Infrastructure New Zealand has joined the chorus welcoming today’s border opening announcement.
“Aside from the certainty this gives New Zealanders overseas, and those here the confidence they can travel internationally and return, it also provides certainty and confidence to a range of industries about the way ahead, our sector included,” chief executive Claire Edmondson says.
“Even without closed borders the infrastructure sector was battling a skills shortage, losing the workers we had to better working conditions overseas, and having difficulty recruiting key skills internationally, and we’re far from the only sector in that position.
“While Covid-19 is not the only cause, it has certainly worsened supply chain issues that, even now, won’t be easily resolved. It’s worth noting the Infrastructure Commission’s Infrastructure Quarterly Report that construction costs rose more than 10% in 2021 – the biggest increase since the Global Financial Crisis – with similar increases predicted for this year. Today’s announcement at least removes a barrier in resolving those issues,” Ms Edmondson says.
“The sector needs to be able to build capacity and capability to serve a pipeline of infrastructure projects. We’re now waiting on Government approval of the Infrastructure Commission’s Infrastructure Strategy, which promises to further address capability and pipeline issues.
“Closing the border has served its purpose. Once the elimination strategy was abandoned, it became an increasingly unnecessary burden on continuing to do business. We need to manage a risk that clearly isn’t going to go away anytime soon, not continue to hide from it.
“The sector has experienced significant delays during the last two years of border closures, and we’re only under increasing pressure to get on with it, battling a skills shortage and supply chain issues.
“The sector will still have plenty to manage keeping construction going, potentially in the face of significant absenteeism as people recover or isolate due to Omicron,” Ms Edmondson says.
Phil Barclay on 021 227 5250.