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More councils sign up to leaky homes deal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Maurice Williamson
Maurice Williamson

Wellington, May 28 NZPA - The Government's leaky homes package is finding support with local bodies, with Auckland City Council the latest to join up.

The Auckland council voted unanimously to support the package in principle last night, joining Christchurch City Council which also voted in favour yesterday. The North Shore, Waitakere, Manukau, Wellington and Christchurch city councils and the Rodney District Council have all voted this week in support.

Auckland city accounts for 40 percent of active watertight claims, while the others account for about 45 percent.

Under the package's terms, the Government and councils will each pay 25 percent of the cost of repairing leaky homes, with the owners paying the rest.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson welcomed the councils' support.

"Collectively, these councils comprise about 85 per cent of current active leaky home claims. Because of this, I'm confident we will have the critical mass of council support needed for the package to go ahead," he said last night.

Councils have been asked to respond to the Government's offer by May 31.

"While we don't expect all 76 territorial local authorities to have responded formally by that date, positive responses by the most affected councils will mean that the scheme can proceed. Other councils can opt in at a later stage if they wish," Mr Williamson said.

"Once we have local authority support, we can continue to work on the operational detail, but the support shown by the key most affected councils this week is a promising sign.

"It is hugely encouraging for the many thousands of affected homeowners who want to get their rotting homes repaired as quickly as possible."

The Government aims to have the new package up and running early next year.

In the meantime, affected homeowners can apply to the Department of Building and Housing to make a weathertight claim. If their claim is accepted, that 'stops the clock' on the 10-year limitation for claims.

Auckland deputy mayor David Hay told NZPA the agreement was a long time coming.

"The Government has come to the party and we appreciate that. I am sure the home owners will appreciate it too."

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said he supported the package as it presented a way forward and was an viable alternative option for home owners to litigation.

Home owners pursuing litigation found legal costs swallowed up any funds granted through the legal process, he said.

"This way, they still have the option for litigation, but should they choose the proposed option they would have a much greater element of certainty."

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