Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Weathertight Homes Resolution Service won’t work

Weathertight Homes Resolution Service won’t work, says Smith

United Future MP, Murray Smith, told Parliament today that he believes the Government’s efforts to provide a quick and cheap disputes resolution process for leaky homes won’t work.

Mr Smith, who is sitting on the Government Administration select committee which is inquiring into the problem, said the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service sounds good in theory and suggests that the Government is doing something for homeowners.

”But I predict it will produce a lot of dissatisfaction as homeowners enter the system hoping to get a resolution to their problems and become highly disillusioned when it doesn’t produce the results they expect,” he said.

“Mediation only works where there are willing parties. The fundamental issue is therefore whether the suppliers involved stand by their product and their workmanship or not. It they do, then the problem will in most cases be able to be resolved through informal discussions without the need for mediation.

“If they don’t, then in most cases the suppliers simply won’t turn up,” he predicts.

“Mediation is also unsuitable when there are more than two or three parties and when the issue is complex and most of the disputes fall into both categories with architects, manufacturers, builders, subtrades, local authorities and building certifiers, the Building Industry Association, previous owners, building consultants and even lawyers all within firing range. And everyone acknowledges that the issues are complex,” he said.

In the case of the proposed adjudication, Mr Smith says that the Construction Contracts Bill dispute resolution procedures are not suitable in this case. Again they are designed for simple debt collection disputes based on clear contracts and mostly requiring a low standard of evidence. They are also designed to provide remedies for tradesmen who are owed money by head contractors. In the case of leaky buildings the “head contractor” is the homeowner – the one whom the Government is trying to provide remedies for and so the Act’s intentions would be reversed.

He says this is evidenced by the remedies that the Bill provides which are simply injunctive – suspending work if not paid and obtaining charging orders over the construction site.

“This is hardly protection for home owners,” said Mr Smith. “Decisions are also not final so people are going to have to go through the Courts to get an enforceable judgment anyway.”

The MP’s solution is to take all such cases straight to the District Courts, appoint more judges and Court staff if necessary, and instruct the Courts to give weathertightness issues top priority.

“The District Court has pre-trial hearing and mediation powers that can be used to restrict the issues in the dispute and try to bring about a negotiated resolution,” Mr Smith said.

“But they also have the powers to compel all relevant and non-privileged evidence to be disclosed and most significantly would avoid the establishment of yet another layer in the judicial process and prevent administrative duplication.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why New Zealand Needs To Change Its Defence Habits

In a flashback to the military displays of days gone by, one of our frigates recently joined a Carrier Strike show of force in the South China Sea, en route to a joint military exercise in Singapore with our traditional allies, called BersamaGold21. Reportedly, Anna Powles, from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University felt this to be a case of us doing our bit to uphold international law, and the right of free transit through the region in question... More>>

Government: New COVID-19 Protection Framework Delivers Greater Freedoms For Vaccinated New Zealanders

Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>



Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>


Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

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>>




InfoPages News Channels