Adviser's switch on leaky homes

Last updated 05:30 23/11/2013

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A former Earthquake Commission (EQC) leaky homes expert is offering advocacy services to Christchurch claimants, including at least one whose file he has worked on for EQC.

John Maio resigned from EQC last month, set up NazPI Ltd and now offers to represent owners with weathertight and other issues in their dealings with EQC. He is a certified builder, a licensed private investigator and mediator.

"John can represent you, on site, at the time of the EQC inspection. This is your guarantee and peace of mind, that all earthquake damage is captured in the EQC assessment," his flier says.

EQC has decided to cash settle homes with weathertight issues because of the "increased likelihood repairs may need to address both earthquake damage and water damage".

Christchurch homeowner Tracy Clark received a flier from Maio's new company in mid-October and was disturbed to find it was the same John Maio whom, she claims, made her and her partner's interaction with EQC "very painful".

"We felt our treatment was so unfair that we raised an EQC complaint regarding his claim and his behaviour."

After obtaining documents from their EQC file under the Official Information Act, she claims she found Maio had not accurately presented their situation to EQC.

Clark said Maio now appeared to be offering to resolve issues he had himself created between EQC and homeowners.

Maio told The Press yesterday he had advertised his new business in various ways including fliers delivered to areas of Christchurch with plaster-clad houses.

If the flier was delivered to homeowners on whose claims he had worked it was not because he had used information from his time with EQC, he said. If he was asked to assist a homeowner whose house he had evaluated as part of his EQC work, he would have to make a judgment call on possible conflicts of interest.

"I can't imagine it being an issue because so many former EQC employees are working out there in various capacities."

He declined to comment on Clark's remarks other than to say her matter was complicated and there was another side to her case.

Maio said he left EQC because his relationship with the commission had become toxic and he was frustrated by the way the commission had handled complaints against him and comments made about him by discontented EQC clients on social media and blogs.

"I'm not out there (his new business) to set unrealistic expectations.

"I will help people get their entitlement and expect EQC to treat me with respect as I will treat its staff with respect."

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He had started working for EQC in 2006 when he was an on-call contractor to assess damage.

In January last year he became an EQC employee as part of a two-person team looking at claims with weathertight issues.

The key job was to identify homes with weathertight/leaky home syndrome issues.

In August last year he became pod leader of non-Fletcher EQR managed repairs and was in charge of 13 opt-out estimators and two weathertight homes estimator specialists.

He had disagreed with the way EQC organised its response to claimants with weathertight issues and his recommendations and advice were seldom heeded. The process had become a "shemozzle".

EQC declined to comment.

Maio and his business partner previously contracted to EQC under their company Frame System Fabricators. The company was paid $145,110 by EQC in the year to June 2012, and $199,385 in the June, 2011 year.

- The Press


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