8 Feb 2013

Council says insurance may cover Mainzeal liability

10:27 am on 8 February 2013

The Auckland Council believes it won't be significantly affected by the collapse of Mainzeal Construction and Property.

Receivers are working their way through the accounts of the New Zealand's third largest construction company, leaving the livelihoods of its 400 employees and hundreds of sub-contractors up in the air.

Mainzeal has been involved in projects worth $7.5 billion throughout New Zealand since being founded in the late 1960s.

The company was placed in receivership at the request of sole director Richard Yan on Wednesday. It is owned by his company, Richina Pacific, which has interests in China.

Mr Yan said he had no choice after Richina Pacific withdrew financial support and a series of adverse events as well as the downturn in major commercial projects had hit Mainzeal's finances.

A lawyer specialising in leaky building claims says outstanding claims against Mainzeal may have played a large part in its decision to put itself into receivership.

Lawyer Tim Rainey says Mainzeal was one of the few companies caught up in the leaky building crisis that had not already gone into receivership.

Mr Rainey says a Supreme Court decision towards the end of 2012, which said owners of commercial and public buildings were able to seek recompense through the courts, may have been the final straw.

Owners of leaky buildings are unlikely to receive anything from the receivers, but can still pursue councils through the courts, he says.

The Auckland Council has two major projects being built by Mainzeal and is also working with it on the repair of a leaky building.

The council is meeting with the company's receivers PWC on Friday, but it is understood any leaky building liability may be covered by insurance.

Mainzeal has been converting a waterfront cargo shed into a cruise ship terminal and is building a new library on Waiheke Island, but work has halted on both.