Hundreds of Inland Revenue staff have been sent home after it was found their central Wellington office tower may not be safe in an earthquake.

The Asteron Centre in central Wellington.

The Asteron building. Photo: RNZ / Emile Donovan

When looking to renew the lease at The Asteron building on Featherston Street, the IRD received a poorer seismic assessment than previously issued.

Up to 1000 staff will work from home until the building can be strengthened.

Inland Revenue said no decision had been made on whether it will now renew the lease.

The 17-storey block is Wellington’s largest office building.