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Coddington's Liberty Belle Is In...

Liberty Belle

Lunacy Sighting 1: Phrases of the week from the House of Representatives. Annette King, Minister of Health, prefers the term “gender realignment” to “sex change operation”. Pete Hodgson, Minister in charge of Climate Control, said the carbon tax, predicted to cost the average NZ family more than $100 a year, is not a “tax” but an “income shift”. So we must alter our language to suit. On July 7 we file an Income Shift Return. Every time we buy something we pay “Goods and Services Income Shift” – “GSIS added”.

Lunacy Sighting 2: The Building Act 2004 came into effect April 1 2005. But it’s no joke. It will add up to 50 percent to the cost of building a house, according to some local authorities. A real estate agent on Auckland’s North Shore told me he sold what appeared to be a house and granny flat. Turned out it hadn’t been approved, even though the property complied and the work had been done to all required standards. When they asked the council for approval they were told it could have been done for around $800 in March but with the Building Act coming into effect the approval would cost in excess of $10,000. Any dwelling with an attached/secondary living area used for rental purposes must have a building consent and compliance. This will provide a great opportunity for a council fee-fest. It will also make it harder for those wishing to provide a home for their elderly or dependent relatives. The code of compliance includes a resource consent (not previously required in complying zones), a series of building and service inspections, and a reserve contribution (calculated from a valuer’s report on the property, and the area assigned). This exercise consists of eight components, seven of which cost $10,500 plus the reserve contribution. This compared with $810 in March.

The Building Act is a nightmare, brought in because of the leaky homes fiasco. For my sins I sat on the select committee that inquired into leaky homes. There were a few genuine complaints. However, much of the problem was ignorant fools paying half a million dollars for a house without checking it out thoroughly. If you were spending $500,000 on a car and didn’t know anything about cars, you’d take along someone who did know. Well, if you had half a brain you would. Nevertheless, these people bought shoddily built apartments and then came grizzling to the gummint to do something. Good grief! Next thing we’ll be inquiring into rusty cars! Laddered pantyhose? One woman even wanted compensation cos she’d left her French doors open, the carpet got wet, and the floor boards rotted. Instead of targeting the problem, basically untreated timber being used for framing (thanks to the eco-Nazis), now every person in the country is being punished.

BTW I’ve had lots of inquiries about Liberty Belle when I leave Parliament. It’s a Friday fix, apparently, that you enjoy. Well, to save me breaching some obscure clause of the Privacy Act, if you don’t want me to take your email address with me when I leave Parliament, let me know. The rest of you (and you might be just one) will stay on the list.

Yours in liberty,

Deborah Coddington

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