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Brownlee is dragging Canterbury down

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, April 8th, 2016 - 84 comments
Categories: accountability, christchurch earthquake, Gerry Brownlee, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

Top work Gerry, top work – Christchurch rebuild gets worst rating from Treasury

A second fail grade for Gerry Brownlee on the Christchurch central city rebuild has Labour renewing calls for him to step aside.

Treasury has given the project the worst possible rating, which means it’s failing to meet schedule, budget, or quality targets.

It’s the second report in a row from Treasury to give the central city rebuild a red mark.

It’s a mess and people know it – Petition for inquiry into Christchurch earthquake repairs presented to Andrew Little

Oh and thanks to the wonders of our poorly regulated building supplies much of the rebuild work that has gone on has used reinforcing steel with fake certification, that fails tests. A building time-bomb along with our other frequently crap building and plumbing supplies.

84 comments on “Brownlee is dragging Canterbury down”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Time CERA had a forensic audit – Gerry isn’t intrinsically honest.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Why is all this substandard work getting Council consents.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Now that is a very good question.

    • BM 2.2

      I blame Lianne Dalziel, she needs to be replaced.

      • Stuart Munro 2.2.1

        You would – but she’s not the one handing out candy to useless sacks of ambulant dog-tucker like Shipley.

      • Sabine 2.2.2

        and Gerry Brownlee? Does he need to be replaced?
        Or the National Government that overseas the re-build of CHCH? Needs replacing too?

        • Colonial Viper

          Brownlee doesn’t issue Council consents or Council compliance certificates for the substandard work done.

          • Sabine

            So essentially the Council is fucked either way, don’t issue Consents to build and compliance certificates because the work is not done properly, even when it is not clear that it is not done properly as with the Steel Mesh Certification, and be hung out to dry for ‘blocking housing getting build’
            or they are fucked because they are issuing compliance and then it comes to light that a company that issues ‘reinforced Steel Mesh’ is not up to task and is substandard and so on.

            Is the council also responsible for the companies that do carry out the substandard work? Or should the council refuse to sign of any and all houses that are substandard under any and all conditions?

            I have never build a house, and after years of following the leaky house syndrome and what not, would rather invite German or French builders to come and build my house here in NZ then ever use a local builder.

            What I would like to know, CV , instead again just your glib comment, is what do you want the Council to do to prevent substandard buildings and where does the government come into it? And does the Government carry any responsibility at all, and would you state the same if the Council of CHCH were run by a National Party Member Mayor?

            Again, just for clarification, i will never use a NZ builder, as they seem to be among the more dishonorable trades in NZ, cheap, cost cutting, often to the detriment of their customers.

            • BM

              Sabine, you moan about NZ a lot, why do you stay?

              • Sabine

                I have a business, i pay taxes, i employ people. Why do you want me to leave after all I am the dream of the National Party, Mum and Pop business people, soul of NZ, hart working honest n stuff 🙂

                But really that thing with the substandard building works is something that i don’t understand, and please believe me, I am no builder.

                the leaky building syndrome, now the steel mesh that is re-inforced but not, the substandard work, the companies that do substandard work but can’t be held accountable. That is what I have been hearing from people that have build over the last twenty years in NZ and what I don’t get is why do people a. use these materials, why do tradesmen/women use these materials, why do councils sign up on them. And what is the responsibility of the Government if at all is has any?

                Care to comment on that. Rather then telling me to leave?

            • Lanthanide

              Sabine, when it comes to things like the steel mesh, the only thing the council (and engineers) can do is rely on the certification to say it is a good product. If the certification is dodgy, that’s (generally) not the council’s fault.

              Garbage in, garbage out.

              I think CV was more talking about signing off residential repair jobs, where it’s possible to inspect the engineering paperwork, and the final completed work, and check that they match each other, and that the engineering paperwork is sufficient and correct for the repair necessary.

              • Sabine

                Ahhh, ok that makes sense.

                I just sometimes don’t get how building in NZ works. Fact, i think there is nothing scarier in NZ then building a house.

              • pat

                The Fletchers EQR repairs performed for EQC were never inspected by the CCC inspectors….Fletchers and EQC received a global exemption from the govt appointed chief building officer appointed to the CCC.
                The CCC can be said to be complicit on that basis but not for the inspections (not done) per se.

              • Foreigne waka

                is it steel…hmmm made in china? You do know that the NZ steel is used around the world to avoid just that…

                • Lanthanide

                  Most of it is imported from China in one way or another, either completed products or steel that is then processed into finished goods in NZ. But not all of it is Chinese.

                  Also in principal there’s nothing wrong with Chinese building products in general; they can be just as good as German or Japanese products (for instance). It’s just that a lot of the *cheap* Chinese stuff isn’t – that’s why it’s cheap.

