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Plea for building standards check-up unanswered

Phil Heatley MP

National Party Housing Spokesman

27 April 2006

Plea for building standards check-up unanswered

National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley says Labour may be putting the safety of the public at risk by refusing to take advice from industry experts on building standards in New Zealand.

"When those in the know are saying as many as half of the building standards used in New Zealand are more than a decade old, with some 'hopelessly out of date and all in need of review'*, the Government should listen. The industry's even offered to pay for it."

Mr Heatley is commenting on evidence presented to the Commerce Select Committee today by the Construction Industry Council which has called for a full review of more than half of the 600 building related standards used in New Zealand.

"These are issues that range from materials used through to fire and earthquake safety. They are matters of public safety and should be taken seriously.

"It is profoundly worrying that the Construction Industry Council say they've approached Ministers and officials, and even offered to fund the cost of any review with increases to their own levies. But to date Labour has refused to take action.

"The industry has already formally identified to Standards New Zealand at least 60 building standards which need a major overhaul.

"By turning a blind eye to issues of safety, the Department of Building and Housing is failing in their public responsibility.

"A responsible Minister would also want to be reassured that new technology and techniques in design and building are being covered adequately by current standards."

Mr Heatley says by international standards New Zealand is dragging its heels, for instance, Australia expects to review its building standards every six or seven years.


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