Concrete Cancer Cover-Up Expose Continues

concretecancer

Last year we started a series of posts exposing a cover-up in the $400m New Zealand concrete industry.

Industry insiders spoken to by WOBH, warned that dozens of new buildings could be under threat from a form of ‘concrete cancer’ that could end up costing millions of dollars over time.

This includes buildings like the new $40 million Ministry of Justice Manukau District Court, Fonterra’s $120 million factory in Waitoa and Yashili’s $250 million plant at Pokeno.

It all came about after concrete importer Drymix imported tens of thousands of tonnes of cement, which according to their own test samples, failed to meet recognised industry standards.

When murmurings about this issue first started, the industry association – The Cement and Concrete Association (CCANZ) first course of action was to hire a private investigator to try and find out who was talking.

Since then, sources in Wellington have been expressing concern that CCANZ had hitched their wagon to Drymix, and are not happy at how they are handling the unease within the construction and building sectors.

In December 2014 WOBH asked 5 questions to CCANZ seeking their response to the issues raised on this site. 

They replied on Christmas Eve, attaching a 128 page report by the NZ Ready Mix Concrete Association’s Plant Audit Committee Report ‘Imported Cement – Drymix’ dated 18 November 2014.

This report was based largely on an ‘independent’ report that was funded by none other than Drymix themselves.

CCANZ’s Information and Communication manager Adam Leach responded on behalf of CEO Rob Gaimster saying that “many of the questions you have asked are covered or explained in the attached reports”.

The key out-take by CAANZ was that “after several months of thorough independent evaluation and peer review it has been determined that no cement or concrete in breach of New Zealand standards has been sold in the market”.

How nice.

The Report CCANZ attached was interesting reading. So much so that it raised a yet more questions.

And in the interest of ensuring CAANZ can provide the government and MBIE with complete confidence that it’s new Manukau District Court won’t suffer from a reaction between the alkali and aggregate in the concrete (concrete cancer), WOBH has a number of additional questions for CCANZ, including;

  1. Is the Report being peer reviewed? If so, by whom.
  2. Why did Drymix hide the NZ test results and the Vietnam test results for 6 months?
  3. Why did Drymix delete the September 2013 test results off its website mid 2014?
  4. Have any core samples been taken from any of the jobs that were supplied cement by Drymix? What were the results? If no core samples have been taken, why not?
  5. Was testing by Drymix undertaken as a result of a request of the NZRMCA or CCANZ?

There are more questions being put to CCANZ.

Unpicking this mess takes time, but WOBH’s sunlight on this issue will continue until the questions are answered.


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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.

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