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Cook Islanders embroiled in NZ building scandal

Wednesday May 23, 2018 Written by Published in Local

Global Fibre8 Limited, an international supplier of building materials based in New Zealand, is facing legal action for selling faulty products.

The company was established in 2011 and is run by members of the Tuake family, including Tangi Tuake and his son Albert, who are of Cook Islands descent.

In 2014, Global Fibre8 began selling the K3T wall system, which is manufactured in China.

The company advertised the product as being innovative, strong, and cheaper than anything else on the market.

Global Fibre8 then began selling the rights to distribute the product to retailers around the world. They also established a course in which people were taught how to install the system.

There are around 20 agents, mostly in New Zealand, who paid Global Fibre8 up to $50,000 for the rights to sell the product. Hundreds of people have also paid to do the three-day installation course at the company’s headquarters in Auckland.

The material was certified as being fit for purpose by a number of organisations, including New Zealand’s Far North District Council.

Global Fibre8’s chief executive Tangi Tuake claims his company is being “bombarded” with demands for his product from “around the world”. It has been reported that the South African government is asking Global Fibre8 to build 400,000 homes and the Pentagon apparently wants to use the material for army barracks.

However, a number of independent reports, including one by Veron Building Consultants, state that the K3T wall system is not fit for purpose – nor does it meet the New Zealand building code on a number of levels.

Users of the K3T wall system are now complaining about the quality of the product. Many are saying the system is “unfit for purpose” and are demanding Global Fibre8 take action to mitigate the damage being caused by the K3T wall system.

Randolph and Karen Urlich own a house in New Zealand, which they claim had to be demolished due to K3T panels leaking chlorides.

These chlorides eventually poisoned concrete and corroded steel, causing extensive cracks both inside and out.

“I don’t want to see another family go through what we have been through and what other people have already had to suffer,” said Karen Urlich. “I understand it’s not only in New Zealand and these guys need to be stopped.”

Another K3T victim, Shaveran Naicker, also says he was left with no choice but to demolish his K3T home and rebuild after large cracks began appearing.

Naicker says he is now $400,000 out of pocket and the costs incurred have “put our next 10 years on hold”.

Tuake denies the product is the problem, blaming poor installation and builders not following the instruction manual.

“We check all the panels here before the panel goes out and we know the standard, how good the panels are – if we see any panel and we feel it needs to come off the batch, we separate it,” said Tuake.

CINews understands Global Fibre8 is already involved in court proceedings in Australia and now in New Zealand.

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