JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
and infrastructure industry leaders are calling for urgency around the release
of the government’s full list of ‘shovel-ready projects’ as increasing numbers
of workers face redundancy and business confidence amongst construction and
infrastructure companies nose-dives.
this month the Government announced it had selected 150 projects worth NZD$2.6b
that would create or retain 20,000 jobs. But four weeks later, only 30 projects
worth about NZD$500m (approximately 25 per cent of the total allocated) had
been released. A package including NZD$761m of three waters funding had also
been announced, but without any timelines.
Civil Contractors New
Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said while the civil construction
industry welcomed funding announcements and wanted to take the lead in driving
post COVID-19 employment and economic recovery, details were urgently needed,
or people would lose their jobs.
was a big difference between making announcements and providing meaningful
employment opportunities through economic activity, Mr Silcock said.
current situation is incredibly frustrating. We know the work is out there, but
unless we know where, what and most importantly when projects will start,
contractors are left totally in the dark. They will have no choice but to put
workers off or face the risk of companies going under.”
said employers had been waiting months for shovel-ready jobs and needed
certainty to invest in people. Every week’s delay meant more would lose their
jobs. A joint letter from industry leaders was sent to ministers in mid-June
stating the urgent need. Ministers responded that answers were ‘imminent’, but
the actual project details were still trickling out slowly, he said.
New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Blair said companies were running out of
drop off in well-signalled work across local councils and the private sector
means industry is disproportionately dependent upon central government. All
those small but steady jobs in local areas across the country help sustain
employment in between big jobs that make front pages. They’re very important.
That’s why industry was so pleased with the shovel-ready announcements.”
Blair said timing was everything. Projects starting construction today had
planners, designers and architects at work last year. Contractors began
allocating resources, scaling up or down based on predictions of work. The
problem now was that no one could see six to 12 months ahead, so they were
taking risks retaining staff on assumptions work would appear or having to cut
very stressful, it’s increasing costs and it’s completely avoidable. The full
list and timing of shovel ready projects needs to be released now with a clear
commitment to project timeframes.”
of Consulting and Engineering Chief Executive Paul Evans said the situation was
looking dire as local government cut spending on infrastructure projects, and
unless urgent action was taken, the infrastructure and construction industries
stood to lose a huge amount of skilled workers.
seen this happen before. From 1987 into the early 90s, thousands of jobs were
shed, creating a capability crisis lasting a decade, whose ripples remain
today. The loss of skill and capacity in engineering and construction meant
under-investment in critical infrastructure.”
Evans said right now the industry could not create employment opportunities,
and was instead adding people to the unemployment list. A June ACE New Zealand
survey indicated 46 per cent of engineering consulting firms were experiencing
cashflow and financial issues.
said forty-five per cent had been considering cutting staff – the average loss
was estimated at 15 per cent of the workforce. This was likely to have
increased since June, with flow-on effects across the whole of the economy.
arrange an interview, contact:
Fraser May, Communications Advisor, Civil Contractors New Zealand
| 027 8222 107 | www.civilcontractors.co.nz
Blair, Chief Executive, Infrastructure New Zealand
| 021 902 436 | www.infrastructure.org.nz
Evans, Chief Executive, Association of Consulting and Engineering New Zealand
Paul@acenz.org.nz | 021 340 317 | www.acenz.org.nz
ABOUT CIVIL CONTRACTORS
Civil Contractors New Zealand is an incorporated society that
represents the interests and aspirations of more than 600 organisations –
including large, medium-sized and small businesses in civil engineering,
construction and general contracting. It also has associate members who provide
valuable products, support and services to contractor members.
ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE NEW ZEALAND
Infrastructure New Zealand promotes best practice in national
infrastructure development through research, advocacy and public and private
sector collaboration. Members come from diverse sectors across New Zealand,
equity owners, service providers, public sector agencies, and major
ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING AND ENGINEERING NEW ZEALAND
ACE New Zealand provides leadership, support and advocacy for the
consulting and engineering sectors in Aotearoa. ACE represents over 200
consulting and engineering firms employing more than 13,000 staff. Our members
are on the front lines of delivering critical construction and infrastructure
and represent the essential expertise that Aotearoa will need as we look to the