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Dunne’s comments ‘unhelpful and confusing’

15 March 2006

Dunne’s comments ‘unhelpful and confusing’

Recent comments by the Leader of United Future, Peter Dunne, on the performance of New Zealand’s civil construction sector and Transit are ‘unhelpful and confusing’, says Richard Michael, CEO of the NZ Contractors’ Federation.

“The variable nature of the present funding arrangements for roading in this country means that there is no certainty about how much will be available for new road construction each year,” said Mr Michael.

“This makes life very difficult for Transit and the civil contracting industry. We are unable to plan with any certainty, leading to unnecessary costs and delays. Considering our convoluted planning processes, Transit’s performance at bringing projects in on time and under budget is to be commended in a period of rapidly increasing price for inputs.

“The Contractors’ Federation is calling for more certainty as everyone would benefit from knowing how much will be available for new road construction at least three years into the future. This approach has been taken in some parts of Australia and seems to be working well.

“The Government is to be congratulated on increasing the level of funding to the sector after a long period of under investment. However we are playing catch-up and sustained investment will be required if we are to have a world-class infrastructure to underpin our economy,” said Mr Michael.

Mr Dunne claimed in a media release that Transit “has a sorry history of bringing in roading projects over time and over budget”. He suggested “perhaps it would save time and money if the [Transmission] Gully project was advertised nationally and internationally, so that constructions firms with greater experience and a real commitment to the project could do the job properly.”

“Mr Dunne seems to be confused about Transit’s role in the construction process,” said Mr Michael. “Major jobs like Transmission Gully are always advertised nationally and all New Zealand firms with the capability are given the opportunity to win the contract. The industry has no concerns about the integrity of the tendering process or of Transit’s administration.

“To suggest that these jobs should be advertised internationally is a slap in the face for our New Zealand-based contractors. They have proven time and again that they can handle the complex engineering tasks that New Zealand infrastructure construction demands. We have the capacity, experience and commitment, so why look overseas?

“Our message is improve the funding system and let Transit and the New Zealand contracting industry do their jobs.”

ENDS

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