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Supreme Court Leaky Building Decision

Friday's Supreme Court decision on the North Shore City Council's liability in the Byron Avenue and Mairangi Bay cases has set a cat amongst the pigeons throughout local government. It should not have - the facts were clear, and it was really an act of desperation on the part of the North Shore Council to fight the case through to the Supreme Court, from where it has been left no avenue for appeal.

The arrangement put in place by Maurice Williamson where councils accepted 25% of the liability is in shreds with most if not all owners clearly able to do better by rejecting the arrangement, and seeking full compensation from whichever local body was responsible.

TCDC ratepayers may well be asking where they stand in this issue. Overall, pretty well - the total number of claims is not yet clear, but it is a relatively small number, and the previous Council was assured that it was well within our Council's resources, and insurances. TCDC is not a member of the national Local Government mutual insurance body, which will undoubtedly be facing huge claims.

Substantial criticism has been leveled at the TCDC's building control people by builders and tradespeople of all description over the last few years. But it is only because of the vigilance, and profound scepticism of the people employed in building control that TCDC have avoided the worst effects of this debacle. Sure, there have been unwarranted delays in the issuing of permits at times - many through lack of staff during periods of major activity.

We all should be grateful that TCDC staff have exercised great caution over the last few years when standards have dropped to the extent that they have elsewhere as the result of the deregulation zeal of previous governments.

There is a warning here for the current Mayor and Council to avoid mistakes implementing some of the economies in the building and planning departments that were threatened during the recent election campaign.


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Reader Comments (2)

The leaky homes saga was basically created by BRANZ allowing the construction methods that caused the problems. They in turn were pressured by the likes of Fletchers,Carter Holt Harvey Hardies etc to use materials that they manufactured which should in general only be used for making furniture and childrens toys. Branz has no regulating authority I believe but their advice is followed to the letter by the writers of The Building Code. So the "faceless" ones of Wellington have been very quiet but in my opinion the problems of leaky buildings have been created by the Standards -a Govt. Agency and therefore the buck stops with the Government. So the real rotten bit about the whole thing is that A) the judiciary is incompetent to rule and B) I do not believe that there is any Judge who has not been personally influenced by a leaky home problem suffered by friend, or family or acqaintance. So here is the other problem , the Judiciary are too arrogant to admit that this is outside their competance and integrity.

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter feran

Can't argue with that Peter - as usual, you have nailed it, and get the bottle of wine. But boy, are we saddled with the consequences, and powerless to do anything about it. Did you hear the women interviewer on ZB early this am from Ch.Ch. say that she and her husband never knew that they had any damage to their home until the Earthquake Commission arrived, and found a "tiny" crack, so they are going to paint their house for them inside and out. That is the kind of racket that we can expect now with the leaky building setup.

December 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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