Courthouse future under discussion

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and community groups hope to meet Ngai Tahu representatives to discuss the Oamaru District Courthouse.

Last week, Courts Minister Chester Borrows confirmed Oamaru's category 1 listed courthouse would be transferred to Land Information New Zealand for management and disposal. The right of first refusal would go to Ngai Tahu, before it was put on the open market.

The courthouse, with a rateable capital value of $600,000, has not been used since November 2011, when it was deemed an earthquake risk.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu senior communications adviser Leanne Scott said there were still clearances the Government needed to complete before an offer could be made.

In the meantime, the ministry would continue to maintain the grounds and be responsible for building maintenance, a ministry spokesman said.

The Waitaki District Council has not ruled out buying the building, if it does go on the market and Mr Kircher said discussions were ''progressing'' meanwhile with other community groups.

''We're certainly hoping to have a meeting with Ngai Tahu to discuss interests and so forth,'' Mr Kircher said.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust deputy chairman Phil Hope declined to comment on whether the trust would consider buying the building.

He said the trust supported preserving the building and its continued use as a courthouse.

Mr Borrows has said that if the courthouse was strengthened to Ministry of Justice levels, it was his intention court services should be moved back into the building.


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