Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Recalling experience of leaky homes: 30 years back


by Ian Ritchie

My first, first hand experience of a leaky home was almost 30 years ago: a two year old, two storey house on two acres. We moved in while the subdivision title was coming through.

It rained and the water flowed across the inside lower floor.

I refused to complete an unconditional contract. At that stage there was only one legal precedent for doing this in the Commonwealth. I finished up getting my deposit back after declining to buy it for half? the price on an 'as is where is' basis. A "mediation" session was involved with the City Engineer and City Building Inspector. I knew that the extensive file on the house had disappeared, a promised enquiry had not taken place, the alcoholic building inspector at the time had been prematurely retired. One of my main memories is that during the meeting I called the City Building Inspector a liar and at the end of the meeting he shook me by the hand, I think respectfully.

What made the difference was that I held the trump card and got what I wanted.

After that I followed the reporting of "similar" cases in New Zealand. The government department most interested shortly after decided to move towards law changes top absolve local authorities from responsibility for inappropriate permits or inspections.

My next experience of mediation was at a Disputes Tribunal as a support person. Informal - no way. The one thing that really impressed me was that nothing the complainant said carried any wait unless the offending company representatives agreed, which they had no intention of doing. The result was that while the company responsible for the totally inadequate job was slightly inconvenienced, the complainant essentially got nothing.

I have heard the same story from Tenancy Tribunal hearings and other Disputes Tribunal hearings.

'No lawyers involved' means, as some current 'leaking home owners' who have been through the process have said, that the power lies with the company. The complainant has no power or leverage at all. Generally everything they say will be contested, their word will not be accepted unless every point is supported by an independent professional expert on the matter.

The mediator at the hearing I was at was intent on a settlement and went for the lowest, least significant point for settlement and then persuaded the parties, neither of whom wanted it, to agree as there was no other way forward, and it was what he would have ruled if he had had to.

In the case of the government's 'Leaky Homes Mediation Service', there is no power to enforce, the same limitations will apply and I suggest that few if any 'leaky home' owners will be dealing with sufficiently willing other parties to enable a satisfactory result for them, to be achieved.

The confidentiality of settlements also makes the system a farce as it means that there are no precedents set that can be used as bargaining chips.

The only effective course I can see is for 'leaky home owners' with a common target / company / developer etc to get together to take a class court action, to gain the strength to fight for the chance of a decent settlement.

All the best

Ian Ritchie

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Epic Fails Of Kris Faafoi


Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither been kind nor just, especially to the migrants whose skills New Zealand will need to get us through Covid, and grow the economy into the future... More>>

Covid-19 & Government: Government Green Lights Rapid Antigen Testing


Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall... More>>


ALSO:




 
 


Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast... More>>


Healthcare: Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today... More>>

ALSO:



Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>


Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>



Children's Commissioner: Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
The Children’s Commissioner and Assistant Māori Commissioner are calling for a plan for the mandatory vaccination of teachers and the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels