Dunedin Courthouse —Cabinet backs #restoration for courts use

IMG_0138 (1)A considerable weight lifted….

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:44, December 7 2015
Dunedin’s historic courthouse to be saved
Dunedin’s historic courthouse will be strengthened and restored at a cost of $15 million […] Strengthening work was expected to take two years, and the city’s temporary court in High St would continue to be used in the interim. It was hoped a main contractor would be appointed later in 2016, following a tendering process, [Ms] Adams said.
Read more


“The Dunedin courthouse is one of New Zealand’s most notable historic buildings and Cabinet’s decision reflects its significance, both as a part of the city’s rich cultural heritage and its importance to the region’s legal fraternity.” –Minister Amy Adams

Amy Adams [radionz.co.nz] 211### ODT Online Mon, 7 Dec 2015
Full restoration for Dunedin courthouse
By Craig Borley
Dunedin’s historic courthouse will be saved, strengthened, restored and have all its court service returned to it. The decision was made in today’s final Cabinet meeting of the year. Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced the outcome just after 4pm. […] The decision means a “more than $15 million” overhaul of the Stuart St complex, bringing it up to between 60% and 70% of new building standard, as well as “provision the buildings to operate as modern court facilities”.
Read more

Full Statement —Minister

Amy Adams

7 December, 2015

Dunedin’s historic courthouse to be restored

Courts Minister Amy Adams today announced that Cabinet has agreed to the strengthening and restoration of Dunedin’s historic courthouse.

“The Dunedin courthouse is one of New Zealand’s most notable historic buildings and Cabinet’s decision reflects its significance, both as a part of the city’s rich cultural heritage and its importance to the region’s legal fraternity,” Ms Adams says.

“From the beginning, I’ve maintained that it’s been my intention, expectation and desire to see court services returned to Dunedin’s historic courthouse and this decision delivers on that commitment.”

The project includes earthquake strengthening and restoration, as well as the cost of provision the buildings to operate as modern court facilities. The project is estimated to cost more than $15 million and this will include seeing the building strengthened to between 60 and 70 per cent of the National Building Standard.

“The strengthening project is anticipated to take two years to complete and the Ministry of Justice will continue to deliver quality services from the temporary court in High St in the interim,” Ms Adams says.

Ministry of Justice will call for tenders in the first half of next year and it was hoped a main contractor would be appointed later in 2016.

Ms Adams says the costings in the business case had been comprehensively investigated and peer reviewed by a number of independent specialist engineers, and costed by quantity surveyors, before being subjected to a robust review by The Treasury.

“The investigations showed that as a category one heritage building, strengthening the court house is a complex project and requires a significant capital investment.

“I acknowledge the deep support locals have shown for the historic courthouse throughout this process.”

The facility in Stuart St was closed in 2011 after engineers found that parts of the building fell well short of the minimum 34 percent rating required under the National Building Standard. A temporary facility has been established at High St to ensure court services could continue to be delivered to the people of Dunedin and Otago in the interim.

With Cabinet’s decision, managing the restoration process now becomes an operational matter for the Ministry of Justice.


Related Posts and Comments:
22.9.125 Dunedin Law Courts | ODT editorial
7.9.15 Public petition to save Courthouse for courts use
11.7.15 Dunedin Law Courts “an incredible historic building” –Minister
14.5.15 Russell Lund on Ministry closure of Dunedin Law Courts
14.5.15 Justice at Dunedin
2.5.15 Ministry serves INJUSTICE for Dunedin Courthouse #HistoricHeritage

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: (top) Justice, Dunedin Law Courts (detail) by Elizabeth Kerr; radionz.co.nz – Amy Adams, tweaked by whatifdunedin


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Infrastructure, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Structural engineering, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

34 responses to “Dunedin Courthouse —Cabinet backs #restoration for courts use

  1. Spider

    $15 million to be spent on a few lawyers. For that sort of money we could have had a new pool complex out at Mosgiel that could have catered for up to 30,000 users.

  2. Ralphy

    Incredible how long this ‘no-brainer’ of a decision took, yet almost twice as much can be found (and squandered) on the bloody flag referendum – Let’s watch the old flag win out anyway!!

