On a hunger strike
‘Considering we’ve done four and a half years of this, we feel our lives have been held to ransom and we just want our ’ lives back. — George Griffith
Monday was the dreaded day for leaky home owners Lesley Thomas and George Griffith, when George started his hunger strike as they plead for assistance from Manawatu¯ District Council.
Lesley and George bought their home in the Ruahine Ranges in the Pohangina Valley four and a half years ago. They say the home should have never received a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC).
This is supported by NZ House Survey independent building inspector Jeff Twigge, who said Lesley and George have been “screwed”.
On Monday George weighed 80.2kg. He has vowed to consume only water until there is a resolution to the issue.
His plea is to Manawatu¯ District Council chief executive Richard Templer to find a solution to meet the building code standards.
According to the couple, and other building industry professionals who have inspected it, the home failed to meet the building code in many areas including structural integrity, and parts of the build don’t match consented plans, but it was still given a CCC.
Templer visited Lesley and George last Friday, and offered to pay for mediation. However, the couple want a settlement offer and felt the the letter still indicated the council was not at fault.
This week, the couple accepted the offer of mediation and replied in person outside the council. They felt it was too little too late.
“We accepted the meeting and we want to hear what they’ve got to say, but we just wanted to make sure that they are still aware the hunger strike was going ahead because, as we stated in the letter, we need some kind of settlement offer and that has not come forward,” Lesley said.
George said he felt it was time for the Manawatu¯ District Council to do more than talk.
“Considering we’ve done four and a half years of this, we feel our lives have been held to ransom and we just want our lives back,” George said.
Local Focus asked Templer whether the council was going to be accountable for issuing the Code Compliance Certificate on the property, but he did not reply.
National Party MP Ian McKelvie has also visited the house and has written to the minister, asking that something be done.
“It’s very difficult for families or couples to take legal action,” he said. “Whose liability it is, I don’t know, but certainty the builder or council or inspectors or whoever was part of that must have some culpability in this case.” George said he was prepared to continue his hunger strike until the end.
“It’s a very sad case and I hope there is resolution for George before it goes too far.”
The couple have set up a Facebook page Starving for Justice www.facebook.com/ Starving-For-Justice246555326205696/
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