Monday, September 16, 2013

WCC: Placing lives at risk to protect landlords

115 people were killed when the CTV building collapsed during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The building was later found to have a deficient design and should never have been approved. 158 buildings around the country are thought to share this design flaw, 65 of them in Wellington. And now the Wellington City Council is refusing to release a list of them, on the basis that

would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information

Think about that for a moment. These buildings are so flawed they should never have been approved. They are murder in concrete. And the WCC thinks it is "unreasonable" for the people who live and work in them to be made aware of this. I can't think of a better example of privileging wealth over human life.

This is a clear misapplication of the law. It is not unreasonable to warn people of a risk to public safety. Further, there is clearly a substantial public interest in release, which does not appear to have been considered by WCC. The requester should appeal WCC's response to the Ombudsman.

[Hat-tip: FYI]