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NZ central bank vacating Wellington HQ for three months due to asbestos

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by Rebecca Howard

Aug. 10 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s central bank is vacating its Wellington headquarters for about three months to remediate asbestos issues.

The central bank’s currency, payments and settlements, and markets operations will not be affected as “we are able to undertake our currency operations in the building, as usual, with confidence,” it said in a statement. According to the bank, the ground and basement levels were constructed differently than the higher levels and are safe.

All other critical real-time banking functions are being operated from the Auckland premises.

The decision comes after ongoing asbestos remediation was proving too complex and disruptive, it said.

“The final straw was yesterday when a trace amount of airborne asbestos was detected in one floor’s lift foyer. The amount detected is low risk but the health and safety of all building occupants is our priority. The floor – level 6 – was vacated immediately.”

Central Bank governor Adrian Orr said “we expect to move back into the building after three months, when building-wide remediation work is finished and safety tests have been completed and signed off by specialist asbestos firm Major Consulting Group.”

Other tenants are making arrangements for temporary accommodation including the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Parliamentary Counsel Office, State Services Commission, and NZ Defence Force.