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Leaky home service not fair

Leaky home service not fair, speedy or cost effective

“The Weathertight Homes Resolution Service is costing more than $100,000 per settlement in bureaucracy costs, and providing anything but a fair or speedy resolution of claims,” National’s Building spokesman, Nick Smith, says today in releasing figures on the service.

The WHRS has cost taxpayers $35.3 million to date and resolved 325 cases (averaging $109,000 each). In the past year the service has cost $16.4 million and settled 120 cases (averaging $136,000 each). A further $53.5 million is budgeted to be spent on the WHRS between now and 2009.

“It is an outrage that Labour is spending $99 million on a burgeoning bureaucracy and $6 million on lawyers fighting leaky home owners, but not one dollar on fixing the actual houses,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government claims the service is fair, but how can a homeowner in mediation with as many as a dozen lawyers opposing them possibly get justice?

“Labour’s refusal to provide owners of leaky homes with legal aid or allow them to claim for lawyers’ costs puts them at a huge disadvantage.

“Labour’s promise that the WHRS would be speedy and quick is a sick joke when less than 10% of cases have been resolved after two-and-a-half years. At the current rate of settlement some homeowners will wait 20 years for a resolution.

“Thousands of owners of leaky homes are going into their third winter with a rotting unhealthy home. It is time Labour admitted the WHRS is a failure.

“A National Government will rewrite the law and put the focus on getting the homes fixed as quickly as possible. The millions being budgeted on the bureaucracy should be spent on fixing these homes,” Dr Smith says.


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