Deal on leaky school buildings

The Government has reached a confidential settlement with building materials manufacturer James Hardie over hundreds of leaky school buildings.

This follows a claim being lodged in the High Court in April against several manufacturers of faulty exterior cladding used in more than 800 buildings at more than 300 schools.

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman could not confirm whether this included any in Marlborough.

Several buildings at Marlborough Girls' College, in Blenheim, are affected by leaky building problems, but it is unclear whether they relate to this cladding.

The repair bill has been put at about $1.5 billion. Two of the manufacturers were subsidiaries of Australia's James Hardie industries.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced this week that the claims against the subsidiaries would be dropped with the settlement to go towards fixing the building problems and for future developments in New Zealand schools.

"This agreement strengthens the Government's ability to significantly address weather-tightness issues in our schools and support future investments in school property - without the need for lengthy court action," she said. "It will also support the ongoing manufacture of building supplies in New Zealand, which directly supports industry and jobs."

The Government would pursue claims against additional parties, including Carter Holt Harvey and CSR Building Products (NZ) Ltd, which also supplied materials.

The ministry is also taking legal action against architects and builders in relation to the leaky buildings. Fairfax NZ

The Marlborough Express