Hey Nick Smith, your concrete cancer issue isn’t going away


Yesterday building and housing minister Nick Smith ‘ordered’ MBIE to ‘look beyond mesh to other products deemed to be critical to a building’s safety’.

Regular readers may be wondering if Nick Smith was quietly hoping the Concrete Cancer Cover-Up series would go away. But as with the steel mesh issue, it’s only a matter of time before problems hidden away out of sight, bubble to the surface.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith has ordered the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to look beyond mesh to other products deemed to be critical to a building’s safety.

Steel & Tube seismic mesh, and steel mesh from Eurocorp, recently failed ductility tests and were withdrawn from sale. Inquiries into steel mesh standards came after an RNZ News investigation.

Nick Smith got a canning after pretending there wasn’t a problem with dodgy high alkali cement being imported from Vietnam and thrown into the $46 million Manukau District Court rebuild.

Now we see comments from Auckland Council GM for building control Ian McCormick that:

“council regularly came across imported building products with compliance issues.”

“We’ve got products that are coming into the country which … have got endorsements on them which we are actually struggling to be able to trace and confirm are actually accurate.”

Oh really, and where did these products eventually end up? Maybe in Auckland Councillors’ ASB Tower?

In the past month revelations of Steel & Tube misusing a lab’s logo on its test certificates have snowballed into the listed company’s seismic mesh failing tests and being withdrawn.

Two Commerce Commission investigations are underway, and MBIE has started checking multi-storey buildings.

That last comment is quite a revelation. Sounds like MBIE was reading this blog early in March when problems with the performance of diaphragms in multi-storey buildings was first flagged.

If MBIE is going to bother with a ‘report on all critical building materials’, they may also like to re-check the specs of the concrete used in the Ministry of Justice’s Manuaku District Court building. One could suggest concrete is a ‘critical building material’.

“The government is looking and asking the ministry to see whether, given the issues that have developed with Steel & Tube over these mesh products, whether there should be a mandatory requirement in the standards to ensure that there is independent testing certification to ensure that they are up to grade.

Nick Smith is now asking officials how standards for materials are monitored. Such a shame that he didn’t bother looking into the concrete cancer fiasco where the ‘independent reviewer’ of the dodgy cement report was being paid for by the very company importing the cement in the first place.

It’s really no surprise that Nick Smith hasn’t been listening for now on 18 months. He’s well known for not listening.

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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.