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Stay calm and confident, advises John Morrison

Presos release from John Morrison
Although Wellingtonians had been through a terrifying time, they can take heart that they are living in a city of strong buildings that have just withstood a massive earthquake, Mayoral candidate John Morrison says.

“The last really major quake was in 1942 when chimneys came down, facades fell off buildings and the town hall clock tower was eventually taken down because of the damage,” Mr Morrison said. “Manners Street was closed for several months.

“The lessons learned 70 years ago have stood us in good stead. We had the massive rebuilding programme in the 1970s and 1980s that got rid of dozens of earthquake prone structures.

“I was encouraged to learn recently that some of the leading engineers during that rebuild period applied Californian earthquake standards and designed structures that were higher than the required code in the 1970s.

“But this has been a wakeup call to get more thorough and robust about what we retain and protect. One hundred percent NBS (New Building Standard) buildings tend to perform extremely well – getting a higher proportion of those is consistent with renewal and growth.

“Council must also act more effectively against known hazards – incentivising strengthening while penalising continued weakness.

“We are still open for business and that means we can recover quickly. While today is very stressful for everybody, we can feel more confident knowing that our buildings have stood up extremely well with relatively little damage compared to what might have been the case.

Mr Morrison said economic growth in the capital is the catalyst to replacing and improving Wellington’s CBD building stock and it was important for business in the Capital to remain confident.