            • r0b

              I understand the nervousness about working with a builder, but just for the record, there are good ones out there. I have been very fortunate in this respect, worked with a great builder (and a great guy) on my 2 projects.

              • vto

                We work in this large realm.

                The number of shonky builders in Chch is sky-high.

                These issues will continue for years.

                • vto

                  and when I say “shonky builders” that means from the top down i.e. Fletchers and the like. . . not restricted to the newbie in town with a new ute with a sticker on the side

            • JonL

              When I was working as an inspector, if it complied with building code, and I couldn’t find a legitimate reason to fail poor workmanship, I had to pass it. But, I made damn sure the owner and the builder knew my opinions on the workmanship and I also noted it on file – and so did about half the other inspectors. As for the rest………? And NZ builders were better than most – those from the sub continent were usually the shonkiest…….

        • BM

          I think Dalziel and Brownlee are doing the best they can and should be left to get on with it.

          Last thing the rebuild needs is no nothing numpties like Andrew Little sticking his oar in.

          • Stuart Munro

            I’m sure that Brownlee is doing the best he can – the man would be challenged by a job as a doorstop.

          • And you, the ignoramus one.

            What is your claim to fame ?
            Andrew Little would be more clued up than you will ever be.

            • BM

              Andrew Little couldn’t find his arse with both hands and a arse map.
              Worst Labour Leader ever, even makes Cunliffe look good and that takes some beating.

              • Stuart Munro

                That’s an endorsement; the vile and slavering sycophantic trolls of the far right hate and fear him.

                $120 billion better than Key without lifting a finger.

                • Sabine

                  oh they really don’t like Andrew Little now?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Can’t fault his policy or his actions – so they go to smeary stuff. It’s natural to the likes of BM – trying to conflate the issues of Brownlee’s corruption, his non-performance, and his obstructionism with their projected fears of whomsoever leads a party that offers a better alternative – even Colin Craig or that muppet Seymour would do a better job than Gerry.

              • gnomic

                Does BM stand for bowel movement? Get help from a qualified medical professional. You are unbalanced.

                • David H

                  I thought it was more like Bullshit Man. Because he sure does spread a lot of it around when talking about Andrew Little.

    • Sabine 2.3

      Do the consent come before or after the work is done?

      • Roflcopter 2.3.1

        1) Consent is required to start the work.

        2) Dependent on extent of work, generally a few interim inspections / sign-offs / remedial orders given during the work process.

        3) Code of Compliance Certificate issued after the job is “supposedly” completed “properly”

        All 3 are local council responsibilities.

      • Foreigne waka 2.3.2

        Sabine, consent might not be the issue but material most likely is. For a person unfamiliar with any difference, a pipe looks like a pipe. But it could be from 2nd tier plastics or even just sheer cheep rubbish – an average person would not know.
        I belief that the homeowner should be able to work like those large companies currently do, keep a retention for a set period of time that would under normal use or weather conditions show its worth. In fact I would go that far as to say it should be 50% retention, paid ahead by insurers and kept in an account accessible to the home owner once all works are signed off as now being the liability of the building owner with his/her consent.
        As it is at the moment, the large companies are keeping the small contractor waiting which forces them to work fast and cheep to get their money to pay their tradies and feed their children. A rort really. But ALL politician s so far have chickened out on that important point.
        You wouldn’t get away with this in a regulated environment like many European countries and what more with a work ethic that is ingrained to deliver A1 work.
        The houses here are mere sheds in comparison what builders in other countries are able to deliver.

    • Roflcopter 2.4

      It’s not the consent that’s the issue, it’s the interim inspections, and final code of compliance checking.

  3. ianmac 3

    My nephew discovered that there was no audit of the repairs done to his Mum’s house. And no audit for purchase of materials.

    • Sabine 3.1

      can you clarify this for me, why would anyone audit the materials purchased?

      • Roflcopter 3.1.1

        To ensure the products are to NZ Standards…. certificates of certain products have to also be supplied to local council as part of the final sign-off before code of compliance is given.

        • Sabine

          so who does the audit? The council? And how does that effect the person building?

          If I buy concrete or wood or any other building materials at any of hte hardware stores i would have to assume that it is certified and audited before entering NZ, or being made available for sale to the public (if the product is NZ produced)? That is what you are saying? Then how can it not be certified?

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.2

        There is also the issue of padding bills – invoicing for materials never used is one of the easiest rorts around.

      • ianmac 3.1.3

        Example Sabine. House holder will pay for wall insulation while gib board is off. Contractor purchase Batts at trade price but charges retail price plus 15%. Householder queries this only to find that no audit is done on any of the materials purchased. Householder then buys own batts at retail price in protest.

