Government: Cull “punching at fog”

Mayor 2013

### February 22, 2013 – 6:48pm
Government disagrees with councils’ claims
The southern community could be up for a $1.8 billion bill for earthquake strengthening. The claim has come from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, speaking on behalf of ten councils from Timaru south. But the Government has called his announcements to the media unhelpful, and accused him of punching at fog.

Dunedin City Council Media Release — 22 February 2014
Southern Councils Highlight Major Concerns Over Earthquake-prone Buildings Proposals

Southern communities could face a bill of almost $1.8 billion under proposed changes to rules governing earthquake-prone buildings. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says that councils accept work needs to be done on this issue in response to the tragic events in Christchurch, but that any changes need to be flexible, risk-based, practical and affordable for building owners and communities.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Heritage, Hot air, Media, People, Politics, Property, Town planning, Urban design

11 responses to “Government: Cull “punching at fog”

  1. Earthquake policy needs input
    The Government’s proposals for changing the system are open for public consultation and the fifth in a series of public meetings across the country was held in Dunedin last night. Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson told the 50 people at last night’s meeting the Government was still trying to find the right balance between safety and cost. He emphasised several times no decisions had been made. The Government wanted to understand the situation around the country, and needed localised submissions to achieve that. ”I don’t want to go flying off the lunatic end of the spectrum,” Mr Williamson said.

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    The mission statement vogue appears to have passed, hasn’t it? If not, “We won’t go flying off the lunatic end of the spectrum” would be a great one for councils, government departments, consultants and people with overmuch media exposure like Gareth Morgan.

    • This (Central Government on the #eqnz warpath) is like the dark rainy day that the previous and current Dunedin City Councils did not ‘anticipate’ in signing away people’s lives on the stadium spend and other significant vanity projects. Besides, Cull is in electioneering mode, (cough) leading the South.

      ### ODT Online Sat, 23 Feb 2013
      South’s $1.8b warning
      By Debbie Porteous
      Warning that Government proposals to improve the safety of earthquake-prone buildings could potentially cost southern communities $1.8 billion is not scaremongering, councils say. Minister for Building and Construction Maurice Williamson says he is disappointed southern councils commissioned and released an economic impact report on the Government’s proposal when no policy decisions have been made.
      Read more

      • ODT Editorial
        The realistic focus should be on what can be done to save lives rather than buildings. Risk is inherent in life and cannot be eliminated – so it is a matter of what degree of risk southern communities are prepared to accept. What is required is a balancing of safety, cost, heritage values and liveable risk.

      • ### ODT Online Mon, 4 Mar 2013
        Quake risk over-emphasised – DCC
        By Debbie Porteous
        The Government’s proposals to deal with earthquake-prone buildings place too much emphasis on the earthquake risk, at substantial cost, in comparison to other risks (both natural and other) that individuals and local communities face, the Dunedin City Council says. The comment is one of many concerns the council has expressed in its draft submission on the Building Seismic Performance Consultation Document, which is to be considered by the council’s planning and environment committee tomorrow. The committee will also consider a draft joint submission from 12 southern councils concerned about the effects of the proposals in the South.

        In Dunedin, as the proposals stand, estimated costs could involve more than $5.6 million to the city council directly and $555 million to local building owners (including the council). The council’s submission takes the view that the proposals will have a significant and disproportionate negative impact in the southern part of the South Island, where the building stock is older, growth lower, and seismic risk lower.

        The consultation document contains proposals to improve the earthquake-prone building system, in response to the recommendations of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.
        Read more

        Report – PEC – 05/03/2013 (PDF, 1.9 MB)
        Draft Submissions – Building Seismic Performance Consultation Document

        • ### ODT Online Thu, 7 Mar 2013
          Principles, not rules
          By Debbie Porteous
          The Government should take a principles-based rather than prescriptive approach to the issue of ensuring members of the public are safe from earthquake-prone buildings, southern councils say.
          The suggestion is part of a joint submission on the Building Seismic Performance Consultation Document from 11 southern councils and five southern industry and employer groups. The submission was signed off by the Dunedin City Council this week.
          In this alternative approach, the Crown would focus on defining a set of principles along with outcomes it would like to achieve, such as improved safety for pedestrians, improved public awareness of the earthquake risk of buildings, strengthening of high-occupancy buildings and/or critical infrastructure, with associated specific time frames for each, the submission said.
          Each local authority, or group of local authorities (organised geographically, by seismic risk zone, or by population and socioeconomic indicators) would define how best to meet these in the set time frame.
          Read more

  3. Anonymous

    He’s being a dousche. It’s the wrong sort of electioneering, the sort of advice you take from people who have their own interests at stake, rather than those in the interests of the city. Most people already recognise the prices are massively over-inflated and it’s just a bunch of politicians playing games with peoples’ fears. But where is he going to borrow half a billion from? Would the banks really lend to an organisation already a billion dollars in debt? Would he borrow from the loan sharks and gangs? What about the millions, tens of millions and hundreds of millions pending for other projects, including essential infrastructure, water pipes, erosion protection, the justifiably what-about-us-too groups, the Stakeholders’ self-interests and Stadium Councillors’ vanities?

    Very soon the banks are going to call in their lending. That “average $66” item charge is going to become a lot more real at $1000 on the rates bill. Thankfully the Otago Daily Times will be there to help us understand and get in behind but I now think this Mayor has lost the plot in a whole different way to the previous one.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Our illustrious Mayor. Ever the ‘populist’.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    They’re right though. If one looks past the drama of an earthquake and assesses value for money, there are innumerable better ways to spend that much money. By better I mean preventing injuries illness and long-term disability as well as premature death, per year. In Christchurch the most deadly buildings were not the heritage ones. Real risk has to be calculated not only on whether the building would collapse (what parts, how much would fall where) in a quake but also how often (and how many) people would be in or around it.
    As a country I think we have far more pressing needs than OTT strengthening of heritage buildings that have been through a few normal-for-their-region quakes.
    It’s weird how hysterical we get about death and injury, eg the cries for schoolkids to only be taken to the beach if it’s one with lifeguards on duty.
    This because of one time a rip put pupils in danger, out of the many years school groups have been coming to that beach. “Rips do not always appear in the same spot every time, but can change position. More than one rip may be present at the same beach on the same day.”
    We have coroners who call for banning, regulating, bubble-wrapping and restricting opportunities every time there is a fatal accident. Making NZ totally safe would use up every cent we are ever likely to have and more, and even then there would be a stronger quake, a longer-lasting deeper snowfall, a fiercer storm, a more innovatively reckless person. Let’s be realistic instead of hysterically risk-phobic.

  6. Rob Hamlin

    I have often wondered how our beloved ‘cost driven’ plastic bag with its two slabless buildings supported by piles floating in the slime and its roof load cantilevered to well outside the footprint of said buildings would fare in any kind of a quake. Now that its topical, it would be interesting to see how its earthquake behaviour was calculated and assessed by those charged with protecting us. Been very quiet so far.

  7. Peter

    Damn it. If I hadn’t been born, there would be no risk of dying. Unless I prove to be immortal….. which I somehow doubt.

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