A Wairarapa mayor who owns several potentially earthquake prone buildings says he won't have them properly assessed until forced to by his own council.
Six buildings owned by Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell appear on a recent council list of 40 properties initially assessed as being under one-third of the building code - and therefore potentially at risk of collapse in an earthquake.
The buildings also appear on an earlier list produced by the Masterton District Council in August last year.
Two of the buildings are occupied by residential tenants, while the others are occupied by either established or temporary retailers.
All are on Queen St in Masterton's CBD.
The classification means the buildings need to be fully assessed by an engineer, and either brought up to code or demolished.
The council is expected to send letters this month ordering landlords to have the full assessments done, but Mr Daniell said he would not act beforehand.
"A date, as yet, has not been issued, so why should I be any different than any other person involved?
"I intend to comply with the council's determination, but I'm not necessarily going to do anything other than comply."
He had not spoken with any of his tenants about the potential risk - despite knowing for more than a year - and would not do so until he had the results from a full report, he said.
"I would impress that I'm in the minority in the area that has complied [to date] with the initial assessment."
A further one-storey building, also on Queen St, could not be assessed as the plans had been lost by council, Mr Daniell said.
The list of buildings also contains 191 properties whose owners have yet to supply any information to the council, despite repeated requests since 2007.
Council chief executive Wes ten Hove said further letters would soon be sent to the owners of the buildings yet to have initial assessments done, allowing them six months to supply the information to council.
The owners of the 40 "priority-2" buildings - including Mr Daniell - would receive a letter allowing them six months to complete a full engineer's assessment or begin strengthening work.
Mr Daniell would be treated "exactly the same" as the other building owners, he said. Full assessments could cost up to "several thousand" dollars each, depending on the building.
Mr ten Hove was hopeful the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, due to report next month, would suggest changes to legislation to allow local authorities more powers to force landlords to act.
"If all we can do is stamp our feet then we need to be given more clout."
Building owners - including the council - had a "moral" responsibility to their staff and tenants to ensure everyone was safe, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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