Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, has defended the decision to re-open the city's CBD on Tuesday, despite more than 60 buildings closing. The mayor says the council had "strong advice" from the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office on Monday, and the decision to re-open the CBD so quickly, was the right one. The council has faced criticism from engineers for allowing people to return to the CBD so quickly, as detailed inspections in the following days showed structural damage to a number of buildings. That includes a car parking building near busy Courtenay Place which engineers say is at risk of an imminent collapse. The Civil Defence Minister, Gerry Brownlee, has expressed surprise and displeasure at how quickly the decision was made. Others are also warning Wellington not to be too quick to get back to business as usual.
Dr Ann Brower, was the only person to survive after a building on Colombo St collapsed, during Christchurch's fatal 22 February earthquake. Ann was on the number three bus, on her way to work, when the façade of a heritage building collapsed killing 12 people. Since the Christchurch earthquake, Ann has been campaigning to make earthquake-prone buildings safer. She is a lecturer of public policy at Lincoln University and has a Berkeley PhD in environmental science, policy and management.