6 Aug 2018

Government plans new construction strategy to combat skills shortage

1:44 pm on 6 August 2018

Cabinet ministers will today discuss a different government approach they can take to the construction industry to deal with the major challenges facing the sector, including skill shortages.

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Photo: 123RF

New Zealand is in the middle of a construction boom and the pressure is only going to intensify as the government's home building programme, Kiwibuild, ramps up.

Cabinet Ministers met with construction leaders today at Parliament to talk about the best way to work together.

Read more about the construction industry's troubles:

  • Ebert Construction's collapse unexpected but no surprise
  • Govt contracts push risk to building firms, industry says
  • Enticing people into trades work
  • No sign of NZ building costs easing
  • Micro-credentials billed as answer to skill shortage
  • Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa said the government needed to take the lead on the problem.

    She said there were government guidelines in place for contracts, but those are not always followed.

    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said he did not want to see construction work going overseas.

    Shane Jones

    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

    "There's a huge duty on us to do nothing that worsens taxpayer liability, but also we are concerned - what are we going to do, outsource everything internationally if we can't keep a robust and sustainable construction sector in New Zealand?'' Mr Jones says.

    "Our government's not interested in outsourcing that.''

    Masterbuilders chief executive David Kelly said the industry also needed to play its part, and the problems facing the sector were no secret.

    "I think one of the most important things that came out of today is the statement from ministers that this industry is strategically important to New Zealand, it is important to our economy, it is important to our social fabric,'' Mr Kelly said.

    The government is also consulting the industry on an action plan aimed at making sure the country has enough skilled construction workers to meet future demand.

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