One year on from Loafers Lodge

  • Hon Chris Penk

A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.

“I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers Lodge, in which five people lost their lives and 20 others were injured. Nothing makes up for their loss and a year on it is still keenly felt,” Mr Penk says.

“In response to the tragedy I’ve prioritised a full review of the fire safety provisions in the Building Code. This is the first full review of the fire safety provisions in more than a decade and focuses on how we better protect people and property.

“In addition to the review, the Government has already completed an investigation into fire safety systems at some boarding houses across the country. Many of the issues identified in this investigation have already been resolved. Updated fire safety systems for new-build properties were also published in November 2023.

“These actions demonstrate the Government’s commitment to fire safety. The public can be assured that we take the matter very seriously and are acting decisively.

“Changes in building uses, building materials, construction methods, and fire hazards have evolved since 2012. The review will identify modern solutions and ensure that the Building Code is fit for purpose and up to date.

“The review will consider the lessons learned from Loafers Lodge and other fire events in New Zealand and overseas, such as the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London where 72 people tragically lost their lives.

“It will also look at the detailed performance requirements of the Building Code provisions for fire safety for all types of buildings.

“Following this robust review, I will advance discussions on fire safety provisions and determine next steps.”

Notes to editors:

  • In the past year, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have published updates to fire safety systems in new buildings. This includes requiring interconnected smoke alarms as a minimum throughout a residential home and bringing the requirements for fire safety systems in line with the latest industry standards.
  • Following the fatal Loafers Lodge fire in Wellington on 16 May 2023, a decision was made to proactively inspect boarding house type properties that met a similar profile to Loafers Lodge, to identify and address any immediate fire safety concerns. These inspections were carried out between MBIE officials, territorial authorities and Fire and Emergency NZ (Operation Magazine).
  • The Operation Magazine report was proactively released and can be found here Operation Magazine – Report into boarding house fire safety and landlord compliance | Building Performance.
  • Other work to strengthen the Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) system has also been carried out since the Loafers Lodge fire, including new offences and penalties and updated infringement fines for Independent Qualified Persons and building owners who are found to be non-compliant. More information can be found here: Changes to support the integrity and compliance of the building warrant of fitness regime | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (
  • These changes will be going into the Building (Earthquake-prone building deadlines and other matters) Amendment Bill.

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