        • sabine

          Hang on, trying to understand this.

          The contractor skims a profit of the wholesale price.
          householder goes to query the price, and then finds out that the materials purchased by the builders is not NZ Standard?
          then Houeholder goes and buys batts at retail price at lets say Mitre 10 (or something like that) but they then are NZ Standard?

          How can the builder buy non NZ Standard. should the certification of NZ Standard not done before importing the product or before offering the product for sale in NZ?

          I can understand the skimming of a profit, while not smart certainly not illegal. But would the purchasing of Non standard batts not be illegal and in itself be a criminal activity?

          • ianmac

            I said nothing about the standard. Just ordinary pink batts. It was an example of how the contractors ripped off the customers. Illegal? Buyer beware though customers would not normally be aware.

  4. Bob 4

    I am not based in Christchurch, and only really get my information around the goings-on down there from the MSM, but there seems to be a massive disconnect between the reports that come out, the coverage from the area, and (based on the last election results) the felling amongst the people.

    The vast majority of stories I seem to hear are around the incompetence of National and Gerry Brownlee in the re-build, can anyone give me an insight as to how or why National increased both their Party and Electorate votes in Chch from 2011 – 2014?

    • Bribes Bob.

      Don’t you remember the promise before the last election ?
      Tax Cuts.
      And just who got the benefit if that, oh yea, that’s right.

      The rich.

      • Bob 4.1.1

        “Don’t you remember the promise before the last election ? Tax Cuts.”
        I remember them saying they will look to cut taxes in 2016/17 if they can afford it, but there were no details of tax cuts at the last election.
        Plus, surely if the Chch rebuild was so bad, the offer of maybe getting a tax cut possibly in three years time would not be enough to sway voters.

        “And just who got the benefit if that, oh yea, that’s right. The rich.”
        Not sure how you can say that, when details of potential future tax cuts haven’t been released yet. Unless you are talking about the 2010 tax cuts, in which case that has no bearing on the 2014 election as that was before the earthquakes even happened.

        • Macro

          No worries Bob – Bill has just got $350 mill from the sale of Kiwi Bank – so you can have a tax cut. 🙂

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      It’s a complete mystery to me why National did as well as they did at the 2014 election in Christchurch.

      • Bob 4.2.1

        Thanks Lanth, I’m glad I’m not the only one.

        The closest thing I had been given to an answer was the change in electoral boundaries, but that would only affect the Electorate votes, it would not explain the increase in party support.

      • Sabine 4.2.2

        two things: a. not rattle the boat and change the captain mid – direction.
        b. greed. those that had their payouts, homes etc etc literally voted to keep taxes low and houseprices high as this is were their ‘rich’ very coming from.

        One of my customers has three mortgages, two kids, and is stressed beyond believe. IF she or her husband falls ill, looses a job, or if a kid falls ill, any big repairs on any of the houses and they are underwater.
        She voted National to not have to deal with a Capital Gains tax.

        If anything changes economically or financially world wide, she and her family is in a world of hurt should she not be able to flip her properties for a profit. That is almost 2 – 3 millions in Mortgage debt.

      • Drum 4.2.3

        Unfortunately Labour wasn’t seen as a viable alternative. At the time of the election many Christchurch people were experiencing high levels of anxiety. ..so change was a step too far.

  5. Xanthe 5

    The christchurch council was directly responsible for the cctv deaths. No one should have been in that building at the time of second earthquake. This was the responsibility of council. How have they avoided accountability.

  6. greywarshark 6

    George Carlin has something to say about politicians and voting – or not.
    It’s wonderful how he can dump on everyone and they will still clap and cheer for him, because I guess they think they are exceptions. Does he speak to you?

  7. AB 7

    Scams, shortcuts, ripping others off and then laughing at them behind their backs, looking after number one ahead of the public good – these are an ingrained part of kiwi culture.
    Neoliberalism’s 30+ year grip on the nation’s psyche, and a typically corrupt National government give licence to these predilections and they flourish. But they were always there.

    Scott Hamilton:
    “New Zealand is a country founded by dodgy property speculators from some of England’s second-rate public schools on land seized from Maori by Celtic and Yorkshire soldier-settlers who were pushed out of their own whenua by enclosures and poverty, and who soon found themselves in hock to the same landlords and bankers that had bothered them back home.” (From http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=lazy+maori+idle)

    • Roflcopter 7.1

      Typical blah blah blah neo this, neo that, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

      • AB 7.1.1

        Really? You don’t think a people’s history and culture might give some clue as to how they’ll behave in the present?

        • Roflcopter


          What’s your point?

          • Stuart Munro

            In fact there are strong cultural correlations with different kinds of crimes.

