6 Feb 2018

CTV families say meeting with PM last hope

6:40 am on 6 February 2018

The families of the victims of the Canterbury Television building collapse will meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern next week.

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

In November, police announced there was not enough evidence for prosecutions over the collapse of the CTV building.

The building collapsed following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 which devastated much of the city and killed 185 people.

The CTV office collapsed in seconds and, in combination with a fire soon after, led to 115 of the deaths.

Maan Alkaisi, who lost his wife Maysoon Abbas, said Jacinda Ardern and Justice Minister Andrew Little contacted the families after they made a public plea to meet.

He said that during a meeting with Mr Little in December the families were told the government could not interfere with police decisions.

However, after that meeting Mr Little said the ministry was investigating the arcane law that informed the decision not to prosecute.

Professor Maan Alkaisi, a spokesperson for the families of the CTV victims

Professor Maan Alkaisi, a spokesperson for the families of the CTV victims Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

Mr Alkaisi said that while the families respect that the government could not interfere with the police decision, the meeting with Ms Ardern was their last hope.

"The overwhelming majority of public opinion is against the decision, people think that was the wrong decision, it sends the wrong message," he said.

"It was injustice and for us, the families, unacceptable."

He said the families would ask the prime minister to have the case heard.

"We think the best solution is to send the case to court and let the courts decide," he said.

"We think that relying on one person sitting in Wellington to decide the outcome of a case we've been fighting for seven years is not the right way to do it."

The meeting will take place in Christchurch on Thursday, 15 February.

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