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'Auckland must be exempted' from quake-prone buildings law

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland and other low-seismic-risk areas must be exempted from strict new building strength regulations, says ACT Leader David Seymour, who plans to vote against the Building (Earthquake-prone buildings) Amendment Bill at second reading tonight.

"The evidence I’ve seen shows Auckland has an extremely low risk of a severe earthquake and that even if the worst case scenario earthquake were to occur, strengthening to the required standards would result in almost no improvement in public safety.

"According to GNS Science, the probability of a severe earthquake in Auckland is one in 110,000 years - 7333% less likely than in Wellington.

"And while the legislation will have minimal benefit in areas like Auckland, Northland, and Dunedin, it will impose enormous costs on private property owners forced to undertake expensive engineering assessments to prove they are compliant and face potentially financially crippling retrospective strengthening in the event that they are not.

"This, together with the stigma of being listed on the earthquake prone buildings register, will also unnecessarily impact the market value of properties, with costs eventually flowing through to the housing market and consumer prices.

"I will be tabling an SOP exempting low-risk areas from the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings. I will only vote for the Bill at third reading if this SOP is passed. I have written to the Minister and will be writing to all parties requesting their support."

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