11 Sep 2023

Multi-billion dollar facilities management industry calls for designated Cabinet minister

10:29 am on 11 September 2023
house scaffold

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Facilities managers are calling on the next government to create a Cabinet ministerial portfolio for the built environment.

The Facilities Management Association said the multi-billion-dollar industry supported tens of thousands of jobs, but its issues largely fall through policy gaps.

A report by economic think tank BERL, commissioned by the association, estimated facilities management spent about $14.9 billion in 2022, added more than $7b to GDP and supported more than 47,000 jobs.

However, the report said the industry's economic contribution was probably greater than indicated by the estimates, which were likely too conservative given difficulties in capturing all industries and occupations involved in facilities management.

Association chief executive Jo Duggan said facilities managers were responsible for looking after the built environment, including offices, warehouses, shopping malls, hospitals, schools, sports stadiums, museums, art galleries, and other types of buildings.

"They help drive down operating costs by running places efficiently, and they optimise the use of energy, helping to reduce climate pollution," she said.

"And now we know that the industry is making a multi-billion dollar contribution to the economy, and supporting tens of thousands of New Zealand jobs."

Duggan said a dedicated Cabinet minister could assist the industry in its effort to improve the longevity of built assets, which would save the country billions of dollars in terms of energy savings and other efficiencies.

She said the industry's diverse range of issues across various ministerial portfolios and would benefit from the focus a dedicated minister could bring.