Tens of thousands of non-residential buildings in New Zealand do not meet earthquake building standards, according to a new survey conducted after the Canterbury quakes.
A ONE News exclusive has today revealed between 10,000 and 25,000, or between 8% and 13%, of all New Zealand's non-residential buildings could be affected by an earthquake.
However, officials concede the number could be as much as 40,000.
Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said the Government accepted New Zealand has an expensive problem with buildings not being up to standard.
"It's certainly billions of dollars, but whatever number I gave you now, I know that would be wrong.
"The worrying thing is that it could be wrong by 100%."
Wanganui Mayor Annette Naub said earthquake standards are a big problem for the town, affecting buildings such as the Sarjeant Gallery.
"The earthquake problem was huge for [the gallery] so we have got a major task in front of us to save not only this building but several others.
"We know there is a problem throughout the country as well. We are looking forward to discussing some of the solutions they might have for people.
The Government has committed to making sure all buildings are properly assessed so the public can judge the risks. It has also signalled it may set new national guidelines for earthquake building safety.