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Government claims that the country has moved on from leaky homes and building laws should be relaxed have been described as "looney tunes" by opposition MPs.

The building industry is warning the government not to go too far with plans to cut red tape across the building and resource management acts, after it revealed yesterday that it was considering recommendations from the rules reduction task force to allow builders to sign off more of their work, without needing to get council consents.

After saying that New Zealand have 'moved on' from the issues raised by leaky buildings, Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said "People have not moved on - this is a $22 billion disaster. There are thousands of New Zealanders who have had their homes and their assets destroyed by this and they most certainly haven't moved on," he said.

Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray also said Local Government Minister Paula Bennet was wrong about the country moving on from the leaky homes controversy.  Mr Gray said while he saw the need to streamline processes, some builders were simply not being cautious enough about doing their jobs, and leaky buildings were still being constructed.

A lawyer specialising in building cases also said the government was wrong to say the country has moved on from leaky homes. Stuart Robertson – a senior partner at Kensington Swann - was also concerned by the recommendations to allow builders to sign off more of their own work. "There are second-time and third-time leaky homes out there at the moment. I have no confidence we are over the leaky building crisis. "If we've learned nothing else from the weather-tightness crisis, we shouldn't be rushing into self-certification builders don't intend to build defective or leaky buildings, but the pressure on them from developers and consultants to perform does leave open a high element of risk."

But Housing Minister Nick Smith has played down the concerns, saying there was a lot of low risk work that builders should be able to sign off themselves.

Registered Master Builders Association head David Kelly said while there were more low-risk jobs builders could sign off on, more complex work still needed council sign-off or peer review. He said that if builders do get more freedom to sign off work, then the licensed building practitioner standards need to be set at a higher level.

Readers of the story on the NZ herald website had some colourful comments to make on the subject.

Source: RadioNZ


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