NZ parliament in line for $200m upgrade

·2-min read

Wellington's crowded, dysfunctional and earthquake-prone parliamentary precinct is likely to see a multi-million dollar renovation over the next five years.

Trevor Mallard, speaker of the New Zealand parliament, has unveiled plans for three new buildings that he will pitch to Finance Minister Grant Robertson for next year's budget.

The price tag isn't cheap: Mr Mallard said it was likely to be north of $NZ200 million ($A184 million) and "hopefully" south of $NZ250 million ($A231 million).

However, the Labour veteran claimed the renovations would pay for themelves within 30 years as they would replace expensive tenancy agreements with nearby buildings.

"We're paying a very large sum to an offshore landlord, which I don't like very much," Mr Mallard said.

"It's designed to have the buildings of Parliament owned by the people of New Zealand."

While Mr Mallard claimed in-principle support from both Labour and the opposition National party, Mr Robertson is yet to confirm the plan, saying "no decisions have been made".

"It will go through the normal budget process for 2022," he said.

There's no disagreement that renovations would improve working conditions.

Currently, ministerial offices and MPs' offices are spread among four different buildings, with less than ideal co-habitation arrangements common.

The new buildings would sit behind the stately Parliament House and the iconic executive building known as the Beehive, which includes the office of the prime minister.

A new extension to the Beehive would allow all ministers to be housed in the one building.

A new six-storey building over the parliamentary carpark would house MPs and parliamentary committees.

Plans for new buildings in the precinct under Ms Ardern's first term were scuttled by coaltion partner New Zealand First.

Mr Mallard wants construction finsihed in time for MPs elected at the 2026 poll to move into the new buildings.

The Taxpayers Union has promised to oppose the plans, saying it was a "parliamentary palace".

"You can't trust politicians with property projects. Their instinct will always be to turn a new building into a gold-plated legacy project," spokesman Louise Houlbrooke said.

Mr Mallard has promised not to "create a landmark" but instead a "functional office space with a simple, modern design".