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BIA takes fall for Minister's incompetence

BIA takes fall for Minister's incompetence

The Building Industry Authority is being disestablished and blamed for lack of accountability when the Government's lack of action over rotting homes is due to an incompetent Minister, National Housing Spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp says.

"Taking the BIA back into a Government department is the socialist solution."

Dr Mapp today revealed new documents which show that Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins was advised in July 2001 about the possible seriousness of the weathertightness issues in buildings, and that this was being investigated.

The documents obtained by National under the Official Information Act show the Minister acknowledging in September 2001 he had the BIA 2001-02 Business Plan which outlined the Authority's investigations into weathertightness. But George Hawkins did nothing about the problem.

"Lianne Dalziel says the BIA is being disbanded because of lack of accountability but the problem has been the Minister in charge has not held the Authority to account. A more accountable BIA is the answer with proper Ministerial supervision.

"There is no doubt the BIA was flat-footed in responding to rotting homes, and its former chief executive has been moved on for this reason. The Minister was also completely inept and his lack of action has caused the problem of rotting homes to be much worse than it needed to be.

"George Hawkins denied in Parliament several times that he had been formally advised of the rotting homes crisis. These letters and documents released today could not be more formal advice that the Minister had been advised by the Authority nine months before he claimed in Parliament.

"The Government has been totally incompetent in dealing with rotting homes. Helen Clark blamed the media for 'banging on' about the crisis, while Michael Cullen claimed there would be no'corpses' over it. Well we have a cemetery of corpses in George Hawkins, Bill Porteous, and now the BIA," Dr Mapp said.

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