Thursday, October 07, 2010

National's new leaky home crisis

Back in the 90's, the loony free market ideologues in the National Party downgraded building standards in the name of "cutting red tape ". According to them, the market would ensure quality, so there was no need to regulate. The result was the leaky homes crisis: unliveable buildings, people losing their primary assets, and an $11 billion (or maybe twice that) public liability hanging over our heads.

You would think that after that the government would have learned its lesson about the dangers of deregulation. But you'd be wrong. The ideologues are back at it, proposing to weaken building standards again, all in the name of cost-cutting and deregulation of course.

The consultation document is here. The core proposal is to reduce the standard of treatment required for internal timber framing in houses. According to my engineering friends, it is a Very Bad Idea. But hey, the building industry wants to make some quick profits by building substandard buildings. And their purpose-created development companies will have long since been wound up before the bill comes due.