    Will be interested to see where most of this $15M restoration spend will be directed – Local fat cats will all be scrambling to get their big sausage fingers in that pie!

    • Elizabeth

      Whether local contractors are ousted by out-of-towners is the question. The skills are here – skill sets that keep costs down compared to further north. Wait and see time. In the end competence is needed for all aspects of the project management to safeguard heritage values at the same time as successfully seeing in contemporary use across all court functions. This project is going to be highly publicly scrutinised from start to finish.

  3. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 8 Dec 2015
    Dunedin courthouse saved (+ video)
    By Craig Borley
    Dunedin’s 113-year-old courthouse will be saved, strengthened, restored and have all its court service returned to it. […] As well as lifting the oldest parts of the Stuart St complex to between 60% and 70% of new building standard – some parts of the complex are currently rated below 20% – the project will also include “restoration” work, as well as moves to haul the complex into one suitable “to operate as modern court facilities”.
    Read more

  4. Elizabeth

    The Government has already spent $6.8 million refurbishing the temporary courts on High St, as well as around $600,000 a year in rent since 2011.

    ### 3news.co.nz Mon, 7 Dec 2015 at 6:31 p.m.
    Historic Dunedin courthouse to be saved
    By Dave Goosselink – Reporter
    Courts Minister Amy Adams has announced Dunedin’s historic courthouse will be saved. Cabinet agreed this afternoon to spend $15 million on earthquake-strengthening and restoring the 113-year-old building. It follows a major protest and postcard campaign by Dunedin residents and members of the legal fraternity.
    Read more + Video

  5. Spider

    $15 million for a stadium, millions on a flag debate, and now $15 million on a heritage building. While the health system for the ordinary people in this town sinks in a mired political debate and eye watering consultancy fees. This town has surely got its priority’s right.

    • photonz

      The Health budget is now $4,000 million (per year) more than it was in 2008. That’s a 36% increase, which isn’t too bad considering all the belt-tightening that had to happen with the GFC.

      There are several big problems facing the health sector – including we can now fix many more things when previously we couldn’t; there are now new (expensive) drugs that didn’t previously exist; and there are a bigger proportion of older people needing health care, with a smaller proportion of working age people to pay for it.

      Not to mention Swann nicking $17 million.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Two sides to this, photonz: “we can now fix many more things when previously we couldn’t”.
        Cheaper – returning people to independent, productive lives instead of chronic illness or disability.
        Techniques that were experimental, rare, expensive, performed in only the most desperate cases, become routine, cheap and quick – stents, open heart surgery, hip replacements. Yes, hip replacements are cheap compared with having disabled people out of work receiving home help and WINZ benefits, unfortunately because the money comes out of different jam jars (WINZ vs health) treatment is rationed. Result, very few seem to get it done while they are still in the best physical, mental and social condition to receive optimum benefit from surgery. Likewise bariatric surgery for grossly obese which not only enables them to move freely, takes a huge burden off knees and hips and feet and heart – but also has a weird “extra” in reversing type 2 diabetes.
        Health needs a gung-ho investment blitz, including paying the international price for specialists. It’s “right” to use the world-side market argument re CEOs etc, time to evaluate supply of CEO wannabe’s with good cv’s versus number of CEO jobs – world-wide. There are by the very nature of pyramids a shitload of highly competent people currently on the rank just below CEO (manager, director etc) limited by numbers who can stand on the narrow peaks. Cardiologists, anaesthesiologists, neurosurgeons and so on aren’t from a similar pyramid career structure.
        I’d like to see formal acknowledgement that NZ is a 2-class country. Apparently glaucoma can’t be treated the Fred Hollows way here because it’s not up to our sophisticated first-world standard of perfection. But we’re not up to paying for poor NZers to get their eyes fixed at all, in a timely manner. If we acknowledged we have been forced to have a 2-tier health service poor people in NZ could have sight restored, and subsidised flights to overseas clinics for other affordable procedures that the government cannot or will not make taxes available for, here in NZ.

        • photonz

          Certainly many procedures get cheaper. But compared to 50 or 60 years ago, when we used to spend 3% of GDP on health, we now spend over double that.

