The construction of a new Parliament building to accommodate MPs and workers is scheduled for 2022.

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The Speaker also announced plans for three new buildings in Parliament, including a new house for MPs and their workers, a distribution building, and the reconstruction of the quake-prone Executive Wing annexe.

The scheme calls for the construction of a new six-story building behind Parliament House on Museum St, which is now used as a parking lot but is owned by the Crown.

It will be linked directly to Parliament House.

The Press Gallery annexe, which was formerly used by the Executive Wing and was deemed an earthquake possibility, will also be demolished.

House Speaker Trevor Mallard stated that funds would be sought in the 2022 budget and that construction would begin later that year.

“What you’re seeing is something that’s designed to have the buildings of Parliament owned by the people of New Zealand.”

The project would most likely cost more than $200 million.

Mallard said that buying the buildings was preferable to leasing office rooms.

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“Just the whole idea – you have a Parliament [and] you had got the core of your constitutional buildings owned offshore – doesn’t sit very well with a lot of people. This is a long term control question.”

The plans were “a bit plainer” than what speaker David Carter announced in 2016, when the budget was $100m, but there was an extra building and inflation to take into account.

Mallard said that the total expense did not exceed two periods of the 15-year lease charged to occupy Bowen House, but that it was logical to keep a long-term perspective on owning Parliament buildings.

He refused to reveal the terms of the lease for Bowen House, which was not being used because it was earthquake-prone.

Mallard expressed optimism that there would be no politicking and stated that the proposal had bipartisan support.

He mentioned that there were some heritage issues with the annexe, but that if it could not be demolished, there was a plan B that would require “low-level strengthening” and using the space for storage.

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The thesis is expected to be finished by 2026.

 

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