South Taranaki District councillors unanimously voted against establishing "priority zones" where timeframes for strengthening earthquake prone buildings would be halved.

The decision, made during Monday's council meeting, followed Government changes to the Building Act enforcing new requirements and timeframes for addressing earthquake prone buildings.

South Taranaki was categorised as being in a medium seismic risk area which meant the council needed to identify potential earthquake-prone buildings in the district within 10 years.

The new legislation also gave councils discretion, following public consultation, to identify high pedestrian and high vehicle traffic areas as "priority zones", which would have meant timeframes for strengthening would have been halved.


But the majority of public consultation submissions were against establishing the priority areas in the district.

"The reality is that we don't have high enough volumes of pedestrian or vehicle traffic to warrant declaring priority zones in our district," South Taranaki mayor Ross Dunlop said.

He said the council's decision to not introduce priority zones reflected public submissions and was the most sensible way of balancing risk with affordability.

"Given we are in a medium risk zone, which already has established timelines for strengthening, the risk to public safety is very low.

"These requirements need to be balanced with the socio-economic impact on our towns and the ability of building owners to pay."

Dunlop added the council was able to deal with specific dangerous structures through existing powers without needing to introduce priority areas.