Capital quake could cost country $40 billion

It would cost almost $40 billion to rebuild Wellington if it was struck by major earthquake, a report warns.

The document, to be presented to the Wellington City Council's strategy and policy committee next week, said transport, communication and energy services were particularly vulnerable if the capital was hit by a quake.

The city could be cut off for a considerable amount of time because buildings with unstable masonry line routes in and out of the city, Radio New Zealand reported.

The report highlighted the need to strengthen older buildings.

Councillor Iona Pannett told Radio NZ the issue of unreinforced masonry had to be addressed.

"The Royal Commission into the Canterbury earthquake identified that there are a number of these buildings throughout the country and they are a potential risk, so we need to identify those buildings. We've got a few hundred of these in Wellington.''

The council had to make sure it had clearly identified such buildings and listed them in the district plan.

"The whole issue of financing the work is probably the most critical one because people know they have to strengthen their buildings they're just not sure how they're going to afford them, and that's a particular issue with heritage buildings.''

The report said the impact of a major earthquake in Wellington on the New Zealand economy could be $37 billion.

The Canterbury earthquake rebuild was estimated to cost $20b.


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