state house

PHOTO: Some of the family’s possessions dumped in their front yard. Photo: Supplied

A distraught family was given 30 minutes to choose a handful of belongings from a Kāinga Ora house after a roof repair botch-up contaminated it with asbestos.

The Christchurch family says three-quarters of their personal possessions, including prized keepsakes and heirlooms, were dumped in a skip.

The state landlord has been accused of lacking any compassion and mishandling repairs on the home, potentially affecting the family’s health.

Kerin Buckingham, who shared her Linwood state house with her two children, aged 11 and 13, was at first relieved when the tradesmen turned up to repair the damage to her roof.

However, lockdown meant the work had to be paused.

“There was a lot of rain that night. There was a lot of rain the next day and a lot of leaks. I rang them and told them that the carpet was wet, the wall was wet, the ceiling was wet, ‘what do we do?'”

Kāinga Ora’s answer was to hire fans to dry out the wet areas.

When somebody turned up with a moisture reader to see if the fans were doing their job, it fell straight through the soaking wet plaster, showering particles of asbestos on to the floor below.

Buckingham and her children stayed in the home for a further two-and-a-half hours as the fan blew straight on to the exposed, asbestos riddled plasterboard, spreading the toxic dust around the house.

When a builder turned up to fix the problem, he was shocked at what he saw.

“He said it never should have happened like that, it was completely the wrong thing to do.”

Taking the phone off Kerin, he spoke directly to Kāinga Ora.

“He wanted them to know how bad the situation was, and that he could not leave me and my children living in that sort of situation. He said it was unsafe.”

The family were moved to a motel that night taking nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

A week-and-a-half later, Buckingham was asked to come to the house.


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