The Fletcher Building logo. Photo by ODT.
Christchurch rebuild lead contractor Fletcher Building
maintains repairs on homes with asbestos have been ''managed
responsibly and effectively'', in the face of an ongoing
investigation by WorkSafe New Zealand.
WorkSafe, the Government workplace health and safety
regulator, has applied to the Christchurch District Court for
a time extension for its current investigation.
In response to the investigation, Fletcher group general
manager Philip King said yesterday the risk of asbestos
exposure had been ''identified early'' in the Christchurch
Home Repair Programme (CHRP), which Fletcher manages using
independent building contractors.
''Fletcher Building states that the asbestos hazard in houses
repaired under the CHRP has been managed responsibly and
effectively,'' the statement said.
Mr King noted no charges had been laid by WorkSafe.
The Council of Trade Unions said it was ''deeply concerned
about the exposure to deadly asbestos'' experienced by
rebuild workers, claiming a possibility Fletcher could face
charges in court for not keeping workers safe.
CTU policy director Bill Rosenberg said in a statement
urgency should be given to upgrading New Zealand regulations
covering asbestos products, rather than waiting until April
next year, given asbestos products were ''strictly banned at
the border'' of Australia and the UK already.
''New Zealand is out of step with many other countries around
the world as we fail to have a plan in place to eliminate
asbestos. Banning all importation of asbestos products is a
critical step,'' Mr Rosenberg said.
Fletcher noted ''tens of thousands'' of homes across the
country still contained asbestos, which was widely used from
1940 to 1990.
Since starting the rebuild, it had worked with WorkSafe and
when asbestos had been found contractors were told to do
repairs in accordance with asbestos regulations.
Fletcher shares last traded at $9.17, down 3c.