RBNZ HQ evacuated after asbestos found

The entrance to the Reserve Bank headquarters at the bottom of the Terrace. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

New Zealand's central bank has temporarily evacuated its headquarters in Wellington after a trace of asbestos was found. Essential operations will occur out of its Auckland premises.

According to Governor Adrian Orr, a "small trace" of asbestos was discovered on level one and "as a result, it is temporarily closing its building at No. 2 The Terrace in Wellington."

He added that air tests were conducted and came back clear and the appropriate remedial action has been taken. However, "because of the age of the building, asbestos must be presumed to be present," he said. The bank periodically conducts air monitoring across the building to ensure levels remain below the allowable trace level of 0.01 fibres per millilitre of air.

Orr said the bank has taken the extra precaution of closing the building "until it is confirmed that there continues to be no risk to human health and any necessary remedial action has been taken.”

A bank spokesman hoped to have more to report by Thursday afternoon.

Other tenants in the building are aware and have made their own arrangements, he said.