1 Aug 2019

Liquidated plumbing company owes IRD more than $1m

6:43 pm on 1 August 2019

A plumbing company that installed the wrong pipes at Christchurch Hospital owes Inland Revenue more than $1 million.

The new Acute Services Building at Christchurch Hospital.

The new Acute Services Building at Christchurch Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

The first liquidator's report into Australian-owned PHP NZ Limited shows IRD is claiming $1.1m in overdue PAYE and GST, and about 30 unsecured creditors another $600,000.

There are another 14 secured creditors.

Four ex-employees have lodged preferential claims for $18,000 in leave entitlements.

It remained unclear what assets there were, the liquidators, KPMG, said.

"Despite numerous requests, the liquidators have only received limited books and records from the company's former directors. We have attempted to contact the current director but have yet to receive a response."

PHP used pipes not approved by the engineer at the massive acute-care hospital project, adding to delays and cost over-runs at the build beside Hagley Park.

The non-compliant plastic and stainless steel pipes are being replaced.

"The former directors stated that the ... business failed as a result of the head contractor's failure to pay the variation claims under the contract," the report said.

The head contractor, giant Australian builder CPB, "advised that the variation claims had not been approved", an apparent reference to the client, the Ministry of Health, not approving them.

PHP also worked on the new convention centre in Christchurch, but its contract was terminated before it was placed in liquidation.

Retention payments at the convention centre were being held by the lead contractor and should be available to PHP once the centre was signed off, KPMG said.

PHP employees at the hospital had transferred to another company Hanlon Plumbing.

The liquidators are continuing to investigate if there are any other claims.

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