          But we can ALWAYS do more. As more than a few doctors have stated, we could double the health budget, and still not fulfill everyone’s needs.

          As for the two tier health service – that actually has large benefits for those at the bottom of the ladder. Rich people pay more than anyone else into the public health system, but seldom use it because they also pay on top of that for a private system.

          That not only frees up the public system for everyone else – the top earners pay for most of it as well, despite not using it much (over 50% of all income tax is paid by the top 12% of wage earners).

          And to put the doom and gloom into perspective, in 2007/08 we were doing 118,000 elective surgeries per year. With the extra $4,000 million spent on health every year, we are now doing 50,000 more surgeries EVERY year – to make it over 167,000 this year – that’s a 42% increase.

          Or put another way, that’s 1000 people a week getting operations that weren’t getting anything done a few years ago.

        • photonz

          Hype – re Fred Hollows. I think you’re getting glaucoma (which can’t be reversed) confused with the cheap fix for cataract blindness that the Fred Hollows foundation does.

          I think the Fred Hollows Foundation do amazing work – I’m a supporter. However I’d still rather have expensive eye surgery in a sterile clinic here, rather than an unsterile clinic in the third world.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          photonz, “Rich people pay more than anyone else into the public health system, but seldom use it because they also pay on top of that for a private system.”
          This is one of those things that is good, on the surface, but a curse on a deeper level.
          The rich are in general the best at lobbying – and donating. They are quick to complain because they don’t see why they should put up with poor service.
          Remove them from the “customer base” of government-supplied health care and you remove much of the pressure for it to be high standard, Also, since they are as you said paying insurance + tax, their total health contribution that could be going into public health services, isn’t. And not getting their health needs (except emergency) met by the state they are resistant to paying increased taxes. Taxing the rich has always been problematic. Remove any of the benefits they get from the common pool, and their incentive to become even more untaxable increases accordingly.
          It’s not that they don’t care if the rest of NZers have had to get used to shoddy health care – they are barely aware of how steadily the public system is going downhill because they’ve had top grade health insurance ever since the provision of health care was split, with the introduction of health insurance in NZ.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “However I’d still rather have expensive eye surgery in a sterile clinic here, rather than an unsterile clinic in the third world.” Me too, photonz – except that if I couldn’t afford expensive eye surgery and would have to spend several years getting blinder and blinder before being eligible for it in a public hospital, I’d rather spend those years seeing. The FH job would be better than what I’d realistically get here from our “higher standard” care that works on the “jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, never jam today” principle.
          They seem to train the Fred Hollows people well, don’t seem to be more germy than our hospitals where there are not infrequent outbreaks of contagious sickness.

        • photonz

          There’s actually been quite a few significant improvements in the health system in recent years.

          The effort put into getting kids vaccinated has never been anything like it is now. And as such, vaccination rates are at a level never seen before

          As mentioned before, an extra 42% or 50,000 people are getting operations every year.

          And waits for cancer treatment are shorter than they were before.

          As are waits in emergency departments.

          It’s a health department – so there’s always going to be issues. But your assertion that things are getting worse and worse doesn’t match a large number of the most important measurable (and published) facts.

          Like the one that improvements in our health system have been so great, that our life expectancy is now a massive ten years more than it was in 1980.

  6. Elizabeth

    Spider, as you know the National-led government has work underway through a specialist panel to get an appropriate project brief(s) up for future provision of Clinical Services and a new Hospital for Dunedin – in combination or separately. With no undertaking yet as to whether the structural frames of the existing buildings can be reutilised. Be patient. Keep paying your taxes. Keep paying your private health insurance premiums meanwhile ? *splutter

  7. Rob Hamlin

    It’s all about consistency. That’s what’s at the heart of our justice system. As Jonky chose to restore one damaged and grubby gargoyle to its previous function within the justice system, Then he pretty much had to do the same with all the others – didn’t he?

  8. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz
    Nightly interview: Anne Stevens
    Dunedin’s legal fraternity is celebrating the government’s decision to strengthen the city’s historic courthouse and restore services to the category one building. Barrister Anne Stevens has been leading the charge to save the courthouse, and she joins us to talk about the campaign win.

