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Government launches Construction Sector Accord to fix industry

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Sunday, 14 April 2019, 12:05PM

The Government is partnering with some of New Zealand's largest construction companies in a bid to tackle the sector's reputation after company collapses and poor-quality builds.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with Fletcher's Construction chief executive Peter Reidy and other industry players, have unveiled a new plan to tackle the problems that have led to high-profile building company collapses, poor-quality builds and skills shortages.

The plan would, according to Ardern, improve the construction sector's culture and reputation, increase its workforce and deliver more houses.

"The wellbeing of New Zealanders is intrinsically linked to safe, durable and affordable homes, buildings and infrastructure," she saidat today's launch.

"To meet the future needs of New Zealand, both Government and industry recognise that we need to work differently."

The move comes after a string of construction companies, including Arrow and Ebert, collapsed.

Last year, NZ Specialist Trade Contractors Federation President Graham Burke said the whole construction sector system was "broken".

The new joint strategy – the Construction Sector Accord – identifies the most pressing areas of concern in the construction sector and sets out a strategy on how to fix them.

Or, as Reidy puts it: "this Accord provides a platform for change".

"The Accord recognises that the way the construction industry, its clients and Government have behaved in the past has created systemic problems that are having an impact on the New Zealand economy and the wellbeing of New Zealanders."

He said the new strategy commits those in the construction sector to change the way business is done.

"We're agreeing to uphold new standards of behaviour and to be held accountable if we don't.

"It commits those working in, and with, the industry to start treating each other differently, so we can replace the current adversarial culture with one based on respect, trust and shared responsibility," Reidy said.

Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa said the Government will be pulling its weight too by improving its procurement practices and its construction pipeline management.

"Industry representatives have identified the need for enhanced leadership and collaboration within the sector.

"Better alignment will support the other industry-led priority work areas of improving businesses performance and promoting a culture of trust between all parties in the construction eco-system."

Many different construction companies and groups, such as Downer, Watercare, Fonterra, Tonkin & Taylor, have signed up to the Accord.

New Zealand's construction sector employs 250,000 people and is the country's fourth-largest employer.

It accounts for 7 per cent of GDP and, in 2017, contributed nearly $15 billion to the economy

Reidy expects that figure to reach $41 billion in 2023.

 

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