Key Points:

The National Party has hinted it will help to pay New Zealand's multi-billion dollar leaky homes bill if it wins the next general election.

Building and construction spokesman Nick Smith told the Herald on Sunday he didn't think it was "sustainable to say this is nothing to do with the Government".

"The Government is going to have to be part of the solution."

Asked if that meant a future National government, Smith confirmed it did.

A survey last year estimated the problem affected 30,000 homes. Homeowners and Buyers Association president John Gray said the extent could be much worse, affecting up to 80,000 homes nationwide. He said the situation was a "national disaster".

Auckland Mayor John Banks held behind-the-scene meetings with National officials over the crisis as recently as Friday.

He and his Wellington counterpart Kerry Prendergast also want a meeting with the Prime Minister and other government figures to pitch a proposal for the Government and local authorities to share 75 per cent of the bill.

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones said the meeting with mayors would take place soon, but no date had been set.

Jones said the Government would listen, but if the mayors had any expectation of "leaving with a fat cheque" they would be disappointed.

Gray slammed the mayors' plan for homeowners to pay a quarter of their repair bills as "morally repugnant". He accused them of crying crocodile tears because they didn't want their councils to foot the bill.

Clark yesterday confirmed the Government's long-held position it bears no liability for the leaky homes debacle and would not contribute to the cost. She said that councils had building inspection systems, which ticked off homes that didn't stand up to scrutiny.

The Government's response was to set up a mediation and resolution service and it would be unfair for the taxpayer to pick up the bill.

Smith said Clark's response was "heartless" and called for a "fresh approach".

"The Government model has been a flop. We would rather spend the $100 million going into the Weathertight Homes Tribunal on fixing homes.

"Taxpayers would be far happier spending their money on getting houses fixed. What we are working on is an alternative model that will expedite a solution without spending a fortune on lawyers."

Smith said he had met Banks to discuss the issue but refused to outline National's policy in detail, claiming that it was not yet clear how big the problem was.

"John Key will announce our policy in good time," Smith said.

Asked if that meant before the election, he replied: "Absolutely."

Banks said he had met National Party representatives as recently as Friday to discuss the issues.

"We don't know what their policy is, but they have been much more sympathetic. This will certainly be an election issue for 80,000 homeowners and their families.

"If Shane Jones thinks this issue is going to vanish into the election ether, he is naive. Gratuitous comments on the eve of the Labour Party funeral are not useful."