Wellington at the moment resembles something between a war zone and a crime scene.

There's rubble strewn across the pavement up the road from Parliament as an unstable high rise is razed while in other parts of the city footpath areas are taped off to prevent falling debris causing injury.

Many of those working in offices in the capital are spooked, with some moving out and working from home or from some makeshift accommodation.

If Parliament was a war zone, then the correspondents covering it would be doing so at a distance from the yellow stickered Press Gallery annex out the back of the Beehive - and with most of the inhabitants now having moved to higher ground.

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Once one media organisation got the jitters in the earthquake-prone building, others followed suit and that's been the case with many office workers across the city. In the political media's case, even a letter from Parliament's landlord, Speaker David Carter, doesn't seem to have assuaged concerns.

Given its category, the Press Gallery building has to be either demolished of strengthened by 2029 - but since the earthquake of a fortnight ago, engineers have again inspected the building and have confirmed there are no signs of structural damage.

Workers assembling the boom on the 85-ton ultra-high-reach excavator that will to be used to demolish Wellington's 61 Molesworth St. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Workers assembling the boom on the 85-ton ultra-high-reach excavator that will to be used to demolish Wellington's 61 Molesworth St. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The past two weeks haven't given much comfort to many of those living in the city and there are increasing calls for buildings to be strengthened sooner, which of course creates a financial headache for the owners. The cost of strengthening is prohibitive for many owners who're struggling to find the money to undertake repairs.

Labour says some apartment buildings are now foregoing insurance to save money for strengthening and at least they've come up with a couple of ideas to make it more affordable. One is making the cost of upgrading a building tax deductible, and the other is to provide a low or no-interest loan scheme for strengthening work.

At least they've put the ideas on the table. But rather than being spooked, Wellingtonians should perhaps put the risk into a bit of perspective.

An in-depth official report out four years ago, after six months of research by various agencies, looked at a worst-case scenario of a 7.5 quake hitting the capital. Chances of it happening in the near future are small, with a rupture of that magnitude hitting every 840 years - the last one was three hundred years ago. So we've got a bit of time on our hands and the report says living on a faultline means that no amount of strengthening work could remove all the risk.

So perhaps it's time for Wellingtonians to take a deep breath and chill.