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Wellingtonians left in limbo as buildings and roads remain cordoned off

Wellington workers and inner city residents continue to be left in limbo as buildings remain cordoned off with earthquake damage.

Reading Cinema on Courtenay Pl is closed, with fears a carpark building behind it could collapse following Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

There are cordons in place in Tory St, into Courtenay Pl.

Dozens of people were evacuated from nearby buildings, while the National Archives building and the New Zealand Post building have also been closed while they are checked out.

Defence House headquarters and the building housing the SIS and GCSB have been shut. 

The building closures have forced apartment dwellers into alternative sleeping arrangements, while workers have had their days disrupted. 

Minister for Building and House Nick Smith has launched an investigation into the failure of Statistics House on reclaimed land on Wellington's waterfront.

The New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering says most of the damage in Wellington was to medium rise buildings, rather than low-rise ones, which is unusual.

"At this stage in Wellington, it looks like buildings between eight and 15 storeys have been worst hit," President Peter Smith.

"This quake has generated intense accelerations in buildings in this height range, especially those on softer soils.

"In contrast, short, stiff structures have experienced relatively low accelerations in this earthquake. This is the main reason why Wellington’s older buildings, which tend to be shorter, generally didn’t suffer any damage, even though some are categorised as earthquake prone."

He said the situation could have been different if the earthquake was centred closer to the capital. 

Part of the central city remains cordoned off, with the list of buildings off limits increasing. Source: 1 NEWS

The building had to be cleared quickly and now the area is cordoned off, affecting businesses and residents. Source: Seven Sharp

The evacuation of Courtenay Central was prompted following a structural engineer assessment. Source: 1 NEWS

Reading Cinema in Courtenay Place is advising those who have bought tickets to hold onto them and present them once they're open again. Source: 1 NEWS