The Reserve Bank’s currency, payments and settlements, and markets operations are not affected. We are able to undertake our currency operations in the building, as usual, with confidence. All other critical real-time banking functions are being operated from our Auckland premises.
Governor Adrian Orr said: “As a responsible employer and landlord, the Reserve Bank has decided to close the building so we can address the issue comprehensively. We will move to other premises until all necessary remedial action has been taken. I apologise for the inconvenience to tenants, staff, and customers of affected organisations. I congratulate my team for being so organised and effective.”
The decision comes after ongoing asbestos remediation was proving too complex and disruptive. 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.
Until yesterday, ongoing air monitoring in the Reserve Bank building showed that the level of respirable asbestos fibres was below trace level, meaning that the building was safe for occupation.
The ground and basement levels will remain occupied and in use. The way that those levels were built is different than the office block above, meaning those levels are safe.
“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,” Mr Orr said.
We are supporting tenants in the building as they make arrangements for temporary accommodation. They are the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Parliamentary Counsel Office, State Services Commission, and NZ Defence Force.