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Building Amendment Bill (no 3)

Building Amendment Bill (no 3)

Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga

Thursday 9 December 2010; 9.00pm

I am pleased to speak about the Building Amendment Bill (No 3) on behalf of the Māori Party. I find it very interesting that the general policy statement for this bill in part says: “Change is needed to provide incentives for building professionals and tradespeople to take responsibility for the quality of their work and to stand behind it.” I think it is really sad that in this time when we need to pass legislation to make sure that people stand behind the quality of their work and take responsibility for it.

I remember that back in the late 1980s our family bought our first new home. It was built on iwi land by Māori affairs trainees. It was not what one would call a flash home. It cost us $80,000 in those days, and we had to take out a mortgage with an interest rate of about 18 percent. At one stage it rose to about 24 percent interest, so it was very expensive.

The first storm we had after we moved in lifted part of the roof. I walked into one room and water was pouring down the wall. We had to get the insurance people to come in and check it all out and get the builders back to reroof the building, and this was only just after it had been built and we had first moved in. This was long before the leaky buildings scandal.

About 10 years later, in the late 1990s, we moved into our next new home, which was a lot more upmarket. In fact, it was built by a registered master builder who did stand behind his work. He did fantastic work and, when we first moved in, he lived just down the road from us and he used to make lots of excuses to pop in and check out his workmanship. He would look around to make sure that it was holding up, and we felt very comfortable with that because we knew that he cared about the quality of his workmanship, about the quality of the building, and about the people who were living in his buildings.

That was very good, and he did not have to have a Building Amendment Act or anything such as that to force him to do it. But times have changed and there are cowboys out there still. We realise that some people will act only when the heavy arm of the law is resting upon their shoulders. So although it is regrettable, we do support this bill being referred to a select committee.


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