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Smith: Forgotten majority face building woes

Thursday, 9 September, 2004

Smith: Forgotten majority face building woes

The greatest fallout from the deregistering of private building certifier ABC is not with those currently awaiting approvals, but with those whose buildings have been certified by the firm over the years and who now have no hope of compensation if undetected faults are revealed, United Future's Murray Smith said today.

"These people in some cases face losses of thousands of dollars, and it is precisely this sort of predicament that United Future has opposed with its long-held view that private certifiers needed to be phased out," he said.

The ABC debacle simply backs that up, Mr Smith, United Future housing spokesman, said.

Mr Smith said that both National and NZ First had consistently argued that private certifiers were highly skilled, had not contributed to the weather tightness problems, and should be able to be continue to operate.

"Now that they have been proven wrong by one of the largest building certifiers, New Zealand First is blaming the Building Bill for the problems - a piece of legislation that hasn't yet come into effect!" Mr Smith said.

"The reality is that if building certification had been done all along by local authorities, the people who now find themselves left in the lurch would have ongoing protection.

"ABC's demise spells out a harsh reality - private building consent authorities are ultimately unaccountable, and people need to be aware of this," he said.

Mr Smith said there should be a phase-out period for private certifiers, rather than them being pushed out of the business overnight.

"However the reality is that they are all going to be pushed out of business by the Building Industry Association (or its successor, the Department of Building and Housing) either through deregistration or non-renewal of registration -and that will occur by the beginning of next year."

ENDS

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