Shock at asbestos discovery on Christchurch property

The property on Clyde Rd is now being investigated after asbestos was found (Newshub.)
The property on Clyde Rd is now being investigated after asbestos was found (Newshub.)

Investigations are underway into a Christchurch family's shock discovery of asbestos where they were to build their dream home.

Insurer Southern Response says it paid the main contractor to test and remove asbestos from the house three years ago. It's now launched a multi-agency probe.

"As part of that investigation, we will be working with Worksafe NZ, Environment Canterbury, the project management company that oversaw the demolition, the contractors and the previous owners," a spokeswoman says.

Asbestos expert John Lewis from AANZ Asbestos Assessors thinks the Government should seriously consider whether products containing the toxic substance should still be allowed into the country.

He says while he doesn't know what happened to the Fendalton property, there has been illegal dumping of asbestos in Canterbury.  He says it's a brilliant product, but it kills.

The Christchurch mother who bought the property says she feels sick that her daughter played in dirt contaminated with asbestos. Monique Bond says when the land was scraped, it looked like a bag of flour had been split and spread.

Former owner Wendy Stoltzenberger believes the demolition was not done thoroughly and professionally.

Southern Response says concerns about possible contamination of land are taken "extremely seriously" and they have expressed their sympathy for the Bond family. The site has been shut down while Southern Response and WorkSafe investigates.  

"We are confident that we have strict and robust processes in place to ensure compliance standards are adhered to by our contractors and project management company," the spokeswoman says.