December 2017

Justice Minister Andrew Little is promising law changes to prevent a repeat of the decision not to charge anyone over the CTV building collapse.

Andrew Lititle speaking at Waitangi, 5 February 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The six-storey office block was flattened in seconds during the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011, killing 115 people.

Police announced recently that they would not lay charges over the building's failure, saying there was not enough evidence to launch a prosecution.

Mr Little met with the victims' families this morning and said the ministry was investigating what laws needed to change.

"I've got that work underway already...to make sure that when we have a situation like this, with a massive loss of life, where there clearly has been negligence, that no one gets to walk away and never be held to account.

"That's not justice - that's wrong - and we've got to prevent it from happening again."

The former site of the CTV building where 115 people lost their lives when it collapsed during the February 22, 2011 earthquake sits empty.

The former site of the CTV building where 115 people lost their lives when it collapsed during the February 22, 2011 earthquake sits empty. Photo: AFP

Maan Alkaisi, whose wife died in the CTV building, said the minister seemed to understand the points the families had raised.

"Our legal system is filled with cracks. Literally, you can get away with murder. So I asked the government to essentially fix this," he said.

He was happy that changes were going to be made, but he said the families would keep fighting until they found justice.

Nigel Hampton QC, who has worked with some of the families, said today's meeting showed the minister how aggrieved the families feel.

"He will, I believe, take steps to remediate what can be done for the future, but making it clear to the families that he can't...as a politician, interfere with the decisions made by prosecuting authorities," he said.

A judicial review could be an option, but he warned it would be a long and arduous process.

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