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Published: 2003-11-27 00:00:00

The Government’s Building Bill is yet another Central Government responsibility that has been passed to regional councils without the finance needed to operate it, Environment Waikato’s Policy Committee says.

The Council has made a submission on the changes to be made to the Building Act, which will require it to classify dams and ensure they comply with safety policies. Councillors are concerned that the Council will be responsible for a specialised structure without funds to manage it.

The Bill repeals the Building Act and introduces a new regulatory framework for building work, building practitioners, product certification and accreditation. It is designed to establish a licensing regime for building practitioners and set performance standards.

The Bill gives regional councils responsibility for classifying dams, gaining and maintaining accreditation, issuing compliance schedules for dams, enforcing building code standards and regulations and adopting a policy on dangerous dams. It comes into force in July next year.

Environment Waikato’s submission focuses on dam safety issues and supports Local Government New Zealand’s submission which asks for clarity on the role and responsibilities of regional authorities. Given the cost implications, Environment Waikato wants more consultation on the Bill.

Cr Jenni Vernon said the Bill was yet another Central Government responsibility passed onto regional councils without the money needed to manage it.

“Where is the money going to come from?”

Committee Chairman Evan Penny said he was perplexed as to why any change was necessary at all when “nothing was broken”. The dam owners should pay costs involved in managing dams.