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Parliament upgrade sees plan for three new carbon zero, earthquake proof buildings

Parliament is to be upgraded, with plans in place for three new carbon net zero, earthquake proof buildings that require "significant investment".

New Zealand's Parliament buildings. Source: istock.com

"For many years now, it has been clear that current accommodation on the Parliamentary precinct is not fit for purpose and can no longer effectively support a modern, accessible Parliament," Speaker Trevor Mallard said.

Bowen House, a building across the road from the Beehive that once held some MPs, was vacated due to its earthquake risk. 

"We are now beyond capacity with ministers, members and staff scattered across four buildings (one of which is not on the Parliamentary precinct) in a rather haphazard manner," Mallard said.

"While we have done our best with available space, current arrangements are subpar, uneconomic and unsustainable, especially when the possible future growth of our Parliament is taken into consideration."

A new building behind Parliament is set to be built to hold MPs and their staff, proposed to be six storeys and created using New Zealand-made materials and with new public areas. 

An earthquake prone annexe connected to the Beehive is to be demolished and rebuilt as a three-storey building to hold nine ministers. 

Another, smaller two-storey building is proposed also at the back of Parliament for 'secure deliveries'. 

Mallard applied for funding in the 2022 Budget and is aiming for work to begin that year, with a goal in place for completion by the 2026 election. 

"I acknowledge that bringing accommodation up to standard and increasing functionality of the precinct will require significant investment, however, we must look at the long term," Mallard said.

"Ultimately, this is the right and responsible course of action to ensure our nation’s Parliament is supported to operate efficiently and effectively for many years to come."