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Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill

Weathertight Homes Resolution Services (Financial Assistance Package) Amendment Bill

Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga Thursday 9 December 2010

Mr Speaker I rise to express the support of the Maori Party for this Weathertight Homes Resolution Services (Financial Assistance Package) Amendment Bill.

And in doing so, I am acting in a way which is consistent with our previous voting practice, and particularly when we supported the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Bill into law some four years ago now, on December 2006.

I wonder what it is about Christmas time that Government want to ensure Homes are indeed Weathertight. My mokopuna would probably put it all down to Hana Koko - and the need to get that chimney in pace for the santa sack to be dropped!

All jokes aside, I am pleased to support this Bill to bring into place, financial assistance measures which will be provided by the Minister on behalf of the Crown, to lenders, in the form of a credit support facility.

The Bill provide for the setting of monetary limits of the guarantees or indemnities; the form and content of the guarantees or indemnities; and the maximum contingent liability of the Crown under the guarantees or indemnities.

That sounds particularly impressive and as if no stone has been left unturned.

However, the Bill does not establish a limit on how much can be lent by the Crown to lenders. The Minister of Finance will determine the length of time the loan to lenders has to be paid back.

That is an area which I am particularly interested in hearing the views through the select committee process, if indeed, the Minister of Finance should be the one that has the ultimate authority to determine timeframes and parameters around them.

Arguably, the Government will act as a guarantor to financial institutions so that the pressure of lending for the purposes of repairing leaky homes by these institutions can be eased and therefore money to fix leaky homes is more readily accessible.

So at its simplest form then, this Bill aims to provide owners of leaky homes access to cost effective procedures for assessment and resolution of claims.

The Bill will establish financial assistance measures in order to facilitate the repairs of leaky homes.

Mr Speaker, I cannot leave this Bill without making the inevitable comparison to a region central to my electorate of Te Tai Tonga, and I am of course referring to the drastic impact of the September earthquake on some 100,000 houses in Christchurch; with some two thousand houses uninhabitable.

I am very aware that the Earthquake Commission deadline for claims related to damage from September's earthquake is fast approaching, and that Christchurch residents are being urged to make sure they have made a claim for any property damage, no matter how minor it may seem.

But my big question remains about how we support and sustain those residents who did not have the protection of insurance, and how we can create a positive future for them - much as we are doing today with this Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Financial Assistance Package Amendment Bill.


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