    39 Dunedin Television Published on Dec 7, 2015
    Nightly interview: Anne Stevens

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    Well done, Anne Stevens. She was a great front person, did a great job rallying the troops.
    There were so many people who worked very hard to achieve this result, banging sense and sensibility into governmental skulls. All deserve congratulations and gratitude and chocolate fish.

  10. Elizabeth

    Understandably, fears for Oamaru’s historic Courthouse remain.

    “Until this latest announcement, it looked like we were going to get a solution and they [Dunedin] were going to be left waiting,” –Mayor Gary Kircher

    ### ODT Online Wed, 9 Dec 2015
    Courthouse negotiations ongoing
    By Hamish MacLean
    News Dunedin’s courthouse is to be restored surprised Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher “to a degree”, he says. […] Negotiations between the Waitaki District Council and the ministry about the future of Oamaru’s courthouse, which may see the council take control of the building, are continuing.
    Read more

  11. Elizabeth

    Today’s editorial starts brightly then turns lumpish very quickly (the effect of moronic statements about Dunedin’s economy turning —).

    ### ODT Online Wed, 9 Dec 2015
    Editorial: A courthouse befitting Dunedin
    What wonderful news Dunedin’s historic 113-year-old courthouse will remain the centre of justice in the South. […] While there might be pessimism in the provinces, Dunedin has reasons for optimism with signs of an economic revival. It is not languishing. It is not rolling over. It is not to be forgotten.
    Read more


  12. Elizabeth

    Planning and other associated work expected to take 43 weeks and restoration and strengthening work another 53 weeks.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 19 Feb 2016
    City’s campaign big factor
    By Craig Borley
    Dunedin’s emphatic response to fears it could lose its historic courthouse featured heavily in the business case on the building’s future. The business case, delivered to Cabinet by Justice Minister Amy Adams last December, was released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act this week.
    Read more

  13. Elizabeth

    In December, it was announced the tendering process was expected to begin in early 2016.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 20 Feb 2016
    More courthouse costs for prosecutors’ taxis
    By Timothy Brown
    A taxi bill of more $2000 for police is another example of the absurdities the High St courthouse is inflicting on the justice sector, Dunedin barrister and historic courthouse advocate Anne Stevens says. […] Mrs Stevens said she was frustrated the Ministry of Justice had not yet tendered for the work to restore and strengthen the historic courthouse.
    Read more

    ● A meeting about the historic courthouse was being held in Dunedin on March 1.

  14. Elizabeth

    Good news for OAMARU

    ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Mar 2016
    Deal to allow return to Oamaru courthouse
    By Debbie Porteous
    The Oamaru District Court is set to return to its old home in the 132-year-old Oamaru courthouse on Thames St. The courthouse was closed in November 2011 following concerns it would not be safe in an earthquake. In August 2014, court services were relocated to a porta-court in Humber St where they remain.
    Read more

  15. Elizabeth

    Cabinet approval expected to be given in September or October this year.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Mar 2016
    Courthouse work could start in October
    By Craig Borley
    Construction workers could be swarming over Dunedin’s historic courthouse as early as October, the Ministry of Justice says.
    The building’s strengthening and restoration was expected to be an 18-month to 24-month project, which would begin once Cabinet decided on a preferred contractor, the ministry’s general manager, commercial and property, Fraser Gibbs said yesterday.
    Read more

    “The finished complex would use the Dunbar St entrance as its single entry and exit point. The historic Stuart St doors would remain closed.”

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “The historic Stuart St doors would remain closed.”
      Why. FFS?
      Is it that NZ wilted-poppy attitude that impels some callers to trudge around to the back door, ducking under clothesline and tripping over tricycles and mendicant mallards, instead of knocking on the front door?

