Ministry of Social Development to get brand new offices in New Plymouth

By mid 2017 the site of the old Kibbys Metal Pressing building will be housing an "all-of-Government" hub.

By mid 2017 the site of the old Kibbys Metal Pressing building will be housing an "all-of-Government" hub.

At least one Government agency is getting brand new offices in a major development that adds to the westerly migration of New Plymouth's central business district.

This week the Ministry of Social Development confirmed it would be transferring its Gill St office, near the back of Event Cinemas, to a new building in June 2017. 

The new building, which is currently being constructed, is the old Kibbys Metal Pressing site on the corner of Dawson St and Devon St West, near Bowlarama and close to the Len Lye Centre. 

By mid 2017 the site of the old Kibbys Metal Pressing building will be housing an "all-of-Government" hub.

By mid 2017 the site of the old Kibbys Metal Pressing building will be housing an "all-of-Government" hub.

The development is understood to be a multimillion-dollar project. 

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The Ministry of Social Development oversees Child, Youth and Family, Work and Income, StudyLink and Senior Services, and currently occupies four floors of the multi-level Gill St building.

A spokesperson from the ministry said the old Kibbys site was "procured as an all-of-Government solution, by the Property Management Centre of Expertise".

"Further detail is not available at this stage," they said. 

The new two storey building, next to W.R.Phillips, may house other Government agencies as well as the Ministry of Social Development, and as such would see a significant shift of office workers moving to the western edge of the CBD. 

Logan Gieni, the co-owner of Escape, a surf and coffee shop on the corner of Gill St and Liardet St, said there was talk that the whole of the multi-level Gill St building would soon be empty.

"They are all moving more into town. People are saying it's like a migration." 

Gieni said some of his customers had said the east, or top, end of town, used to be the happening place, then it moved to the centre of town, but it was now shifting to the Len Lye Centre end. 

"I think it's because there are more affordable properties down that end of town and people have bought them and have fixed them up." 

Gieni said he had regular customers from the Ministry of Social Development, but he wasn't worried that their relocation would cause a drop in customer numbers. 

"There's a lot of office workers in this end of town."

On Thursday, spokespersons from both the Inland Revenue Department and the Department of Corrections said they were not involved in the development. 

Via email, a spokesperson from the Government Property Group they were not authorised to say which departments would occupy the building as it was up to those agencies that would use the building to make that information public. 

Neither could they say how much the project was costing, or how many staff would be involved in the relocation.  

They did however say the Government would not own the building, and instead it would be leased. 

They said the benefits of an all-of-Government building included optimising the Crown's property footprint and providing "better customer and staff experiences, by co-locating and sharing things such as reception, meeting rooms and kitchens".

The spokesperson said the Christchurch Integrated Government Accommodation project, which houses 18 government departments and agencies in four new buildings, had reduced the number and cost of systems needed, "while allowing agencies to retain their confidentiality and security needs".

"Staff located within the new working environments are reporting they are happier and find it easier to collaborate with their colleagues," the spokesperson said. 

 - Stuff


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