Episode 32: November 03 | FAIR GO | TV ONE | tvnz.co.nz [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Episode 32: November 03
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More flaking roofs
Reporter: Greg Boyed

More complaints come into Fair Go about Karaka green Colorsteel roofs. 

In last week's story, four unhappy Colorsteel customers complained about their flaking Karaka Green roofs. The product's maker New Zealand Steel came to the party.
All the roofs were within the fifteen year warranty so New Zealand Steel said all the roof owners were entitled to a re-roof, which is what the roof owners had been battling for (in some cases for up to eight months).

The owners were happy, and New Zealand Steel was happy to meet its warranty obligations. Their warranty states that if there is flaking roof it will automatically be re-roofed within five years, and a re-paint or re-roof at New Zealand Steel's sole option after that...until 15 years.

What New Zealand Steel may not have predicted is the near one hundred customers from around New Zealand who wrote in after seeing the show saying their roofs had done the same thing. These problems relate to the same period as our last story...roofs that are around seven years or older.

A lot of consumers who wrote in fell into two categories.
Those who had been offered and in some cases accepted a re-paint but weren't happy with that solution.
And those who didn't want to hear about a re-paint but were battling for a new roof.

Fair Go spoke to home owners in Auckland, Christchurch, Masterton and the Hibiscus Coast who had flaking roofs. Some had agreed to a re-paint, but say the re-roofing option was what they really wanted. Others made it perfectly clear they'd settle for nothing less than a new roof.

While New Zealand Steel came in to discuss the first story and first four roofs, they were unwilling to come back this week. They maintained there was nothing new and Fair Go didn't need to do a story as nothing had changed...and they were fixing the problem.

What had changed was that there were now dozens and dozens of cases right around the country.

The complaint from most roof owners who are experiencing flaking is that while NZ Steel is offering to re-paint, that's not what they paid for when they bought the roofs or moved into the homes with the roofs still under warranty.

New Zealand Steel says since the first story ran it contacted all the home owners within twenty four hours. It's reviewed the process for dealing with the issue to speed it up and it remains committed to honour its warranty. It also maintains the re-painting option has been very successful for consumers but claim that wasn't represented during the first story on their flaking roofs.

NZ Steel says it's sent out more information to consumers outlining and clarifying the re-painting process. All the complaints Fair Go has received will be passed on to New Zealand Steel.

Landslide fear
Reporter: Hannah Wallis

Three years ago, Thomas and Eva Kaminski bought a house in the hills of Waitakere City, west of Auckland - it was steep country - but the couple's LIM (Land Information Memorandum) from the Council indicated that their house and the land in front of it were not in the "stability sensitive' zone. Shortly after moving in, they noticed that the fence alongside their driveway seemed to tilt down the slope - they called out a Council engineer, who said there was nothing to worry about.

Then in May this year - torrential rains - and a large slip came down in the bank directly beneath and in front of the Kaminskis steep driveway.  Worried about further slipping so close to their driveway - which in turn is right up against the house - the Kaminskis got onto their insurers, who put them onto the Earthquake Commission. (EQC cover is part of the Kaminski's insurance policy, where property has been affected by natural slips and other disasters.)

Because the couple put in a claim with the EQC to stabilize the slip, the Commission organised a geotechnical engineer's report and a boundary inspection. The engineer said the slip was likely to get worse within a year and would probably undermine the Kaminiski's retaining walls and driveway. He said the edge of the slip already came to within 2 metres of the driveway, and described the risk of further slipping as "imminent". The solution - a retaining wall costing around $40,000.

Problem is - the slip isn't actually on the Kaminski's land - it's on Council road reserve land  - and because the EQC only covers residential  land it wouldn't pay to fix the slip - it turned the Kaminskis claim down.

The couple went back to Waitakere Council which said: "there is nothing in common law which requires lower land to provide support to higher land". And Council said that this was a natural slip, not caused by anything Council had done,  therefore "Council does not accept that it has a legal liability" to fix the slip.

Thomas and Eva say that's ridiculous, they say this is a safety and health issue for themselves, for the neighbouring property, and for the property across the road.

They say that as house owners they acted responsibly and insured themselves against damage like this - protecting themselves and their neighbours. If this had happened on their land, say the Kaminskis, the problem would have already been fixed, Why, they ask, isn't Council protecting them, the same way they would be protecting Council?

Waitakere City Council's response to Fair Go was to reiterate that it was not liable - and that to spend $40,000 of ratepayers money in this way would be unlawful. Council asked whether fixing the slip: "would open the floodgates for a whole city-full of speculative claims that in the next heavy rain, someone's drive might wash away?"

The Council argued that the Kaminskis must provide a legal opinion as to why Council should fix the slip - that is, get a lawyer - and only once Council had that legal opinion were they prepared to discuss and explore the matter further. Council suggests if the couple can't afford a lawyer - maybe Fair Go could provide them with a legal opinion?

The WCC response also stated that Council is under no legal obligation to provide access from the roadway to the property's front boundary, and that instead of Council being liable, the "geophysical facts" might show that the Kaminskis might be liable.
Fair Go believes that instead of speculating, Council be looking at the EQC's report of "imminent risk"  - and getting their own report done if they disagree. Why Council was insisting on lawyers is beyond us. Simply put, this slip is on Council property. It's right next to a road, used by the public. An independent expert says a bigger slip isn't too far away. The solution is a retaining wall, on Council land. Shouldn't Council be acting out of concern for public safety?

The last thing the Kaminskis want - when a big slip hits - is  to be putting in a claim for hundreds of thousands of dollars to their insurers - and possibly then on to Waitakere City Council - and saying to Council: "see, I told you so".

We are trying to broker a meeting between Council,  the Kaminskis and the other affected neighbours - without lawyers. We'll let you know how we get on.

Moving problems
Reporter: Mary-Jane Aggett

It can be one of the most stressful times of your life...but nothing prepared Rebecca Harris and Jenny Jarvis for moving house. A Christchurch company called Moving Solutions ended up giving them moving problems.

Rebecca Harris and her mum Barbara put their things in storage with Moving Solutions in March while they looked for a new house. When they went to get them out in June it was a big mess.
"Everything was water damaged, ruined, stunk of mildew, things were missing - other people's stuff was with ours, stuff had been gone through - it was just a chaotic mess," says Barbara.

Across Christchurch in Kaiapoi, Jenny Jarvis, was also having problems with Moving Solutions. She was only moving 4km down the road and got Moving Solutions to move the heavy items - but she says her things were damaged. She says they dented her fridge, dropped the buffet and ripped her couches.

Barbara and Rebecca paid Graham Daly from Moving Solutions about $450 for the initial move and storage, but they didn't pay the final bill - instead they gave him their own bill. The cost of replacing or restoring their things came to more than $6,000.

Fair Go tried to get hold of Graham Daly from Moving Solutions. Everyone we spoke to says he moved overseas months ago. Moving Solutions was struck off the companies register at the end of July. 

A new moving company called Relocationz was set up in April and bought the trucks off Moving Solutions. They say they are not liable.

But Jenny Jarvis has taken a case against them to the Disputes Tribunal.

The New Zealand Overseas Movers Association advises people to get insurance when moving, but also to make sure you get a certificate from the insurer - that way if the moving company goes under you're still covered.

If you've signed no contract whatsoever, the Carriage of Goods Act can come in to play. Under this Act, the Carrier is liable for damage or loss up to a limit of $1500 for each unit of goods.

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