CTV report 'emotional reading'

04:19, Dec 10 2012
Donna Manning
VICTIM: Donna Manning's brother Maurice Gardiner said the report did not make life "any easier".

The brother of a woman killed in the Canterbury Television building collapse says the royal commission's report on the tragedy does not make life "any easier".

The report, which was released to the public at 3pm today, was given to families of all 115 victims over the weekend.

Maurice Gardiner, whose sister, Donna Manning, was killed, said that despite the report doing "what it's supposed to do", it did not make life "any easier".

elizabeth jane grant
LOST: Murray Grant, the husband of Elizabeth Jane Grant (pictured), says he is happy with the report.

"It obviously doesn't bring any of our family members back," he said.

"It doesn't give you any answers to why it was green-stickered or why it was even built. It just says it shouldn't be."

Gardiner said he received the report last week, and it had made for emotional reading.


Brian Taylor
CLOSURE: Prue Taylor lost her husband Brian Taylor (pictured) in the CTV collapse.

"I've stopped reading, then picked it up another day," he said.

"Personally, as a builder, it does make me saddened to think the design, every part of that particular building, it was set to fail in this earthquake. That's the thing that was disappointing. It just wasn't done properly."

Gardiner said his family simply wanted lessons learnt from the tragedy.

"The whole world is watching what is happening in Christchurch," he said.

"As long as they learn from it and buildings are built stronger ... all of New Zealand is going to be a stronger place as a result. A lot of young builders and architects are going to be so well educated in seismic buildings, it can only be better."

Murray Grant, who lost wife Elizabeth Grant in the collapse of the six-storey building, said he was ''very happy'' with how the investigation was carried out.

''It's been very well done - there's not really any part of it I'm not happy with,'' he said. 

''We're waiting now to hear what the Government is going to do about it. Whether they hold anybody accountable, that's what I'll be waiting for.''

Grant hoped the Government would look seriously into the design of the building and inspections after the initial earthquake.

''It wasn't what you'd call an act of God. The CTV building was a bad deal right through. It was bad from the day it was designed,'' he said.

''That's what makes me think that somebody should be held accountable for it.

"It was bad enough with the design and badly built, but it shouldn't have been occupied at the time. We would have had another 115 people around if it wasn't.''

Christchurch Girls' High School principal Prue Taylor, whose husband Brian Taylor died in the building, said that while ''nothing would bring the people back'', the investigation had been well handled.

''Speaking personally, I think the commission has done a wonderful job. I've been very impressed with the communication. It's been very sensitive,'' she said.

Taylor said the report had given her closure, and she had now had no unanswered questions about her late husband's death.

''I guess there will be things there that experts will still have questions in their minds about, but it can't drag on forever and at some point you have just got to draw a full stop, you know?'' she said.

"There's a lot of different layers here. I don't think there's any one person that can be held accountable.

''The city council had a part to play, the law ... even the people who complied with the code, and the design obviously had a huge impact.

"For me, it's a combination of a lot of things rather than the blame being laid at one person's feet.''

'Grim and sober' report

The royal commission's findings on the CTV building collapse make for "grim and sobering reading", Prime Minister John Key says.

It concludes the engineering design of the CTV building was deficient in a number of respects.

It also concludes the building should never have been issued with a building permit by the Christchurch City Council because its design did not comply with the standards of the time, and there were inadequacies in the construction of the building.

The findings, released today, would be little comfort to the friends and families of the 115 people who died in the collapse, Key said.

"Nothing will ever bring their loved ones back and we cannot dull their pain. My thoughts are with them as they continue to try to come to terms with their loss," he said.

The report does not come with an official Government response so the families could see the findings as soon as possible.

Families were given embargoed copies of the report before today's release, and Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson and Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson met some of them in Christchurch yesterday.

The Government would respond to the recommendations by mid-2013, Key said.

He welcomed findings on the management of buildings after an earthquake.

"The royal commission found that, despite some problems, overall the building safety evaluation process after the Canterbury earthquakes was well delivered, and the system and skills we have are adequate. It recommends some changes to improve the delivery of the system, which follow current international best practice." 

Key thanked commissioners Justice Mark Cooper, Sir Ron Carter and Professor Richard Fenwick. "They oversaw an inquiry which was incredibly broad and complex and involved a lot of technical detail."

The royal commission now ceases to exist, having completed the task set out in its terms of reference.

The Press