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Government strengthens BIA accountability

7 April 2003 Media Statement

Government strengthens BIA accountability

The Building Industry Authority (BIA) will be disestablished and its functions moved into a government department when the new Building Act comes into force, Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.

The Authority is currently a Crown entity run by an independent Board appointed by the government, and the decision to move its functions to a government department is designed to improve accountability, Lianne Dalziel told a Public Sector Governance and Accountability Conference in Wellington today. The change will be implemented through the Building Act Amendment Bill which is expected to be introduced to Parliament by the end of July 2003.

“The public reasonably expects the government to address the regulatory failure highlighted by recent weathertightness problems, but the arm’s length relationship between Ministers and a Crown entity means that we as a government, have had little direct influence. A departmental structure will strengthen the accountability of the regulatory body to the responsible Minister, and in turn strengthen accountability to the public.

“This is another step in reforming the regulation of the building sector. The BIA has been given significant additional resources and is reorientating itself to become a much more proactive regulator,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Proposals for a stronger building control system were released last month as part of a discussion paper. Consultation on the proposals is underway, with final decisions by government expected in May.

The Minister said she had confidence in the Building Industry Authority.

“This decision does not reflect on the performance of the Authority members. I am very impressed with the way in which the Authority has responded to the challenges it currently faces, and I expect to work closely with all members over the next few months on designing the departmental model,” she said.

Some Authority members are likely to join a reference group to provide advice on the new regulatory system.

ENDS

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