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The buck stops nowhere on rotting homes

Dr Wayne Mapp National Housing Spokesperson

11 December 2002

The buck stops nowhere on rotting homes

Minister of Internal Affairs George Hawkins has refused to be accountable for his failure to "exercise judgement and political awareness", under questioning over rotting homes at the Government Administration select committee today.

National Housing Spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp said Mr Hawkins was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

"George Hawkins expected the Chair of the Building Industry Authority, Barry Brown, to exercise judgement and political awareness in his letter of 25 March 2002. But he's not prepared to take the responsibility himself.

"Building industry experts wrote to the Minister in July and August 2001 making him aware of the rotting homes crisis potentially costing billions of dollars. He simply failed to ask questions.

"Today at the select committee he would not admit his own failure, and did everything to play down the crisis. He is simply not being honest.

"Mr Hawkins has badly let New Zealand homeowners down.

"Even today's announcement does not deal with the pressing issue of treated and untreated timber, and the Government has not even tried to do a survey to find out the scale of the problem.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark has not only offended homeowners by claiming this crisis is a 'beat-up', but she has shifted the deck chairs so that George Hawkins loses responsibility for the building industry.

"George Hawkins should accept the buck stops with him. He should resign as a Minister because he failed to protect the interests of homeowners when he had known about the crisis for more than 12 months," Dr Mapp said.

Ends

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