Justice Minister Andrew Little says he's asked officials to look at introducing a corporate manslaughter law following a police decision not to prosecute over the collapse of Christchurch's CTV Building in the 2011 earthquake.

Last month police announced they would not be prosecuting the engineers responsible for the building, saying they were unlikely to get convictions.

Little over the weekend met with the aggrieved families of some of the 115 people killed in the disaster.

On Monday, he told Radio NZ while he could not interfere in the case, he had asked officials to look at changing the law and closing loopholes for future events.


"I just instinctively think that it's wrong when a building collapses, kills 115 people, we now know through other inquiries there was a level of negligence involved in the design of the building... and yet no one is called to account," he said.

"There is scope to look at a broader corporate manslaughter law. When you've got organisations that do something that results in deaths like this as a result of negligence we've got to have a means or a mechanism to call people to account."

He said Canada presented a "reasonably workable" model for corporate manslaughter laws and said he hoped to be looking at changes part way through 2018, following advice and a long consultation period.

"Doing stuff about the future law is going to be one that might help [the families] get through the grief they clearly are experiencing," he said.

The CTV building collapsed after the February 22, 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people including 65 foreign students. It accounted for the bulk of the quake's 185 deaths.

Little, a former union boss, is dealing with similar issues of corporate culpability in the Pike River Mine disaster, where 29 workers died, and no prosecution progressed.

In an editorial for the Christchurch Star, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said she had thought there would have been a prosecution.

"When something so catastrophic happens, it is natural to want accountability, and the decision not to proceed stripped away one of the last remaining vestiges of hope that someone would be called to account," she wrote.


"When I first met the bereaved families as mayor, they told me their guiding principles were to be inclusive and to use their knowledge and experience for future good.

"Their overriding message was that we honour the people lost in the earthquake by learning lessons from what happened."

Dalziel wrote people need to be confident that the warning signs discovered from the CTV inquiry would be points of intervention that would prevent any future tragedies.

- NZN, Christchurch Star