Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Unitec project: Something new, with a rolling start

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  • Tom Semmens,

    Farrar and Hooton appear to be determined to prove Joseph Goebbels dictim that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

    I am staggered at their bare faced lying over the density issue. They just keep repeating their lie as a zombie fact, despite having the stupidity of their argument repeatedly pointed out to them.

    I don’t get the right wing position on this. They largely lost the election on their failure in housing, yet their response to any initiative is Trumpian levels of lies and falsehoods. What is going on?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    What is going on?

    It used to work, and they haven't yet adjusted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10522 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Neil,

    if this money could have been better off being spent on health and education - to the benefit of many more.

    I've heard people from both health and education sectors say that if it was possible they'd probably get better outcomes in health and education by building quality homes for people rather than building schools or hospitals.

    There was some hyperbole in those comments but it does seem true that really good housing plays a huge role in successful education and health outcomes.

    One of the problems we have is that we tend to run these sectors in isolation when we know they all have impacts across all sectors. I don't think there is a perfect answer but I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of building good homes having pretty positive impacts for health and education.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Do you know what I think? The Government could start buying properties in the newly zoned higher rise zones around places like Avondale, and achieve the same sorts of new build dwellings, but they would be peppered into already established suburbs. they would Then government might then be less compulsion to say mixed rich and poor. Sorry, I meant to say upper and higher middle class, affordable housing.

    The project does look a bit like Hobsonville, just saying.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3976 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One of the problems we have is that we tend to run these sectors in isolation when we know they all have impacts across all sectors. I don’t think there is a perfect answer but I’m pretty comfortable with the idea of building good homes having pretty positive impacts for health and education.

    It’s a difficult juggling act. We should at least have the complete picture of what money is being spent.

    It’s probably not quite what you were referring to but the issues of building quality are going to have a major impact on the government’s plans.

    We’re only just beginning to seeing the tip of the problem building iceberg in the public and private sector. And it’s not just a legacy of poor building practices and incompetant council oversight from 20 years ago, it’s still going on but everyone is in denial.

    Middlemore Hospital – everyone was in denial of the true extent of the problem. And there’s plenty more buildings like that that aren’t being talked about.

    It’s a steamroller of financial destruction. National largely ignored the problem but Labour also chose not to listen to people who knew the true extent of the disaster.

    Not only are we faced with trying to build at a greater rate we still have to deal with building problems from the past and don’t have any guarantees that present construction will be any better.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    It used to work, and they haven't yet adjusted.

    Score!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2830 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Neil,

    It’s a steamroller of financial destruction. National largely ignored the problem but Labour also chose not to listen to people who knew the true extent of the disaster.

    Say what? National spent nine years ignoring this. Labour has had 6 months to find out about it. Your prejudice is showing like a glowstick at Splore.

    Edit: Let's put that a little clearer. National CREATED the problem by demanding surpluses from DHBs.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2830 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to nzlemming,

    Say what? National spent nine years ignoring this. Labour has had 6 months to find out about it

    The denial was (is) deap and wide. Nikki Kaye had little success bringing it to the attention of her cabinet colleagues and Twyford didn’t listen to those who knew.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    The Auckland Council looking for a new HQ bought a leaky building. Worth pondering for a moment. If they can’t ascertain the quality of a building then who can. They signed off on that building.

    No one did an inventory of buildings that could be problematic. Everyone just wanted the problem to go away. So buildings of that era were never checked. Never checked – even though those in the know knew there were going to problems.

    So, if I were a member of an incoming govt and had been given information about the real extent of the problem I would have gone looking for those problems building. And they’re not hard to spot.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    Twyford didn’t listen to those who knew

    Any links about that?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19478 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Sacha,

    I would suggest contacting John Gray at HOBANZ.

    His group has been trying for a number of years to put this issue on the radar of both National and Labour but with minimal success.

    The current Minister for Building and Construction recently denied there were any leaky buildings at a meeting of govt and industry representatives. She has no background in this area which is a slight impediment.

    There were people trying to get the message through but both National and Labour did not want to hear.

    Leaky buildings (a misnomer - it’s not necessarily the leaky which is problematic) are still being built and councils are still singing off on them. Unless Labour does something about how the building industry works there’s just going to more pain for more people.

    Twyford was talking about going into partnership with Fletchers. That should ring alarm bells.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    Questions remain over just who knew what and when about the hospital's litany of building woes, and what was done about it.

    The board said it became aware it had four badly leaking buildings between 2012 and 2013.

