A New Zealand Construction Sector Accord was announced on Sunday by five ministers, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, signalling long-term commitment between government and industry to collaborate on key work areas for a healthy construction sector.
Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said the Accord was a positive step forward for the whole construction industry, and specifically for the civil construction industry as its biggest clients were the public sector.
Mr Silcock said CCNZ had ensured strong civil construction industry representation in the development of the Accord, which focused on the key priorities of expanding workforce capability and capacity, rebalancing risk, improving health and safety and boosting supply of affordable and durable housing.
“The challenges we are facing as an industry impact on contractors, their employees, our construction clients and our society. It’s great we have made the first step towards a united approach with government.”
This joint commitment between the construction industry and its clients was now coming into shape and focused on the core problems rather than the symptoms. The accord should now be extended to the relationship between local government and contractors, in addition to head contractors and subcontractors, he said.
“We need to rise to the challenge of doing things differently. We are looking forward to working with Government and industry partners on the detail of the commitments, as well as a clear and defined plan for the accord to be implemented.”
Rather than being a ‘quick fix’, the Accord showed a high-level understanding of the need for real change. Mr Silcock said it was would complement the creation of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, with the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga Bill currently under consultation.
He said it was hopeful new initiatives and entities such as the Accord and Commission would create a more positive environment for New Zealand’s construction sector.
Of prime importance were increasing certainty around the pipeline of work and overcoming the issues of risk attribution and workforce shortages that had long undermined the health of the construction industry.