Wellington City Council's recovery manager officially has the power to make building owners share the results of their building inspections with the council.
Mayor Justin Lester has been given the ability to give notice of a statutory "local transition period" for Wellington, which gives recovery manager Mike Mendonca the power to compel building owners to share their information.
Approval for the transition period has been given by Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002.
"This transition period gives the City Council recovery manager the legal power, if necessary, to compel building owners to obtain assessments of their buildings and provide the results," Lester said.
"Wellingtonians need to know that their city is safe. This transition period will help us ensure that we understand the current state of buildings and get a clearer picture of the state of buildings following any major aftershocks."
Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, councils can appoint recovery managers with special powers to oversee a city's recovery from an emergency. Now ministerial approval has been given, Mendonca will soon have these powers to apply to the recovery process now under way in Wellington.
"Mike is a highly-experienced recovery manager, and our application was about making sure he is given all possible legal authority to keep Wellingtonians safe, and ensure our city's recovery runs smoothly and efficiently," Lester said.
"This is just one of a range of steps we are taking to ensure our city is responding to the effects of the recent earthquakes. We are also working closely with the Government to identify major resilience projects that can be brought forward to help us get ready."
Mendonca told media yesterday council had had trouble with a small number of building owners being "reticent" to share information "for various reasons".
"I don't actually know what those reasons are," he said.
He would rather get the information "voluntarily" but would compel them if need be.