    However, a hospital maintenance worker, who RNZ has agreed not to name, said that warnings went to the board three years before that.

    Mr Simpson said he was confronted at the start, in early 2008, with a mental health unit leaking so badly it had had to be demolished.

    From 2013 until he left, he said he found his position was "severely" curtailed and building decisions were made without him because he had disagreed over some matters.

    "Where you bypass your experts ... I think it's atrocious," he said.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/353943/major-power-failure-revealed-at-middlemore-hospital-clinic

    Lots of people in authority turned a blind eye to this over a few decades. Problems were known - but no one thought to check - properly check - all the buildings built during the period when known problem buildings were built. (Even more tragically it’s a myth that this was confined to one short period of time).

    This could also undermine efforts to intensify in Auckland:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12021047

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    hmmm, a lot of posts from the resident National Party apologist on this. Putin's troll factories ain't got nothing on the frantic desperation of the National Party and it's loons to dissemble, deflect, delay and deny on the deliberate housing catastrophe they presided over.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    The Middlemore Hospital maintanence person who tried to alert the DHB to problems early on mentions being overruled by “experts”. That would have been consultant engineers. One wonders how many other buildings they were called on to assess and said – nothing to see here.

    Another big problem was the confidential settlement process. It meant the true extent of the problem was kept from the public and those who owned similar buildings weren’t given any warning of this. Certainly the construction companies like Hawkins weren’t going to go out of their way to inform anyone that they built similar building all over the place.

    Similarly with councils and the property management companies who often effectively ran Body Corps. They knew and kept silent. One consequence being finding out after the cut off period for legal action. Not a coincidence.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    The Middlemore Hospital maintanence person who tried to alert the DHB to problems early on mentions being overruled by “experts”.

    He is referring to *himself* as an expert, over-ruled by non-experts. Read again.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19478 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    So you have no evidence to back your statement about Twyford other than feeling it in your waters?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19478 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes I did misread that but that doesn’t change the point that the DHB from very early on actively ignored their building problems and that would have involved their consultant engineers. Or worse - they didn’t consult.

    It’s a pattern repeated in the private sector as the other article I linked to suggests.

    It’s been no secret for quite sometime that many govt buildings have problems. People like that maitanence person have been trying to point out the magnitude of the problem but have been ignored.

    I know the problem building issue was raised with both Twyford and Kaye. Kaye could not convince the then National govt to take this seriously - although she did get some important changes to laws governing how body corporates operate, Twyford paid little attention.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    I know the problem building issue was raised with both Twyford and Kaye.
    ...
    Twyford paid little attention

    Again, please provide evidence to back up this assertion. It's not one I've seen anywhere else. How should we believe it to be true?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19478 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm intrigued by the apparent attempt to spread blame to an MP who wasn't in government at the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’ll email you.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m not blaming Twyford for the situation at Middlemore, I’m arguing that there was information available that should have raised alarm bells on the broader problem building issue.

    As I’ve said, that was also largely ignored by the National govt.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    The delay in remediation of the Middlemore buildings may turn out to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise.

    What south Auckland needs is a completely new hospital to meet demand and remediation carries large risk.

    Remediation always winds up costing far more than planned and it doesn’t always achieve the desired result. Anticipated costs are often kept artificially low and usually once a building is opened up new problems come to light. Some apartment buildings have gone through a number of remediation cycles because of the failure of previous attempts.

    It may turn out to be better to spend the minimum necessary to keep the buildings safely limping along and put the remediation budget into a new fascility.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    With Labour all too willing to plough billions into the construction industry without getting on top of the problems there, and not pay teachers and nurses adequately, it’s a bit disheartening.

    Since Nov 2016 • 177 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Neil,

    What south Auckland needs is a completely new hospital to meet demand and remediation carries large risk.

    If you listen to the doctors working there their highest priority is not a new hospital.

    They pretty much all say the problems are out in the community
    Poor housing
    Poor quality food choices available
    Low incomes
    Too few GPs in the community

    These all combine to make the pressure on the hospital too great.

    The hospital fixes the symptom but does not address the cause and doctors nowadays are taught to try and treat the symptom only if there is no way to treat the cause.

    But yeah we still need some new buildings there - pity the last government had a policy and management strategy of deliberately underfunding and running down public health.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Investing in community-based primary care and stronger IT to genuinely join up all parts of the health system greatly reduces the need for any more hospitals. Central govt and DHBs know this already. Let's see what actually gets done.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19478 posts Report Reply

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