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No new buildings are likely to be built in quake-ravaged central Christchurch until the interim report of a Royal Commission of Inquiry is released in six months, Prime Minister John Key says.
Mr Key yesterday announced the far-reaching inquiry would seek answers as to why so many lives were lost in central city buildings during last month's devastating quake.
It would focus on badly-hit central city buildings like the CTV and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings, where there was significant loss of life, but would also have a broader scope to look into the overall adequacy of building regulations.
An interim report in about six months would outline any building code changes that may be needed for new buildings in central Christchurch.
Mr Key said it was "very, very unlikely" that any new buildings would be constructed in the central city before the interim report was released.
"The reality is it's going to take time to clear the buildings in the Christchurch CBD, it'll take time for the land to settle down, design work needs to take place," he said.
"The sooner we can get that information, the better, because people are going to go about building new buildings, and they need to build them to the new code. That's why we want that interim report."
Mr Key said answers were needed about why such great loss of life occurred, and the Government was determined to get them.
"The Government believes this independent investigation is a vital step in restoring public confidence in the future of the Christchurch CBD," he said.
A final report was expected in about a year.
High Court judge Justice Mark Cooper had been recommended to head the inquiry, with two further members to be announced later.
The inquiry was expected to cost about $6 million and its findings could be applied nationwide.
It will be preceded by a technical investigation by the Department of Building and Housing that will look into the performance of the worst-hit buildings.
Labour leader Phil Goff said yesterday that answers were needed as to why more modern buildings like the CTV and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings had collapsed.
"They should not have collapsed and we need to know the reasons for that."