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Asbestos Select Committee Inquiry Response

19 June 2001

Manukau City Council Responds To Asbestos Select Committee Inquiry

Manukau City Council’s response to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee report on asbestos released earlier this month will reinforce the community’s confidence into Council’s handling of this matter and reiterate Council’s position that it has acted responsibly and appropriately on all issues raised.

The Select Committee’s recommendations relate to LIM statements, removing bulk asbestos containing material off the five most affected properties, ensuring regulatory measures are placed in the District Plan, investigating public areas near any contaminated site, resolving disputes with residents through arbitration or mediation and assisting landowners in the Flat Bush area to test their properties.

Chairperson of the Strategic Management Committee and Manukau City Councillor Len Brown says five out the seven recommendations have been initiated by Council well in advance of the committee’s findings and after serious consideration the latter two will not be adopted.

“An independent review by international expert Alan Rogers supports our views that minor dispersed findings of asbestos in established residential areas of Flat Bush poses no more of a health risk than undertaking normal everyday activities. For example, the associated risk of a passenger in a car is 1600 times greater than the risk posed by bulk asbestos containing material. In this regard it would be redundant to assist property owners in the Flat Bush area to test their properties,” says Cr. Brown.

Councillor Brown says proceedings from a recent international conference on asbestos health affects confirms that the methodology used by Council to reach these conclusions is in keeping with international practice and leading edge advances in this field.

The Strategic Management Committee has agreed to ‘reaffirm’ to the Select Committee the contribution Manukau City Council’s Flat Bush Investigation, Risk (health) Assessment and Management Control Strategy has made to best practice within New Zealand. In addition, a contribution of up to $1m is being sought to the project as the Select Committee considers the outcome of the investigation is helpful for national guidelines.

Councillor Brown also states that because decisions about the management of asbestos were reached with the consensus of the Steering Group, Council has met the intent of the Select Committee’s recommendation for mediation or arbitration.

“The Steering Group helped to formulate and agree to all the protocols in this process and Council is satisfied that all stakeholders concerns were addressed and resolved in an open and inclusive manner,” says Cr. Brown

Cr. Brown says Council’s response will be forwarded to the Select Committee, Steering Group and affected residents.

Ends

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