Building and Construction Minister Mau' />
The Government's rescue package for leaky home owners was enacted by Parliament today on a unanimous vote.
Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson, who put it together, said it would allow thousands of homeowners to get out of the trap they had been caught in.
"I've spent the last two-and-a-half years looking into the eyes of hundreds, if not thousands, of people with leaky homes," he said during the third reading debate on the bill.
"It's one of the most ghastly blights on the landscape of this nation, you could not help but feel for people who, through no fault of their own and who had done nothing wrong, ended up with their biggest asset in life rotting before their eyes and no way out of it."
Under the $1 billion package, qualifying homeowners will receive a 25 per cent contribution from the Government and may receive 25 per cent from their local council. They can pay the rest through bank loans.
The leaky home problem emerged in the 1990s and Mr Williamson said no one thing was to blame.
"This was a systemic failure across the entire industry," he said.
"This was designers, this was builders, this was materials, this was construction methods, this was consenting, this was inspections, this was homeowners not doing relevant maintenance...monolithic cladding used with no cavities in the building design and non-treated timber was a recipe for disaster."
Mr Williamson said money would be paid when the work had been done.
"We're not going to be handing out large chunks of money to people who own leaky homes who could maybe take the money and run, and sell the leaky home to someone else."
Labour supported the bill but MPs said it didn't go far enough and many people would miss out.
Mr Williamson said Labour spent nine years in power saying leaky homes weren't a government problem.
Homeowners who don't want to take up the offer can still go to litigation but Mr Williamson said they could end up with settlements worth less than their legal bills