Tetzschner critical to revised building rules for the Parliament
The Norwegian Parliament has adopted rules to prevent more building scandals. “An illusion to believe that anything has been solved with this,” Member of Parliament Michael Tetzschner (Conservatives) scoffs.
“The problem has never been the rules, the problem is that the rules that have been there from before have not been followed. The changed rules can be practised just as sordidly as the previous ones were,” Tetzschner tells NTB.
The Member of Parliament was among the Conservatives who went furthest in the criticism of then Parliamentary President Olemic Thommessen regarding the billion squandered on the project of rehabilitating and expanding Prinsens gate 26. Tetzschner is a member of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee.
In three years, the final sum for a postal and goods reception, an entry tunnel and rehabilitation of Prinsens gate 26 increased from NOK 1.1 billion to NOK 2.3 billion. The scandal reached its climax in February last year when both Director of the Parliament, Ida Børresen, and Thommessen had to go.
The day of reckoning arrived on Tuesday for the Norwegian Parliament. A revised regulatory framework for case preparation and management with The Norwegian Parliament’s building and tenancy was up for debate. It was unanimously adopted.
From now on, Statsbygg will, as a rule, be the builder of construction projects at over NOK 300 million. They can also be involved in smaller projects if the Norwegian Parliament so wishes.
Poor governance and control from The Norwegian Parliament’s presidency was a significant part of the criticism of the building scandal. The Presidency of the Parliament was the builder in connection with the project in Prinsens gate 26 instead of Statsbygg.
The rules also establish that a cut list must be prepared before construction projects are started, which will help to cover unforeseen costs which entail that the framework is exceeded.
Although Tetzschner supports the rules, he warns that the Norwegian Parliament has not finished clearing up after the scandal. He expects that there will be further discussions about this in the future.
“It is an impatience to do more than we did today, and it is a dangerous illusion to believe that the problem is solved through the small changes that have been made,” he continues.
He believes The Norwegian Parliament and the relevant committees earlier and to a greater extent must be involved and informed about construction and investment activities under the auspices of the presidency so that they know what they are allocating funds for.
“This was a management scandal, on top of everything else. It is only to discuss the OAG report, which I believe that these regulations are not very relevant to; because we have had rules before too. It’s just a matter of operating with respect for the Parliament’s integrity. That’s what it is all about,” Tetzschner states during Tuesday’s debate.
A proposal from Red rejected
Nor is the opposition quite satisfied with the Norwegian Parliaments altered building regulations.
Leader of Red, Bjørnar Moxnes, received support from Labour, the Socialists and Center Party for his proposal to introduce a requirement that the bulk of construction work commissioned by the Parliament must be carried out by permanent employees in at least 80 per cent positions.
The Conservatives, Progress Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats, however, voted against the proposal.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today