Government Assistance for Leaky Home Owners

  • Maurice Williamson
Building and Construction

"An assistance package for leaky home owners will be taken to Cabinet early in the New Year," Maurice Williamson, Minister for Building and Construction said today.

"Our priority is getting leaky homes repaired. Too much money has been spent on lawyers and not enough on actually fixing the rotten homes," Mr Williamson said.

"I had hoped this package would include a contribution from the territorial local authorities, but they have advised me today that this is not possible. While this is disappointing, the Government believes that local authorities have a key role to play, and the door remains open for them to be part of the solution.

"Our priority is to bring together a package that helps people fix their homes. This Government understands the frustration of leaky home owners who have waited ten years or more for assistance - the majority of those affected have found it impossible to access finance to make repairs.

"The previous Labour Government refused to get involved during the years of very large financial surpluses. Compare that to the current economic climate, when the National-led Government is running a significant deficit and borrowing $240 million a week. Despite this, we are not prepared to wait any longer," Mr Williamson said.

Talks with local government had centred on councils making a fixed percentage contribution to repair costs, with the government underwriting the remainder as a bank loan and offering subsidised interest rates. The direct contribution to repairs from councils would have been offered to claimants in lieu of litigation.

"This solution would have provided an alternative for many people, removing many of the barriers that leaky home owners currently face to getting finance for repairs. Those who wished to pursue litigation would still have had that option.

"Central government has no legal liability for this issue. Nevertheless, we will act," Mr Williamson said.