Rottenomics - The Story of New Zealand's Leaky Buildings Disaster.

New Feature Article in Architecture NZ!

The article is about remediation of leaky buildings—specifically the argument between a dominant camp and a minority within this entirely accidental industry about how to fix leaky buildings, a topic I was only able to briefly mention in the book. The argument may seem dry, so to speak. However, it concerns huge sums of money. For example if all leaky dwellings were to be fixed along the lines advocated by the dominant camp, a conservative estimate of the eventual cost would be $52.3 billion. Read the article here.

The scale of the massive leaky buildings disaster is unprecedented. It is arguably the most extravagant waste of human and financial resources in New Zealand history. How could we have allowed this to happen? And why, a quarter century after these buildings first appeared, are we still building them? Rottenomics is the first attempt to provide comprehensive, evidence-based answers to these questions.

Rottenomics Chapter Images


The figures are staggering.


Leaky dwellings


Billion estimated costs


Estimated cost of leaky dwellings as a percentage of 2014 GDP


Years since the first reports of leaky buildings


The Fifth National Government twice commissioned reports on the extent of weathertightness failure in New Zealand dwellings. Each one brought bad news. In each case, Government tampered with the news.

Weathertightness—estimating the cost. PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2009.

Data on Residential Weathertightness Failures, Draft 16 February 2015
Dr Andrea Knox (Counterbalance Research and Evaluation) and
Lisa Star (Proof Research)

What people are saying about Rottenomics

About the Author


Peter Dyer

Peter Dyer was born in 1953 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He lived in New Jersey until he shifted to California to go to university in 1970. Married in 1979, he and his wife lived in California until they shifted to Palmerston North in January 2004. They have lived in Wellington since 2008.

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Send Email to Peter Dyer