1 NEWS Reporter
1 NEWS has uncovered an extensive building scandal being run out of Auckland by a group of Cook Islanders which has resulted in homes being demolished and well over a million dollars in losses.
The company Global Fibre8 is distributing the K3T wall system made in China – and it's being sold in a number of countries.
Promoted as being innovative, strong and cheaper than anything else on the market, the wall panel system has caused two homes in Northland to be pulled down.
Randolph and Karen Urlich own one of the houses – the K3T panels they used leaked chlorides which poisoned concrete and corroded steel causing extensive cracks both inside and out.
The couple say they were building their dream home and it's cost them financially and emotionally.
"I don't want to see another family go through what we have been through and what other people have already had to suffer, and I understand it's not only in New Zealand and these guys need to be stopped," Karen Urlich told 1 NEWS.
A number of independent reports including one by Veron Building consultants show the K3T wall system is not fit for purpose - nor does it meet the New Zealand building code on a number of levels.
The Urlich's are taking legal action against Global Fibre8 and also the Far North District Council which signed the product off.
The Council has confirmed it is now a court matter and they couldn’t comment.
Speaking from his Onehunga warehouse, Global Fibre8's chief executive Tangi Tuake denies the product is the problem, blaming poor installation and builders not following the instruction manual.
"We check all the panels here before the panel goes out and we know the standard, how good the panels are - if we see any panel we feel it needs to come off the batch we separate it".
But another Northland K3T victim, Shaveran Naicker, says that didn’t happen in his case and he was left with no choice but to demolish his K3T home and rebuild after large cracks appeared.
He said he's now $400,000 out of pocket and "it's put our next 10 years on hold".
Builder Matt Jordan told 1 NEWS he has never seen anything like it in his 41 years of experience in the industry.
"It's not fit for anything really, it's OK for landfill," he said.
There are around 20 agents, many of them in New Zealand who have paid Global Fibre8 up to $50,000 to sell the product – and also hundreds of people who have paid to do a three-day installation course at the company headquarters,
1 NEWS will be revealing more about how the K3T panels have been allowed to be used in New Zealand without proper certification – and also Global Fibre8's expansion internationally.
The Prime Minster addressed questions on the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis today, saying she hoped it can be eradicated from New Zealand, but expected the bill to grow.
The total compensation amount for Mycoplasma bovis was "hard to say", Jacinda Ardern said in her post-Cabinet media conference.
Estimations had been made based around the initial culling programme, however more farms have been found to have Mycoplasma bovis since then. Eighty-five million dollars had been allocated in the Budget, but the amount needed was expected to increase.
"That bill certainly could grow," Ms Ardern said.
She said her "hope absolutely remains" that the disease can be eradicated.
"Ultimately what is guiding this decision is industry, government, the farming community, collectively sitting down together and saying, have we given this everything we can, what is the best option for New Zealand in an industry that is critical for us?"
Making it into the country and isolating where the disease travelled in the intervening period were two mistakes acknowledged by the Prime Minister.
Ms Ardern also said options needed to be kept open in holding to account those who may be responsible for bringing the disease into New Zealand.
"It's fair to say we wouldn't be dealing with the spread on this scale had it been dealt with in the best possible way. It seems to be that mistakes have been made, but what we need to focus on right now, is putting in place the best possible plan to deal with it, in the here and now."
"We just need to get on with it."
"This is a devastating situation for farmers and for an industry that is critical for New Zealand and highlights the risk of biosecurity threats and the need for us to make sure our systems are in place are protect ourselves in the future."
The next step would be decided in the coming week.