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Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye have welcomed today’s Supreme Court decision about the Ministry of Education’s case against Carter Holt Harvey over leaky school buildings.

In 2013, the Ministry started legal proceedings, on behalf of schools, against Carter Holt Harvey and others, alleging the supply of defective building products.

“Today’s judgement is a major victory for New Zealand taxpayers as it upholds the entirety of the Ministry’s position and awards legal costs,” says Ms Parata.

“This is the largest product liability claim ever made in New Zealand. Action was taken to protect the Crown’s significant investment in education infrastructure, and to promote better building practices in the future.

“It’s vital we do everything we can to ensure children learn in modern, comfortable environments that inspire them to succeed.

“The Ministry of Education has been at the forefront of the leaky building issue on behalf of New Zealand schools.

“Remedying this issue has an estimated total cost in excess of $1.3 billion. Today’s decision means a significant contribution to these costs can now be sought.”

Ms Kaye says the Ministry has fought this case through the Courts for several years, and this is the third time Carter Holt Harvey has failed in its attempt to have the Ministry’s claim struck out.

“The Ministry is now planning to proceed to trial, but remains open to settlement discussions with Carter Holt Harvey,” says Ms Kaye.

The Ministry of Education is the first Government agency to lodge a major product liability claim and has previously reached successful, out-of-court, confidential agreements with major manufacturer James Hardie, and CSR Building Products Ltd.


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