NZ ministry evacuated amid fire, thick smoke in high-rise near Parliament

© Tom Wood
Office workers and passersby in downtown Wellington have been alarmed by black smoke billowing from a building adjacent to the New Zealand Parliament. The Ministry for Primary Industries, which is next to the burning high-rise, has evacuated its staff.

The smoke is believed to have originated on the roof of the Prime Property Tower, located at 88 Lambton Quay. The Wellington TVNZ newsroom is located in the building.

Some type of box on the roof reportedly caught fire, TVNZ cited firefighters as saying, adding that it could have been an air conditioning vent.

Emergency services began receiving calls about the fire around 10:20 am local time on Thursday.

There are five fire trucks and a few ladder trucks on the scene, fire shift manager Chris Dalton told

“They’ve gone to the top of the building and they’ve found a unit of some sort on fire up on the roof. So they’re just getting to work to extinguish that now,” he said. “It sounds like the initial fire itself looked more spectacular than it probably is.”

Both the Treasury and Pastoral House buildings were initially evacuated, but workers have already been let back in.