Monthly Archives: September 2015

Construction Contracts Amendment Bill 2015 to pass today

Yesterday, 22 September, the Minister introduced Supplementary Order Paper 106 into the House reversing the earlier, and highly controversial aspects of Supplementary Order Paper 52 (particularly in relation to the appointment of adjudicators).  The Bill is now pretty much as it was reported back to the House following the Select Committee hearings, including the new provisions relating to statutory trusts for retentions.

The Bill was debated until the House rose at 10.00 last night.  It is likely that the Bill will pass into law when the debate resumes at 2.00 pm today.

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Judge orders mediation over wastewater plant dispute

After years of odour and insect problems with the Whanganui District Council’s wastewater treatment plant at Airport Road, the District Council has finally taken the step to sue the facility’s designers MWH Global.  The estimated cost of replacing the plant is reported to be $38 million, which is a significant burden for the people of Whanganui, and a potentially significant liability for MWH Global.

The relationships and responsibilities of contractors and consultants in infrastructure development can be complex, and liability for design and performance failures hard to pin; hence the truism that it is never a good idea to sue your consultants.  In a triumph of pragmatism over the thorny issues of liability in negligence, Justice Denis Clifford has ordered the parties to mediation.

If ever there was a case of a sensible suggestion, this must surely be it.  We can only hope for the sake of the people of Whanganui that both parties recognise the opportunity for what it is, and reach a realistic agreement to resolve the issue.

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