Media release: Quake-proofing our Heritage

12 August, 2016

Wellington (12 August 2016): ​The New Zealand Initiative today welcomed Minister Maggie Barry’s Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme (EQUIP).

“Owners of heritage buildings are too often caught in an invidious position,” commented The Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton. “Our research found building owners caught between heritage regulations that increase earthquake strengthening costs and mandated earthquake strengthening that then becomes unaffordable.”

EQUIP provides a contestable fund for owners of Category 1 heritage listed buildings, and for Category 2 buildings in places of medium to high seismic risk. Applicants would need to raise matching funds privately, through philanthropy, or from local government.

“The Initiative’s report Deadly Heritage, released earlier this year jointly with Initiative member Deloitte, called for exactly this kind of fund to help owners of heritage buildings who are compelled through regulation to provide a public amenity at their own cost. This helps bridge the gap.”

While the Initiative welcomed the report as a great start on an issue of substantial long term importance, it warned that much work remained.

Dr Crampton continued, “$12 million over four years is a small start. Too many buildings of only marginal heritage value are listed on district plans. Those owners will not have access to this funding stream. Councils need to do their part not only in providing matching funding for buildings of substantial heritage value, but also in de-listing those buildings whose strengthening they are not prepared to help support.”

The New Zealand Initiative’s report Deadly Heritage was released 19 May and is available at The Initiative’s website here.


Dr Eric Crampton is available for comment.

To arrange an interview please contact:

The New Zealand Initiative  
Phone +64 4 499 0790  


About The New Zealand Initiative  

The New Zealand Initiative is an evidence-based think tank and research institute, which is supported by a membership organisation that counts some of the country’s leading visionaries, business leaders and political thinkers among its ranks.    

Our members are committed to developing policies to make New Zealand a better country for all its citizens. We believe all New Zealanders deserve a world-class education system, affordable housing, a healthy environment, sound public finances and a stable currency.    

The New Zealand Initiative pursues this goal by participating in public life, and making a contribution to public discussions.  

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