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Hawkins must be sacked says English


Bill English National Party Leader

21 November 2002

Hawkins must be sacked says English

National Party leader Bill English is calling for heads to roll including that of Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins over the leaky building crisis.

"We're releasing papers today that we believe show George Hawkins knew more about this than he's been letting on," says Mr English.

Papers received by National under the Official Information Act show Mr Hawkins attended a September 2001 meeting of the Building Industry Association, which had been wrestling with the weather tightness issue for years.

"As far back as June last year the BIA was discussing how to keep the problem hidden from the media.

"Then in July BIA boss Bill Porteous and Claddings Institute spokesman Phil O'Sullivan exchange letters in which Mr Porteous warned it would be 'wise not to speculate, lest ill-briefed technologically illiterate media does even more damage to the Building Industry.'

"The Papers show BIA officials pleaded with Mr Porteous in August to seek a Ministerial Inquiry, no action was taken," says Mr English.

"Again in late August a BIA staff member pleads for an investigation saying ' Do we wait until someone loses a life from the collapse of a balcony?

"Then, just a few weeks later George Hawkins attends a BIA Board meeting.

"I demand to know whether he received the minutes from that August meeting where officials had been pleading for that ministerial inquiry?

"I suggest he did and at the very least he must have been told, was he?

"If he wasn't, then Mr Porteous must go. If he was - then the Minister must also resign given that he's told Parliament that he wasn't 'formally' notified of the issue until April this year," says Mr English.

"By December it would seem the Building Industry Association had reached its own conclusions, with meeting minutes saying 'political masters do not appear to care.'

"The paper trail shows there's been a long campaign to keep the scale of the leaky homes crisis hidden from the public - there's no question in my mind BIA boss Bill Porteous must go.

"And it now appears George Hawkins is up to his neck in this too.

"Before he's sacked - I'm calling on him to confess, do the right thing and resign." Mr English says.

Ends


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