The Government must provide urgent support to residents for important earthquake strengthening work so that it happens quickly, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.
"I support the call from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester to bring forward work to strengthen the earthquake prone buildings in the city. The latest earthquakes have been a wake-up call to get this vital work done.
"However the cost of that strengthening work is proving prohibitive for many people. This is especially so for residential body corporates. We have many residential buildings that are ‘yellow stickered’ and the owners are really struggling to find the money to undertake repairs.
"Body corporates themselves can’t borrow money, and some are now forgoing insurance in order to save the money for strengthening. Even some commercial owners are struggling to find the money to undertake the work.
"Financial support must be provided by the Government to do this. We have been investigating two options: making strengthening tax-deductible and providing a low or no interest loan scheme for strengthening work.
"Both options would suit different people and would give the ability to speed up works and not have the initial cost act as a barrier.
"The Wellington City Council currently offers some rates relief, but that is not proving sufficient to allow work to be undertaken in some cases.
"We need to make sure all Wellingtonians can feel safe and secure in their homes. It will be team effort to make this happen," Grant Robertson said.