Council targets owners as tenants barred from re-entering condemned Wellington building

Wellington City Council is seeking advice on what action it can take against the company that owns 61 Molesworth St.

The Molesworth St building is a commercial building. We caught up with people who say they've been paying $300 a week to live there. Source: 1 NEWS

After the building was condemned last week, 1 NEWS revealed that a family claimed it had been unlawfully living on the first floor of the building, which is due to be demolished after it sustained significant damage in Monday's 7.8 earthquake.

The family has been told they will not be able to re-enter and retrieve their precious possessions, including important documents, clothes and furniture, as the building is deemed too unsafe to enter.

Wellington's Mayor, Justin Lester, has expressed concern that people say they were living in the nine-storey office block. 

"There shouldn't have been residential tenants in that building," he said.

"It wasn't registered as a residential accommodation building. So we will have those discussions. There will be a process to go through."

'It's not as simple as people think'

Wellington City Council's Mike Scott says they have had many meetings with the company that owns the building, Prime Property.

He says the priority is "getting the building down and making it safe to the general public".

Mr Scott says he has personally met with the family in an emotional meeting.

"I have talked to the company that are undertaking the deconstruction. And where possible they will try to save things as they go through. But it's not as simple as people think," he said.

1 NEWS has attempted to contact Prime Property again today, and when we reached the CEO, he referred us to a company spokesperson, who is yet to return our call. 

The family is meeting with the council's welfare team this afternoon to see what further support they can get.

Video: Drone footage of Kekerengu Fault reveals the rupturing of the land

Dramatic drone vision shows how the strength of last week's 7.8 magnitude earthquake displaced large sections of land either side of the Kekerengu Fault, near Kaikoura.

The powerful earthquake struck just after midnight on Monday morning, geologist Dr Ursula Cochran of GNS Science says the scarring in the ground and the quake occurred simultaneously.

"This is called a 'surface fault rupture' and tells us that the earthquake was big enough to cause movement on the Kekerengu fault from many kilometres deep right up to the surface of the earth," she says.

Geologists say the ground on either side of the fault may have moved almost ten metres, and almost two metres vertically.

Dr Cochran says initial surveys show the surface rupture, seen in the video, may stretch some 30 kilometres and many parts of the surrounding landscape will be changed forever.

"The vertical movement across the fault has already partly blocked or diverted streams, raised the coastline, and caused hillsides to become unstable," she says.


Trampers found dead in Tararua Forest Park

Two trampers have today been found dead on a track in the Tararua Forest Park in Wairarapa.

The men, aged 39 and 32, were found dead today on a track.

The men were reported overdue last night at around 7pm by a family member.

The pair had headed out on an overnight tramp to Alpha Hut from the Waiohine Gorge campsite on Saturday morning, and were due back last evening, police say.

One body was located at 10:25am by a member of the public.

Search and Rescue located a second body at around 1pm a short distance away.

Both bodies were recovered from the bush this afternoon.

Police say that while weather conditions in the Tararuas were generally good over the weekend, temperatures did fall overnight.

Police are working to establish what experience the pair had.

The Mountain Safety Council said the deaths were a "terrible tragedy from the family and the tramping community".

"We offer our sincere condolences to the friends and family," the council said in a statement.

"We're working with the authorities to get a clear picture of the events leading to this unfortunate incident."

Police car Source: 1 NEWS