5 Mar 2018

National suggests EQC consider suing Fletcher

From Checkpoint, 5:21 pm on 5 March 2018

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) should sue Fletcher Building if there's compelling evidence the contractor was responsible for a large number of botched post-earthquake repairs, National's EQC spokesperson Stuart Smith says.

Mr Smith said after the quakes a repair programme for quake-damaged houses was put in place which was managed by Fletchers through their contractors.

There were 180,000 rapid assessments done in the two months after the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011, and it was now evident some of those repairs were not up to standard, he said.

Checkpoint with John Campbell revealed last week that half of the nearly 3000 cases EQC is still dealing with are re-repairs.

Court action is a possibility for those who purchased a house which EQC told them had been fully repaired, but which had not been, Mr Smith told Checkpoint.

"Now the liability will lie with Fletchers and how they recover that from their contractors if they do, that will be over to them."

EQC had an arrangement for the managed repairs through Fletchers and they hired them to do work, Mr Smith said.

"If it's not up to standard and didn't meet what was paid for then there's recourse through the courts for that."

Stuart Smith Kaikōura MP

National's EQC spokesperson Stuart Smith said he assumed liability issues for quake repairs would end up in the courts. Photo: Supplied / National Party

An Auditor-General's report said that none of the bidders for the project management services were willing to accept liability for substandard repair work.

Mr Smith said he assumed the issue would end up in court and that liability issues would be sorted out in the courts.

"If you contract anyone to do something and they don't meet their contractual obligation, then whether they've accepted liability or not, the courts will assign liability and recover the costs."

Mr Smith said he would absolutely expect EQC to pursue Fletchers in court if there was a large amount of substandard repair work.