  16. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 15 Mar 2016
    Courthouse plans being finalised
    By Damian George
    Tradesmen were assessing Dunedin’s historic courthouse yesterday as the Ministry of Justice finalises plans for seismic strengthening and other refurbishments of the building. [….] General manager of commercial and property Fraser Gibbs said various tradesmen, designers and other workers would visit the city to carry out investigations during the next two months.
    Read more


    ### dunedintv.co.nz Tue, 15 Mar 2016
    Historic courthouse inspection begins
    A detailed assessment of the historic Dunedin courthouse is starting, in preparation of a multimillion-dollar upgrade. Various tradespeople and designers will be inspecting the category one heritage building over the next two months. The first contractors were on site yesterday, examining stonework. The Ministry of Justice is expecting to tender the overhaul in late April or May. It’s believed the earthquake strengthening and modern refit will cost about $15m. Eventually all court services will return to the Stuart Street facility, in about two years’ time.
    Ch39 Video

  17. Elizabeth

    +$15 million for courthouse restoration announced in Budget 2016.

    Fri, 17 Jun 2016
    ODT: Date for courthouse contract
    A contractor for the restoration of Dunedin’s historic courthouse will probably be chosen by October, Courts Minister Amy Adams has announced. Ms Adams said 11 contractors, split between Otago and national businesses, had registered their interest for the project in May and tender documentation was now being sent to those shortlisted.


    Thu, 16 Jun 2016
    ODT: Dunedin Courthouse tenders open
    Tender documents for the Dunedin Courthouse restoration will soon be issued to a shortlist of contractors. […] Dunedin’s court services have been operating from a temporary facility in High St since 2011, when engineers found parts of the building needed earthquake strengthening.

  18. Elizabeth

    Ministry to announce main contractor in October, completion of work expected early 2018.

    Wed, 3 Aug 2016
    Surplus courthouse items given away
    Allied Pickford movers load furniture from the Dunedin Courthouse in lower Stuart St yesterday. The items, which were given to community and sports groups, were of “no heritage or monetary value”, Ministry of Justice commercial and property general manager Fraser Gibbs said.

  19. Elizabeth

    Sat, 10 Sep 2016
    ODT: $18m to be spent on court
    Refurbishing and strengthening Dunedin’s historic courthouse is expected to cost more than $18 million, according to a building consent approved by the Dunedin City Council. The consent includes detailed designs that council building services manager Neil McLeod says involve some of the most extensive earthquake-strengthening ever undertaken in the city. The plans also show the extent to which the Ministry of Justice plans on returning the building to its former glory.

  20. Elizabeth

    Wed, 28 Sep 2016
    ODT: Asbestos discovered in courthouse
    Asbestos has been found in Dunedin’s historic courthouse, but the Ministry of Justice says it will not affect rebuild plans. Ministry general manager commercial and property Fraser Gibbs said a recent survey of the Stuart St building found asbestos in the sub floor and ceiling space.

  21. Elizabeth

    How come the Ministry of Justice is only going for 60-70% NBS ?
    Ridiculous in a city like this that has been working to 100% NBS or over.

    Sat, 22 Oct 2016
    ODT: New fence first sign of courthouse upgrade
    A wooden fence and associated safety barriers went up in Lower Stuart St yesterday in preparation for a $20 million restoration and upgrade project  at  Dunedin’s historic courthouse. Contractors Amalgamated Builders Ltd  put up the fence around the courthouse complex, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said.

  22. Elizabeth

    Most contractors sourced from Dunedin ?

    Thu, 19 Jan 2017
    ODT: Upgrading of court building in full swing
    Dunedin’s historic courthouse is once again a hive of activity, as contractors work long into the night as part of a $20million restoration and upgrade. Work on the courthouse started in October, but the level of activity has picked up in recent weeks, after heavy machinery, including a large drill and concreting equipment, was brought on to the site. Cont/

  23. Elizabeth

    Just in.
    ODT 9.2.17 (pages 1 & 4)

    [detail by smartphone]

    [click to enlarge]


  24. Hype O'Thermia

    What a shocker!
    Where’s joined-up thinking? Why doesn’t Team Penny-Pincher have to coordinate with the other teams – history/heritage & ecology & tourism & engineering – or is the sole brake on wildcat fragmented ffff-ing around with NZ “consultation with Maori”?

  25. Elizabeth

    The upgraded courthouse is scheduled to reopen in January 2018.

    At Facebook:

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