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Nov 12: FACTual Fiasco

Published: 3:50PM Wednesday November 12, 2008

FACTual Fiasco
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt

Traicy-lee Cranston and her partner Chris Field wanted Traicy's 84 year old great grandmother to come and live with them in Hamilton.  They got the money together to convert the garage to a sleepout for Nana Verna, build a shed, and paint the house.   But $40,000 later, it's all turned horribly wrong.

They hired a company called FACT - Fathers and Children's Trust Ltd.  Hamilton man Steven Kirby is the Director.  He did the house painting - appallingly badly.   Building consultant Noel Jellyman says he's never seen a worse job.  Most remarkably, Kirby painted the doors and windows by simply spraying all over them, leaving the house in darkness.  Most of the paint was scraped off a couple of weeks later, but the textured glass front door is ruined.

The storage shed is unconsented and will probably have to be demolished, and work never even started on converting the garage to a sleepout, because it would have been illegal.

Guttering wasn't re-attached so the site flooded, and on top of all that, the site was left in a shocking state, strewn with rubbish.

Traicy and Chris have had to pay out more money just to get the property safe, and they'll probably have to get it entirely repainted because FACT's job was so poor. And Nana is now living in a care home.

Steven Kirby admits to Fair Go the job is "more than a piece of crap" but he claims he was working on the instructions of his clients.  He's not fixed the work, hasn't paid any money back, and blames the builder for everything that's gone wrong.  Fair Go is looking for good Waikato trades people to offer a helping hand to this unfortunate couple.

Not in the Navy
Reporter:  Ruwani Perera

From the age of 14 Layton Fraser dreamt of joining the Royal New Zealand Navy and last year, after finishing school, his dream was realised.

It wasn't an easy or short process - fewer than 15 candidates make the cut.  Layton had to get good grades and there were interviews, security and medical tests to pass.  So Layton studied hard to get the good marks at school and applied to become a Junior Naval Officer in July 2007.

Three months after applying Layton got the good news, selected not only as a Junior Officer, but the Navy were also going to pay for his University studies, something they do for only a few top candidates.

It was a big deal for Layton, a big decision but it was something he wanted and dreamt of so he felt confident in doing it, no second thoughts.

As part of the application process Layton had to fill out an initial medical questionnaire, where he stated he had an allergy to nuts.  In July 2005, when Layton was 15, he discovered he had the allergy after eating a Snickers bar and breaking out in a rash.  He was taken to Thames Emergency Department but did not have an anaphylactic shock, nor was he given a dose of adrenaline.

In October 2007 Layton got the good news, he'd been accepted, to start in January 2008.

But days after he officially joined, Layton's dreams were thrown overboard - he was released from the Navy because they said he hadn't declared his allergy to nuts.  But his nut allergy was declared. Layton told the Navy about his condition right at the start of his application, and the medical notes he supplied to them stated he tested positive to nuts.

To get in to the Navy you have to pass three medical tests - the final one's the big one, but forget any images of full exams and navy doctors - these days it's a questionnaire.  A local GP of the Navy's choice goes through a list of 50 questions with you.  It asks whether you have high blood pressure, a heart condition, if you wet the bed, or if you sleepwalk.  But there are no questions about allergies.. nut or otherwise.  Layton had already declared his allergy; he had no reason to declare it again.

The last question "do you suffer from any other medical conditions?" might have caught the answer, but the GP didn't fill that one out and Layton doesn't remember him asking it.

The Navy apologise for not picking up his allergy in his first application, but say Layton needs to take some responsibility for the situation.

The Navy believed Layton's allergy was serious and they say he couldn't go to sea for his own safety.  The Navy's saying that Layton told them that he had received adrenaline on two occasions and that indicated an anaphylactic reaction, an attack on your airways that can kill you.  The Navy also claim he was once hospitalised by his nut allergy.  

Layton says he was never hospitalised, his only allergic reaction was an unexplained rash after eating a peanut chocolate bar. At the time he was given antihistamines and an allergy test, which was positive to nuts.

As a precaution he was prescribed an EPI pen to carry around - they allow people to give themselves a shot of adrenaline in an emergency. He's never had to use it.

The Navy says that the EPI pen, and a medic alert bracelet Layton wears, show that his allergy was severe.
Not so, according to his GP, they're just precautionary. The Navy have never spoken to Layton's GP.

Personalised Plates
Reporter: Kevin Milne

Justine Gunn of Motueka wrote to us that she'd bought a car with personalised plates, but lost one of the. She called LTNZ about getting a replacement. After doing a check they came back saying the plates weren't hers. This despite the fact they accepted she owned the car and the plates came with the car.

She rang the police. Even they were flabbergasted. She wanted to know what was going on.

This is the answer: Personalised plates are different to standard plates, in that if you own a personalised plate, you own the rights to the letter/number combination on it.

So, if you're buying personalised plates, even when they come on a car you're purchasing, you have to complete an agreement to legally transfer the personalised plates from the previous owner. In other words, unlike standard plates, personalised plates on cars are on-sold separately to the car itself.

Turned out, the personalised plates on the car Justine bought had never been officially transferred on with the car, going right back several owners. So although she legally owned the car, she didn't legally own the plates.

That's why the LTNZ couldn't immediately authorise a new plate be made till they were sure there was no dispute with the authorised owner. This can take up to three months. Actually, once we got onto it, the matter was sorted out almost straight away, and Justine already has her new plates.

So if you're buying or selling personalised plates - remember, to separately change ownership of them, using the right form. To download that form and learn what to do with it afterwards, go here:


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