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Government changes to WHRS foreshadowed

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Building Issues

29 July 2005 Media Statement

Government changes to WHRS foreshadowed

Changes to the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS) and its legislation are likely as part of a review of issues surrounding the leaky buildings problem, new Building Issues Minister Chris Carter announced today.

"Cabinet has directed the Department of Building and Housing to explore options for operational and legislative changes to the WHRS after the department took over responsibility for the service on July 1," Mr Carter said.

The government wants to look at the possibility of:

- streamlining and simplifying each stage of the claims process;

- prioritising claims more effectively to ensure homeowners whose houses may deteriorate rapidly, or who face health risks, have their claims dealt with quicker;

- offering a faster and less intensive process for claims below a certain value or complexity;

- facilitating use of the WHRS by residents in multi-unit dwellings;

- holding as liable directors involved in claims where former companies are not available;

- tightening up on the use of lawyers in the dispute resolution process; and

- encouraging leaky homeowners to undertake repairs as early as possible.

"It is timely to conduct this work because the WHRS has been fully operational now for 18 months. This means we can identify areas where the service is working effectively, and areas where improvements can be made," Mr Carter said.

"The government has an ongoing commitment to helping owners of leaky homes fix their homes. We will continue to examine new ways of doing things in the WHRS as new information comes to light over the lifetime of the leaky buildings problem.

"In addition to changes to the WHRS, the government is also considering the possibility of providing further services to the owners of leaky homes, and what actions can be taken where parties involved in the construction of a home have gone out of business," Mr Carter said.


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