CTV families seek legal action help

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 10:05 28/06/2013

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Families of the 115 victims who died in the CTV building collapse in Christchurch are calling on the Government to help with legal action against those responsible for the disaster.

In an open letter to the Government, families of some of the 115 victims said the Government had a responsibility to help them and make sure such a collapse did not happen again.

They also said Prime Minister John Key had previously promised them his support.

Maan Alkaisi, who lost his wife in the collapse as a result of the February 2011 earthquake, told Radio New Zealand this morning that the families were still waiting for a response.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke read the letter sent to Key on June 25.

"We know what went wrong, we who know is responsible, we know that the CTV building was code non-compliant, it was illegally built by inexperienced, negligent and incompetent individuals and entities, even a so-called engineer who had a false name and fake degrees was involved," O'Rourke read.

"The Government has the responsibility to ensure justice and that this will not happen again."

O'Rourke also referred to a letter written by Key to the families in September last year "that the judicial avenue will remain available".

Speaking on behalf of Key, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the prime minister had not yet read the letter but that the Government would respond to the families once it had considered the issues raised.

Joyce said the Government could not yet respond to pleas for help with legal proceedings against those responsible while the police investigation was being carried out.

The police had not yet decided whether a prosecution would be brought, he said.

"My understanding is that the police are currently looking into this matter and they have yet to make a decision on any prosecution, and that would feed into the timing of any other things proposed by the families," he said.

Alkaisi said today that the families wanted the appointment of a team of lawyers to help them.

He said Key had promised to support the families "on many occasions" and to make sure such an incident did not happen again.

"We've been waiting for two and a half years remember, so we are really frustrated and disappointed that nothing has happened so far," he said.

The families wanted to make sure it didn't happen again "by sending a message to all the construction industry that this is not acceptable.

"The only way to do it is to hold somebody accountable," he said.

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