No point in relocating capital, says expert

3:32 pm on 20 November 2016

There is no point in relocating the capital when there is so little certainly about where a natural disaster might hit, an economics of disasters expert says.

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Photo: AFP

Following damage to buildings in Wellington in the recent earthquake there has been suggestions that the capital should be moved elsewhere.

New Zealand First said the government should seriously consider relocating government department head offices to other regions in light of the damage to Wellington.

Party leader Winston Peters told Sunday Morning that he understood the civil defence bunker under the Beehive was leaking since the earthquake.

The National Crisis Management Centre.

Beehive bunker - the National Crisis Management Centre. Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron

He questioned the value of having an emergency bunker under a building which may not be as stable as it should be.

"Then if you look at some of the other departments and buildings in Wellington and ones that were recently constructed it's clear that they're not up to scratch," Mr Peters said.

"So why would you try and fix on a fault line ... when maybe you could mitigate it by having a placement around the country?"

But Victoria University economics of disasters lecturer Ilan Noy said it was not a good idea to relocate the capital as the ability to forecast where vulnerable areas were was not good.

"If you asked anybody in 2009 if the capital should be in Wellington or in Christchurch I think most people would have said Christchurch, because it was considered to be a safer place - and of course we saw what happened in Christchurch in February 2011."

If some government departments were relocated, careful consideration would need to be given to the way some organisations collaborated, Mr Noy said.