Asbestos exposed residents being jerked around
“Both central and local Government appear to be trying to wash their hands of responsibility to clean up asbestos blown onto the homes of Ponsonby families by the Ponsonby Intermediate School Fire,” says ACT MP Simon Court.
“This fire eight days ago has forced up to 10 families from their homes on health advice.
“Yesterday I wrote to Education Minister Chris Hipkins asking him to intervene to ensure his Ministry took responsibility for the clean-up of those residents’ homes.
“I’ve had no reply, but another day on and the situation for the residents has gotten worse.
“Auckland Council’s Senior Environmental Officer admitted to me that they hadn’t done well enough to date and said they would be the lead agency for the clean-up.
“But in a cruel twist the Auckland Council Environmental Health Officer sent to talk to the residents today advised them no one was going to manage the clean-up, that was a matter for them to negotiate with their private insurers.
“These people have been forced out their houses on health advice a week before Christmas, and the people who should be taking responsibility for getting them back in their homes are flat out passing the buck.
“In a Kafkaesque twist it turned out the Ministry of Education phone number provided to residents was disconnected.
“I investigated the contact they’d been provided and was told the staffer left the Ministry last Friday.
“I repeat the call I made to the Minister of Education yesterday: get your Ministry to take charge of this situation, clean up these residents’ homes so they’re safe to re-enter, and let everyone have a happy and safe Christmas.”