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Statistics House to be demolished

11 Oct 2017

Almost a year after the KaikĊura earthquake caused the partial collapse of two floors in Statistics House, insurers have finally agreed the building should be demolished.

Derek Nind, chief executive of CentrePort, which owns the building, said an agreement had been reached that the six-story office building could not be economically repaired.

"We've had our engineers do their reports and the insurance companies have had theirs do theirs and the insurance companies has come to this conclusion," Nind said, describing damage to the structure as "substantial".

CentrePort's shareholders - the Greater Wellington and Horizon regional councils - had been notified and the company would apply to Wellington City Council for consents to demolish the building.

Previously home to hundreds of employees of Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Transport, the failure of Statistics House became one of the focal points of the November 14 earthquake.

While "critical issues" were identified with its design in 2013 following the Seddon earthquake, staff continued to work in the building. Strengthening work was underway at the time of the November earthquake.

Although an agreement has been reached to demolish Statistics House, the future for the site is unclear.

Nind confirmed it had "full replacement insurance" for Statistics House. That could oblige CentrePort to replace the building.

Nind said the agreement with the insurance was simply about demolition. "There's been no decision made about what we're going to do next."

Statistics House was part of a major venture by CentrePort to expand into commercial property, which also saw it build Customs House and BNZ Harbour Quays.

All three buildings have been empty since the earthquake, although repairs are underway on the Customs building, which could be reoccupied before the end of the year.

Experts were still assessing the BNZ building, and Nind did not know when the future of the building would become clear.

 - Stuff

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