            The Russian mafia, both at home and in the US have a preference for petrocrimes – perfected in the days of ripping off state oil companies and recreated abroad.

            Japanese football criminals disproportionately indulge in ticket scalping, whereas their German counterparts lean more to brawling and vandalism.

            The Gnats predilections are well known – land thefts, asset theft, abuse of government powers, fraud, tax-evasion and of course the usual ritual cannibalism, cattle mutilation and unspeakable acts that are normal with reptilian alien doppelgangers.

    • greywarshark 7.2

      I think that your points have everything to do with the subject at hand AB. You may know that Roflcopter is a RW and their m.o. is to scoff at anything they –
      1 Don’t understand,
      2 They do, but it makes them look bad, or
      3 Which don’t conform to the rosy PR picture they have of themselves and their offsiders.

      And Brownlee conforms to the actively upwardly mobile colonial-times-type, prepared to push ahead in his role in the most personally advantageous way he can, whether that means the people lower down get their fair share in a way that is timely for them, or not.

  8. Sacha 8

    And not only does Treasury have CERA’s projects on red, but they haven’t even managed to spend all their budget: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1604/S00143/106-million-underspent-on-canterbury.htm

    Clownery led by a blustering nincompoop.

  9. Keith 9

    Selling assets cos we are broke, fake certifications, dodgy steel reinforcing, failing to meet schedule, budget, or quality targets, tax havens, money laundering. Yep, just another week in Nationals brighter future.

  10. gristle 10

    The other day I saw an invoice from an electrical company. It showed the retail price of materials used on the job and then a ten percent discount applied because they were a good customer. After just one phone call I found that the trade price for this item was 15% of the retail price and they pocketed 75% of the materials charged as profit. Not bad when the materials bill came to $5500.

    Some situations builders and tradesmen make too much on specific items. The Fletcher empire and Winston are some of the real culprits as to why it costs so much to build here. We have a limited range of suppliers providing a limited range of products with the attitude that they are doing the country a favour.

    • ropata 10.1

      +1 the government has too much invested in election bribes for the propertied class to allow anything resembling a free market in kiwi houses.

  11. pat 11


    The discussion around tradesmen skill level and charging practices while worthy are not the focus of the petition….rather the systemic disenfranchising of a substantial portion of Canterbury residents…the “losers” in the government’s quoted winners and losers….a misguided and often corrupt policy of this administration that will ultimately end up costing the taxpayers of NZ more than if they had acted with integrity from the start.

  12. weka 12

    So is the wire mesh substandard, or is it ok but the certificate is false?

    • pat 12.1

      still to be determined….the stuff that has failed has failed to meet the certified standard ,i.e. the certification is false but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not fit for purpose, or at least in some applications

      • weka 12.1.1

        Ok, so basically they don’t know without reviewing each job?

        • pat

          not exactly…it has failed a stretch test, by what margin I don’t know, but there is a safety factor in the engineers calculations with regard to SLS (service limit state) so it may well fall within that , also it is a question of risk..if its used in say the slab of a single level dwelling it is not a life threatening reduction in performance whereas in the structural element of a multi level structure it may be.

          It also raises uncomfortable questions about the certification of other reinforcing products

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      RNZ had a news report I think 2 weeks ago now, where they said that the mesh had been tested under the appropriate standard and failed.

      Steel and Tube have this week put out a stop-ship order to all of their distributors.

      So it sounds like:
      1. The mesh has had an invalid certificate for a number of years
      2. Mesh of recent manufacture that was tested failed to comply with the standard that the invalid certificate said that it did

      Whether or not the steel mesh products from 3-4 years ago also fail to comply with the standard is not publicly known at this point.

  13. Steve Withers 13

    All that “too expensive” regulation and compliance looks like value for money after wasting a few billion on dubious construction materials (never mind the cowboy shonky building work that is at least a part of almost everything built in any case).

    National…..home of the $11B leaky homes problem, too…never learns. NZ just can’t afford to have them in government.

    • Paul 13.1

      red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…red tape…political correctness gone mad…bureaucracy…

      And naive New Zealanders fell for those right wing memes.

      • weka 13.1.1

        The sad irony is that the regulations brought in after leaky homes has made it harder for people to build houses. It’s all paranoia, butt covering and money grubbing now.

  14. saveNZ 14

    Gerry wasn’t good at being a woodwork teacher, that is why he went into politics….

    His own personal vanity project, a city rebuilt to his specifications and ideology…

    Unfortunately shows how neoliberalism and cronyism really works in practise….. it doesn’t.

    Key and Brown, are lucky because they do all their frauds and magical projections on paper, therefore they can pretend it is all working, but poor Gerry, building is something anyone can see if it is there or not.

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