Southern councils worried about new earthquake-prone
building legislation look set to make their case on their own
patch, when a Government select committee visits Dunedin later
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday told the Otago Daily Times
he had received an assurance the select committee would
travel to Dunedin to hear submissions on the proposed
The assurance came from National MP Maggie Barry, chairwoman
of the local government and environment committee, which is
to hear submissions on the Building (Earthquake-prone
Buildings) Amendment Bill.
Ms Barry confirmed when contacted a majority of the committee
had voted to travel to Dunedin to hear submissions at a
public meeting on June 26.
However, the decision needed to be ratified - which was
expected to happen today - before being confirmed, she said.
Mr Cull said the move came after he wrote to request the
committee travel to Dunedin, which led to a subsequent
meeting with Ms Barry.
The hearing would be an opportunity for councils to present a
united front against the proposed changes, which have
prompted an outcry in the South.
A submission signed by 13 South Island councils, including
the Dunedin City Council, will be presented by Mr Cull.
Cr David Benson-Pope, chairman of the DCC's planning and
regulatory committee, would also present the DCC's submission,
and it was possible other Southern councils could also present
individual submissions, Mr Cull said.
Having the select committee in Dunedin would allow Southern
councils to put their case to committee members with
additional ''support'', extra time, and without joining a
''queue of other people'' in Wellington, he said.
''They can actually focus on our submission from our region
and we can have, potentially, more support.
''There may be other individual submissions from this area as
well. Just as we're making a combined one and an individual
one, I imagine other councils may want to make individual
ones, too,'' Mr Cull said.
It was possible the DCC could also invite select committee
members to tour the city, to see for themselves what the
Southern councils were talking about, Mr Cull said.
The Bill gave councils five years to assess nearly 200,000
buildings built before March 31, 2005, including all
non-residential and high-rise, multi-unit apartment
buildings, for earthquake risks.
Owners of earthquake-prone buildings would then get another
15 years to upgrade to at least 34% of building code
requirements, at an expected cost of about $1.7 billion.
DCC staff estimated the cost for inspecting more than 4200
buildings in Dunedin would total about $5.6 million over five
years, and it was feared some owners would opt to abandon
their buildings instead.