Concrete Cancer Coverup, ctd


This time last week Whaleoil continued with its series exposing a concrete cancer cover-up within the $400m New Zealand concrete market.

The tip-line has been abuzz with concerns from Wellington insiders close to the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ).

They are deeply concerned that CCANZ has hitched their wagon to the company at the centre of the cover-up – cement importer Drymix, and that the exposure of the concrete cancer issue is not going to end well for the industry body.

These insiders are worried that CCANZ’s position is compromising the integrity of the wider concrete industry and are not happy with how they are managing the growing concerns and unease within the construction and building sectors.

Last week CCANZ held a crisis meeting in Wellington where they obviously decided that they’re too deep in the hole and that the better option is to keep digging. Let’s see how that works out for them.  

CCANZ is now pretending dodgy cement has not been used in places like the $40m Manukau Court upgrade, Fonterra’s new $120m UHT plant in Waitoa, or the new Yashili NZ Dairy plant in Pokeno.

Instead of front-footing the issue, CCANZ has missed out a vital opportunity to clear the whole mess up once and for all.

What CCANZ has done is quietly put up an ‘Industry Update’ on their website, hoping this will keep the issue at bay.

Insiders couldn’t help but laugh when they read about a so-called ‘independent consultant report into the supply of the imported cement in question concluded that the cement did not have exceessive alkali levels’.

The funder of this independent consultant report was no less than Drymix, the very company at the heart of the concrete cancer cover-up, whose boss Hunter Crossan confirmed alkali levels in imported cement from Vietnam had not been in the range of accepted New Zealand standards.

WOBH is hearing that MBIE officials are now starting to get a little uneasy about the advice CCANZ Chief Executive Rob Gaimster is giving them, particularly when that advice is being passed up to the Minister’s office and potentially drags their Minister into the quagmire.

Now, claims of a concrete cancer cover-up would evaporate if the following questions were answered.

  1. Why did Drymix not publish monthly test results for some six months (October 2013-March 2014) that had high Alkali levels (as test in a N.Z. accredited laboratory) which exceeded the N.Z. industry recognised limit of <0.6%?
  2. Why did Drymix then only release the six months of test results when the first test (April 2014) that met the N.Z. industry limit become available?
  3. Why is Drymix now denying there is a problem, when in CCANZ’s very own communications has Drymix admitting the alkali levels were above the New Zealand Industry recognised level?
  4. How has Drymix managed to ‘blend’ thousands of tonnes of cement containing high alkali levels with cement from another Vietnam supplier that has alkali levels that meet NZ specification?
  5. Why did Drymix not alert concrete design engineers, civil engineers and customers that there was a problem across the 6-month period in question?

There’s another way this whole issue would go away. And that is if a simple core sample was taken from the sites mentioned above. It’s a really simple process as the video above shows.

Then, send those samples to an independent certified laboratory for chemical analysis

The question is whether CCANZ really wants to take that risk.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.