Liquefaction Risks in Dunedin – How Concerned Should You Be?

June 11, 2014

in Property

Property: HousingA recent report commissioned by the Otago Regional Council on natural hazards potentially affecting different areas of Dunedin intended to guide the Dunedin City Council in its proposed rules for the new District Plan has highlighted liquefaction risks in significant areas of the city.

The report found that some 27% of the city’s population lived in areas susceptible to liquefaction.  The report differed from the previous assessment carried out in 2005 which identified almost the entire Taieri Plains as being “possibly susceptible” to liquefaction.

The report recommended further investigation to identify how much potentially liquefiable ground there was in the at risk areas but did not consider placing restrictions on existing or new developments as being justified.

Some parties have expressed concern at the possible difficulties in getting appropriate insurance cover on dwellings and properties in the “at risk” areas however New Zealand’s biggest insurance companies signalled some time ago that the risk of liquefaction will not change the way they insured such properties.

Other people have expressed concern at the impact of the liquefaction notification on the LIM for their properties.  Most people are now aware that LIM warnings simply draw attention to an already and understood risk and whilst it is helpful to buyers of such properties to be aware of the potential risk it does not appear to dissuade most buyers from proceeding with a property purchase in an affected area.  The intention is to be aware of and understand the risk but fortunately the chances of a serious earthquake hitting Dunedin is one in 1000 according to geologist Prof. Richard Norris.  That does not mean people should be complacent but Dunedin is not considered a high seismic risk area.  For example Christchurch seismic hazard is about double that of Dunedin.

In summary the report is an update and part of an ongoing process.  It is cautionary information and suggests no increased level of risk.

Buyers should always now get a LIM prior to purchase and have their lawyers check same.  Farry and Co. are experts in all property and conveyancing areas and can advise first home buyers, property investors or any individual(s) considering entering into the property market or expanding on their property portfolios.

If you require any advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication please contact the lawyer at Farry and Co. who normally advises you, or alternatively contact:


Michael Nidd

03 477 8870 or 09 379 0055



The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry and Co. does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

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