© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Government to repeal 'year-and-a-day' law that stopped CTV building collapse prosecution.

Luke Hempleman
CTV site
The site of the collapsed CTV building, now a peaceful public garden. Luke Hempleman

The widower of a woman killed in the CTV building collapse is welcoming the reform of the controversial law.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement during her post-Cabinet press conference yesterday.

"This is to prevent any future situations where people are unable to seek justice bcause of what has become an outdated provision in New Zealand law."

The law said if the cause of death was not found within a year and one day of the death no-one could be prosecuted.

This protected the CTV building engineers from prosecution after the building collapsed, killing 115 people, as the building was designed over thirty years ago.

Widower Mann Alkaisi's wife, Maysoon Abbas, died from multiple injuries in the collapse.

Maan Alkaisi said the repeal showed the government cared.

"The government has listened to us and actually taken action to change things. I felt that they actually cared. We, [the families of the victims] appreciate this, and it means a lot to us."

The new law will not be retrospective, meaning that no one could be prosecuted for the CTV collapse. Alkaisi said however, the story was far from finished.

"This one-year one-day law is not really the main major obstacle. We have much stronger evidence and a case that we believe will mean at the end, we can have justice."

He said he wanted to ensure that no family ever has to go through what he did, again.

"Victims have very little rights, they cannot file for class action or ask for compensation. I hope this is the start of reforms that will give victims more rights."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Justice Minister Andrew Little met with Maan Alkaisi and the families of the other victims last month.

"I know this won't help those families, but this law change will help ensure that those who face similarly tragic circumstances will not be prevented from seeing justice done," Ardern said yesterday.