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Electrical Workers Licensing Group transfer

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for Building Issues

1 September 2006 Media Statement
Electrical Workers Licensing Group transfer

The transfer of the Electrical Workers Licensing Group to the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) today is another step in providing improved and integrated services for the building and housing sector, says the Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove.

The organisation has shifted from the Ministry of Economic Development. The Group provides registration and complaints assessment services to the Electrical Workers Registration Board, and is responsible for certifying the ongoing competency of the country’s 38,000 electrical and electronic workers.

“This organisation plays an important role in a large industry,” Mr Cosgrove said. "Bringing it under the umbrella of the DBH will benefit consumers and the building and construction industry."

Mr Cosgrove said nothing will change in the way electrical and electronic workers have their registrations processed, and the same staff will be doing the job.

“In terms of service provision, it is very much business as usual,” he said. “The public will be able to make complaints about electricians or get information via the usual channels, or by linking through from the DBH website www.dbh.govt.nz"

Mr Cosgrove said the transfer would allow for greater efficiencies and the pooling of expertise in managing occupational licensing within the building sector.

Other occupations overseen by the DBH include chartered engineers, associate engineers and architects, as well as the establishment of 13 licensed building practitioner classes. The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Registration Board will transfer to the Department of Building and Housing in 2008.

“This Government has embarked upon a suite of reforms to raise standards across the building sector,” Mr Cosgrove said. " We are getting rid of the cowboys by introducing licenses for those who design and build while at the same time protecting the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture, enhancing the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service to achieve faster, better outcomes for home owners, introducing a financial assistance pilot for the worst affected owners of leaky homes, investigating a home warranty insurance scheme, product certification, auditing and accrediting Building Consent Authorities and reviewing the Building Code, among other measures.

Mr Cosgrove said today's transfer is part of a substantial reform and development programme to help ensure that buildings and homes are built right the first time.

--

Background Information

What is the Electrical Workers Licensing Group (EWLG)?
The Group provides registration and complaints assessment services to the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB), and is responsible for certifying the ongoing competency of about 38,000 registered electrical and electronics workers. It has a staff of 11 and an operating budget of $3.6 million.

What is happening?
The EWLG is being transferred from the Ministry of Economic Development to the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) today, 1 September 2006. The move does not involve any job losses nor require additional staff.

Why is this being done?
The transfer is part of a suite of Government reforms to provide improved and integrated services to the building sector and the public, and to bring occupational licensing in the sector under one "roof".

What will it cost?
There has been no additional Government funding for the transfer, with costs being absorbed within the funding baselines of the Department of Building and Housing and the Ministry of Economic Development.

What are the benefits of the transfer?
The transfer will allow for greater efficiencies in the delivery of occupational licensing services within the building and housing sector. The DBH has oversight of a range of occupational licensing schemes. The integration of licensing services will achieve greater synergies and a more consistent approach to occupational licensing board appointments and monitoring, as well as better support and advice for the boards and the Building Issues Minister.
The DBH is responsible for the introduction of the licensed building practitioners regime and from today, the licensing of electricians. It also oversees the boards that licence architects, engineers and associate engineers. The administrative responsibility for appointing and monitoring the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Registration Board will transfer from the Ministry of Health to the Department in January 2008.

What will change?
It will be very much business as usual. Nothing will change in the way electrical and electronic workers are registered, and the same staff will be doing the job. To add to a seamless transition, the Group’s contact details will remain unchanged.

How can consumers make a complaint?
Consumers will be able to make complaints in exactly the same manner as they do currently. They can download a complaint form from the Electrical Workers Registration Board website at www.ewrb.govt.nz, or by writing to the Electrical Workers Licensing Group, at PO Box 10 156, Wellington, or through the Group’s call centre on 0800 661 000. Further information on the Electrical Workers Licensing Group will be available on the Department of Building and Housing website at www.dbh.govt.nz from September 1.

ENDS

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