An inner-city Wellington street has been closed and businesses and residents have been advised to leave amid fears a quake-damaged lift shaft could collapse in a significant aftershock.
Lukes Lane, a busy thoroughfare, has been closed by the Wellington City Council and people have been told to get out while the half-completed lift shaft, which backs on to a multi-storey carpark building, continues to pose a danger.
Council spokesman Richard MacLean says engineers looking at the carpark building since Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake have determined the lift shaft is showing signs of being on a lean, or detaching from the building.
"If it collapsed in an aftershock then it would likely fall into some part of Lukes Lane, or on to one or more of the buildings surrounding Lukes Lane, so that's why we've asked the owners to shift out until we can fix the situation," Mr MacLean told AAP.
The council can't force people out, but most building owners and tenants have heeded the advice.
Mr MacLean says the council is looking at either demolishing the lift shaft or securing it with steel framing.
The council is aware of 25 to 30 buildings that have suffered some sort of damage in the quakes.
Most of the damage is superficial, with broken windows and facade damage.
However, there are still about 10 buildings that cannot be occupied because of internal and structural damage.
More than 1300 quakes have rattled central New Zealand since the Cook Strait quake sequence began a week ago. The biggest was Sunday night's magnitude 6.5 quake.