Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says public submissions will be crucial in establishing a new policy to deal with earthquake-prone buildings.
Proposals for a national approach to deal with earthquake-prone buildings are currently out for consultation, and if adopted would mean all such buildings would be dealt with within 15 years, compared with an average of 28 years currently.
The first public meeting on the proposals will be held tomorrow night in Wellington.
"This consultation is important and I encourage people to have their say by attending one of the seven public meetings around the country or completing the online response form.
“Getting the policy right involves striking a balance between the risks posed by buildings in earthquakes and the costs of strengthening, or demolishing, them,” Mr Williamson says.
Currently, individual local authorities are responsible for how earthquake-prone buildings are dealt with in their areas, in consultation with their communities.
“Some councils have been active and others less so. As a result many earthquake-prone buildings are not being dealt with in a timely and cost-effective way."
Under the proposed changes, all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings would have to be assessed within five years. Owners of buildings assessed as being earthquake-prone would then have up to 10 years to strengthen or demolish them.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has issued a consultation document and a DVD which explain the proposed changes in detail. The Ministry is also running seven public meetings around the country.
"I will be attending a number of these meetings, including the Wellington one.”
The Wellington meeting will be held at the Michael Fowler Centre tomorrow night (Tuesday 5 February), starting at 7pm.
The consultation document, details of the public meetings, and an online response form can be found at: www.dbh.govt.nz/consultingon-epbp
The consultation process runs until 5pm Friday 8 March 2013.