A few questions for Maurice Wimpianson
While you’re sitting on your fence holding your head in your hands, Maurice, over the huge leaky homes bill for which ratepayers are potentially liable, why not contemplate this. You propose changes to the Building Act “that include a guarantee regime” [something you’ve announced several times already without looking like getting any closer to doing it].
“The guarantee or warranty would have a surety holder behind it [you say], so if something goes wrong a claim can be made against the relevant party [i.e., the insurer].
So you’re proposing an insurance regime, Maurice, said to cost each potential home-builder another $5000 on top of all the thousands of dollars they’re already charged before they can get started, while still maintaining the failed council inspectorate that levies all those charges.
Does that make any sense?
- At a time when everyone is trying to get the cost of new homes down, why on earth would you add a new cost to home-builders for what is (at least in theory) just a duplication of what is already being done?
- And if the insurance regime isn’t just a duplication of what councils are already doing, does that mean the existing council inspection regime is inadequate—as the evidence would strongly suggest? An insurance regime that is all but an admission that the current building regime doesn’t work.
- But why on earth would any case would insurers want to get involved in the system as you propose, unless they can charge like a wounded bull for all the unknown liabilities the duplication of effort is likely to load onto them?
- Doesn’t this duplication just make the chain of responsibility even more muddy than it is now? Who will know who is responsible for what – council or insurers? Who will know who pays when stuff goes wrong – ratepayers or insurers? Who will know who exactly has final responsibility – council or insurers? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make the chain of responsibility completely transparent by removing one of these two from your regime altogether?
- And since ratepayers are already potentially liable for those $11.5 billion or more (by virtue of the Building Act that your government brought in, Maurice), wouldn’t it make more sense to remove the one that’s already demonstrably failed?
- In fact, why leave ratepayers in the gun at all? If you’re going to talk “warranty,” then wouldn’t it make sense to remove the risk from ratepayers altogether by simply sheeting home responsibility to insurers completely?
- Wouldn’t this be manifestly simpler all round?
- In other words, why keep insisting that councils do a job it’s now abundantly clear they’re not suited for, when if you let the grey ones get out of the way insurance companies can do what they do best: setting and maintaining standards; insuring against risk; and spreading the risk around properly, at no risk at all to ratepayers.
Take your head out of your hands, Maurice, and have a think about it. Because if you do, you’ll realise it would remove a lot of your other headaches too.