The whole truth and nothing but the truth

White House Kitty

For strata managers who care, the Minister who looks after their patch of dirt is the Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox. His press release on the Home Building Act amendments dated 13 June 2014 is the subject of this blog entry and will include within it various quotes from Yes Minister. See how many quotes you can spot in the blog. The answer is at the bottom, but no peeking!!

The press release in question stated that “Consumers will benefit from a new definition of major defect to include serious fire safety and waterproofing defects for the first time”. Whilst this is strictly true, the press release is interesting for what it doesn’t say rather than what it actually says.

That is, it should have also pointed out that in order to come within the new definition for structural defects (i.e. a “major defect”), the defect must “cause or be likely to cause the inability to inhabit or use the building or part of the building for its intended purpose or the destruction or the threat of collapse of the building or any part of the building”. I ask any strata managers reading this requirement to consider whether any of the defects in buildings they manage would fall within this definition. I would suggest very few, if any.

Luckily, press statements are not delivered under oath. Indeed, the general approach these days seems to be something like “It is our job to tell the public the truth and nothing but the truth. But it would be profoundly inappropriate and grossly irresponsible to tell them the whole truth”.

One suspects that when it comes to NSW politicians, their approach to disciplining bad builders and developers is akin to thrashing them with a wet lettuce leaf and admonishing them with some politically correct statement such as “builders and developers are kindness-impaired. (This is not to imply that all, or even some, builders and developers are that way, nor to deny any builder or developer their right to express whatever disposition comes naturally to them. Far from it, their dispositions are without doubt due to many factors of their upbringing and socialization).” I could go on but in the interests of brevity will not.

Suffice to say, the proposed amendments have very little to do with consumer protection.

The answer is 2, by the way.

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