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Government gives up on leaky homes victims

Government gives up on leaky homes victims

The government has abandoned leaky homes victims on the eve of Christmas after cynically promising in opposition they would fix this national disaster, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.

“Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson is trying to blame local government and others for his own inability to reach a rescue package deal. The Minister slammed the phone down on a conference call with civic leaders in a childish fit of pique when we insisted the government at least match the contribution to the rescue package offered by local government, and now in desperation he is mounting a pathetic attempt to spin the blame back on local councils,” Mayor Williams said.

“Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast and Auckland City Mayor John Banks were hand-picked by the Minister to conclude the negotiations, yet to their credit they have stuck firmly to the position that government must significantly increase its meagre contribution. The Minister is now trying to cover up his own incompetence in deal-making by announcing that ‘his door remains open for local government to be part of the solution’, a statement which simply beggars belief.”

“Williamson has refused to reveal the package he is allegedly taking to Cabinet in the new year, so it is difficult to ascertain precisely what is on offer to leaky homes victims, but what we do know is that the government stands to make a profit on the $11 billion repair bill from the almost $2 billion they will claw back from GST and other taxes.”

“North Shore City Council has made it plain that the government must at least match the contribution of local government, which is around 26 percent of the repair cost as determined by recent court and mediated settlement decisions. However, the government instead chooses to blame territorial local authorities, the previous government, the building industry, and even leaky homes victims themselves, and hide behind the fine points of the law, when they themselves have created the expectation that central government will step up to the plate and deliver a fair and robust deal to leaky homes victims,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams reiterated his call for Prime Minister John Key to become directly involved in the discussions with local government over the rescue package, as his 'minister outside cabinet' is clearly out of his depth. This is yet another case where John Key is not himself fronting up to the issue, despite repeated calls for him to take personal involvement this national disaster.

“The government must stop blaming everyone else and honour its moral duty to deliver on the promises made and implied to leaky homes victims.”

“Contrary to the bizarre comments of the Building and Construction Minister today, local government is indeed ready and willing to front up with its fair share of the leaky homes repair costs, but it is central government which deregulated the building industry and abolished the apprenticeship system in the 1990s that is now running for cover and making excuses,” Mayor Williams said.

ENDS

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