Exclusive: 'Deeply flawed' wall system being sold to unsuspecting Kiwis by Auckland-based Cook Islands group

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.

Families have been left devastated after using K3T panels distributed by Global Fibre8, a product which experts say is flawed. Source: 1 NEWS



Police seeking information over terrifying early morning robbery at Tauranga home involving an axe

Police are seeking public information after a terrifying assault and robbery at a Tauranga home where two offenders broke into the house early this morning armed with an axe and crowbar.

Officers responded to an aggravated burglary on Waterford Park Drive in Papamoa at approximately 4.30am, Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier said.

Two men had entered the property and assaulted two occupants of the house, a man and woman, before stealing two cars from the property.

The two victims received minor injuries but did not require ambulance treatment though they are receiving continued support from police, Detective Sergeant Brazier said.

Police have recovered the vehicles nearby and are currently examining them while a scene examination is also underway at the property.

If anyone in the area has any information which could assist with the Police investigation we encourage them to ring Tauranga Police on 577 4300.

Information can also be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Man with axe
Source: istock.com

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Disturbing new study finds Kiwi teens are fatter and less fit than their parents

Today's teens are more fat and less fit than their parents' generation, according to disturbing new research out of the University of Otago.

The first-of-its-kind study, published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, measured the fitness of 343 15-year-olds whose parents had been tested in the 1980s. Each generation was tested on an exercise cycle.

"We have seen a 25 per cent decline in fitness in girls compared to their mothers and about a 15 per cent decline in fitness compared to their fathers," researcher Helena McAnally told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, explaining that the findings are unlikely to be unique to New Zealand.

"I think there's been a lot of social change over the years between the Dunedin study in the 80s, when they were 15, and now," she explained. "We're looking at increasing levels of physical inactivity in developed countries across the globe."

The downward trend is a concern, she said.

"Historically, we've been seeing health and wellbeing tracking towards more positive outcomes," she said. "This is looking like this generation is going to be less healthy than their parents' generation.

"Poorer fitness now could potentially lead to long term health problems later."

Professor Bob Hancox, who led the study, said in a statement that the findings fit the perception many of us already had of young people being outside less and tethered to screens more than any generation previously.

But Ms McAnally said today she remains optimistic that the situation could change. As happened with smoking, studies about the health implications could help prompt government initiatives that eventually see healthier outcomes.

The $7 million plan to tackle the fat is being deemed too weak. Source: 1 NEWS

She suggested ad campaigns and increased opportunities for people to be active.

"I know in Australia some schools have an afternoon dedicated to physical activity so that people don't have to organise taking their kids to sports outside of school hours," she said. "So there are things like that we could change that would be systematically embedding physical activity in young people's day-to-day routines.

"Investing in the health and wellbeing of our young people now is going to save money in the long term, so I think it's a sensible move."

Researchers tested the 15-year-old children of teens who were studied in the 1980s, researcher Helena McAnally explained to Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Murder charge laid after man stabbed to death in Upper Hutt

A murder charge has been laid after a man was stabbed to death in Upper Hutt yesterday.

A 37-year-old man will appear in the Hutt Valley District Court this morning, Detective Inspector John van den Heuvel said in a statement.

The incident took place on Golders Rd, Upper Hutt, yesterday afternoon.

Police believe it was an isolated incident and aren't looking for anyone else.

Police car
Police car Source: 1 NEWS

The victim died at the scene.


Topics


Labour MPs stand behind Jacinda Ardern's decision to strip Meka Whaitiri of her portfolios

Meka Whaitiri will be expected back at Parliament next week despite the prime minister stripping her of her ministerial portfolios yesterday.

Jacinda Ardern said she had lost confidence in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP on the back of an investigation into an altercation with her press secretary at an event in Gisborne in August.

Jacinda Ardern. (Richard Tindiller) Source: rnz.co.nz

Ms Ardern has seen the final report - on which she's based her decision to strip Ms Whaitiri of her portfolios - but the public will have to wait until the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has been through it before they get to see it.

She will not say what happened, only that Ms Whaitiri still disputes the allegation against her.

But Ms Ardern has promised some of that detail will be released in due course.

"I've asked DIA to prepare a version of the report that can be released in order to address some of those outstanding questions."

Ms Whaitiri's associate portfolios in agriculture, Crown-Māori relations, forestry and local government will all fall to lead ministers.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi, who recently became the Minister of Broadcasting when Clare Curran resigned from Cabinet, will pick up the full customs portfolio.

It avoids a full Cabinet reshuffle.

Ms Ardern said she would work with Ms Whaitiri to address her staffing matters, but made it clear no other formal grievances had been laid.

"I'm going to work with the member, at this point we are talking more about managing employees.

"Support through training and so on, human resource management."

Ms Whaitiri remains an electorate MP and will keep her role as co-chair of Labour's Māori caucus.

Fellow co-chair Willie Jackson could not be reached for comment, but one of its members, Labour MP Paul Eagle, said he was pleased remained at the helm.

"She's certainly served her weight in gold over the last 11 months, and I'd hope to see her stay."

Senior Cabinet Minister Andrew Little backed the Ms Ardern's call on the matter.

"I haven't seen the report but what I do know of Jacinda Ardern is that she is scrupulously fair, she has waited until she's obviously had information and has made her judgement and I stand with her on that."

Labour MPs Ginny Anderson and Greg O'Connor agreed.

Green MP Gareth Hughes felt for his Parliamentary colleague.

"There's always the personal reaction, and I feel sorry for her as an individual. Obviously though the decision was one for [the] prime minister."

In Napier, in the heart of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate, many voters said they remained supportive of Ms Whaitiri. Others backed Ms Ardern.

By Gia Garrick

rnz.co.nz

The Prime Minister says she took action after an investigation deemed an incident did happen. Source: 1 NEWS