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Leaking Buildings and Empty Vessels

Published: Thu 19 Sep 2002 02:53 PM
Leaking Buildings and Empty Vessels
A Libertarianz spokesman observed today that "the so-called ‘leaky buildings crisis’ has brought forth more than just toxic mould, it has also brought us the spectacle of pious pontification from people who seek to advance their own interests through government action. And as the pontification increases, the actual evidence of there being rotting buildings all around us begins to look thinner and thinner."
Peter Cresswell, an Auckland architect and Libertarianz spokesman, says that in his opinion there has been far more heat than light generated on the so-called ‘leaking building crisis’. "We have seen naked self-interest from the media (in their beat-up of the so-called crisis); from consultant firms (who seek to gain work from a ‘crisis’ they helped to generate); and now from politicians like ACT’s Deborah Coddington, who seek to grandstand on an issue they know little or nothing about. This potpourri of pontification is unlikely to yield anything of value," says Cresswell, "and it certainly hasn’t so far."
Cresswell derides politicians like Coddington, who describes herself as "hard-wired for liberty" yet in recent weeks has called for more regulation for the airline industry, more regulation for the dairy industry, and now demands further action from the government to investigate the building industry. "These grand-standing politicians will grab any issue that’s going, no matter the veracity of the issue," observes Cresswell. "It’s no wonder people look at the ACT Party and say: ‘If that’s liberty, I’ll have none of it!’"
He also questions the qualifications and competence of the authors of the report into leaking buildings. "Don Hunn and David Kernohan question the level of qualifications in the building industry," notes Cresswell, "yet it must be asked how a background in the bureaucracy (former State Services Commission head Don Hunn) or as Dean of a second-rate architecture school (David Kernohan) can possibly qualify these gentlemen to understand either the free-wheeling dynamics of the building industry or the science of construction."
"’The issue is huge,’ gush Hunn, Kernohan and co-author Ian Bond . Yet in the next breath," says Cresswell, "they admit that 'it is difficult to know the [actual] extent of the problem' and suggest that ‘further inquiry is needed’. Their evidence is thin and unrepresentative, and speculation abounds throughout the report. This is not science; it is politics at work. These gentlemen would no doubt like to keep their snouts in the trough a little longer, and ‘further inquiry’ will allow them to do that."
Cresswell says more could be achieved if "the politicians and bureaucrats departed from the issue so that those people who do have actual, real problems could get on with solving them unencumbered by time-wasting and expensive speculation."

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