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Posted: 12:25 am ET
In January, we heard several concerns about the ongoing construction project at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand related to safety issues, structural and health concerns and communication issues in the work disruption that followed the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 (see US Embassy New Zealand’s Chancery Rehab Project: Safety and Health Concerns With Ongoing Construction). In State/OBO’s response to our prior inquiry, we were told that rehabilitation project of the existing chancery in Wellington to meet seismic and security requirements is scheduled for completion in early 2018.
The new Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Scott Brown is reportedly expected to arrive in Wellington this week (also see New Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Scott Brown Introduces Self in Home Video). Below is from a new howler we got which shows the new ambassador has ready made headaches to welcome him at his new gig.
“Regarding Embassy Wellington’s seismic upgrade, the latest completion date is now “mid-2019”.
“No deaths on site so far, although there have been a few more injuries, fires, power outages and evacuations.”
“Staff members are now back at the British High Commission with their workspaces scheduled to be consumed by the project again, because we didn’t learn from our mistake last time.”
On a positive note, OBO built post a beautiful new kitchen…which we can’t use during business hours because the only entrance is through the Embassy’s *one* meeting room.
“Will incoming Ambassador Brown be able to make any sense of this mess when he arrives this week?”
“It’d be lovely to have a town hall to welcome him, except that the multi-purpose room is scheduled for teardown this week, too.”
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- Marking #MemorialDay 2017 Around the Foreign Service
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- The State Dept’s Most Expensive Assignments in the World (February 2015)