INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public deceived on rotting homes danger

Published: Wed 27 Nov 2002 03:17 PM
Public deceived on rotting homes danger
National Party Leader Bill English is accusing officials of deliberately hiding the dangers posed by leaky homes.
“This is a serious issue and officials actively tried to cover it up. Now we know that’s something which is still happening,” says National Party Leader Bill English.
“Just this week we’ve heard the Prime Minister accuse the media of ‘banging on about issues of no substance’.
“This attempt to play down the rotting homes crisis is consistent with official strategy and at last Helen Clark’s in on Labour’s message.
“Papers released under the Official Information Act show as recently as August officials were still playing down the seriousness of the problem.
“That’s a year after the danger was first raised and five months after the Minister was formally advised.
“We can only assume that Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins knew about this conspiracy against homeowners,” claims Mr English.
“In August the Weather Tightness Media Work Group says their public statement should be ‘leading into the issue in a low key manner.’
“They even had advice from Wellington lawyers on the potential for law suits against local councils,” Mr English says.
“They talk about council inspections and advise that it’s one thing to see a fault, but ‘another thing to say anything’.
“Days later, the chairman of the Weather Tightness Overview Group expresses concern about a man who’d fallen through a deck in Auckland, 12 months after a warning in an internal BIA memo,” says Mr English.
“Only after that did the BIA bother to alert the public to the danger.
“It‘s not surprising, given this culture of deceit, that homeowners have been afraid to register their concerns with the Government,” Mr English says.

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