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Council no idea how many illegal consents issued - Williamson

Building and Housing Minister Maurice Williamson has told TV One’s Q+A programme that Christchurch City Council has no idea how many illegal building consents were issued or even how far back the problems stem.

He told political editor Corin Dann that it could go back further than prior to the earthquakes.

“Don’t think we’re talking hundreds of thousands, but we’re talking a big number. We don’t know what that is,” the minister says.

He added that the council’s managers were in denial about the problem.

“I’m talking about management right through, right from senior management through to people running the consenting operation. They, sort of, were almost in denial. They never even notified the mayor or the council that they’d been given a notice from IANZ: ‘We’re going to withdraw your accreditation.’”

Council insurance cancelled
Yesterday Riskpool, the council's insurer canceled its cover from 1 July, leaving the council open to any liability if it's negligent in granting building consents.

Corporate and Finance Committee chair Helen Broughton says the council is seeking urgent legal advice over the weekend to establish what the ramifications are.

She says if the council has to pay reparations to a property owner in full, it could affect ratepayers.

Riskpool chairman Jim Palmer says it may backdate the cancellation and stop coverage from a date earlier than 1 July, but it needs more information before making a decision.

The council’s CEO, Tony Marryatt, is on leave and the city’s mayor, Bob Parker, has said he will not stand for re-election in local body elections this year.

Christchurch City Council loses its building consents accreditation on July 8 after IANZ (International Accreditation NZ) found the council granted consents that are potentially dangerous.

A Crown manager will be appointed by this coming Thursday to run the consents department. The manager is expected to stay on as long as up until December next year.

Watch the full interview here.

Comments and questions
5

Perhaps all the bartenders, waiters and waitresses of the Christchurch local bars and restaurants may shade some light....or will it be a breach of NZ Privacy Laws.

This culture is not unique to Christchurch. Darn near any council in the country (especially Auckland) suffer from delusions of competence. If as much effort went into consent knowledge and compliance and maybe even back to the days of actual clerks of work being onsite darned near always instead we have reams of paper and time on saving skinks, snails and what native tree can be removed or planted according to todays fashion.

The Christchurch Muppet show continues - even though the chief Muppets are gone!

Same here in Auckland - complete Muppets.

After more than 40 years as a practicing architect I have yet to see any value added by any local authority.
As they themselves admit, today they should just be record keepers.
But at least it keeps some deadheads off the dole.