Fake building inspectors hit Buller after flooding

People in high-vis vests are pretending to be building inspectors in Buller as the district...
People in high-vis vests are pretending to be building inspectors in Buller as the district begins to clean up after severe flooding. Photo: George Heard
People in high-vis vests are pretending to be building inspectors in Buller as the district cleans up after severe flooding.

A spokesperson for Buller Emergency Management said police have had reports of the imposters and are reminding people real council building inspectors have ID and don't mind being questioned.

"Police are keeping an eye out for ratbags like this trying to take advantage of our community's pain. Please report any suspicious behaviour."

Fifteen teams of real building inspectors were working in Westport today, doing more detailed inspections of the flooded houses.

Urban Search and Rescue, the NZ Response Teams and defence force did the first assessments and have provided a snapshot of damage.

Civil Defence controller Sean Judd says the inspectors will move to rural areas tomorrow.

They visited 135 houses yesterday and 385 visits are scheduled today.

Buller Electricity has disconnected power to flood-damaged houses until homeowners can contact an electrician to make the necessary checks and get a Certificate of Compliance.

Buller District Council contractors, supported by New Zealand Defence Force staff will be out to pick up household waste from flood-damaged houses in Westport and Carter's Beach between Thursday and Saturday.

"To give the contractors a hand – please sort your rubbish in piles of types of rubbish and place them on the berm, leaving the road and drains clear, and enough space to use the footpath," a spokesperson said.

And the West Coast is not out of the woods just yet with more bad weather on its way.

Westport faces heavy rain tonight, and Marlborough is in over-drive to fix broken stopbanks before more downpours.

Buller mayor Jamie Cleine said around 22 homes in his district were "red stickered" yesterday - meaning their occupants couldn't return home to live before repair work was done.

About 100 people are still staying in the area's three evacuation centres, including a school where people were camped in classrooms.

Relocatable accommodation would be ordered to house some people in the medium term - as some residents faced months out of their homes and others may never be able to return, Cleine said.

The Community Hub in Buller is open 9am-4pm at the NBS Theatre for tbose who need help.

Anyone concerned thier house has suffered damage from the flood and haven't had a visit from the building inspection team by 5pm tonight, should call (03) 788 9111 tomorrow morning.














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