Owners of earthquake-prone buildings around New Zealand need Government assistance to strengthen their properties, a minister said today.
Speaking to ONE News, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne acknowledged many property owners who need to pay for earthquake-strengthening work are facing financial hardship.
"There will have to be some Government leadership on this matter... whether that is in terms of financial assistance or a range of measures.
Hundreds of buildings in downtown Wellington have been yellow stickered to show they do not meet earthquake building standards.
Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett said a lot of property owners are under a lot of stress.
"Not only are some of these [buildings] not up to standard, they face enormous premiums for insurance."
Wellington property owner Chrissy Hill said yellow stickers carry a social stigma, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in strengthening work.
"You are feeling on the back foot and you've got to do something about it for everyone's safety."
The Historic Places Trust estimates around 4000 heritage buildings around the country are earthquake-prone and the cost of strengthening is estimated at between $4 billion and $8 billion.
Finance Minister Bill English said he was aware of the problem for property owners, but his office said he would not consider the issue until after the Royal Commission of Inquiry finding on building standards.