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RMBF calls for urgent Government action

28 November 2008

RMBF calls for urgent Government action to remedy building crisis

The Registered Master Builders Federation said today the new National-led Government needs to deliver on election promises to reverse a deepening crisis in the building and construction industry.

RMBF chief executive Warwick Quinn said building consent figures released today by Statistics New Zealand confirmed the industry is entering a slump which will inevitably result in more company failures and significant lay-offs unless promised policy changes aren't fast-tracked.

The number of new housing consents authorised in October was the lowest monthly total for more than 16 years, at just 1,173, while the value of consents for all building work was 25% lower than in October 2007. The value of new residential building consents for the past 12 months was 15% lower than the previous year.

The two largest regions, Auckland and Canterbury, have been particularly hard hit, with consent numbers having halved. Wellington had also dropped significantly, having previously held relatively steady.

"We've been in a downturn for some months now and we're fast approaching the crisis point that we've been predicting for some time. We need urgent action on some of National's policy promises, such as reducing regulatory fees and compliance costs," Mr Quinn said.

"The Reserve Bank also has its part to play. The wider economy, not just the building and construction sector, will benefit from further interest rate cuts."

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National's election policies included pledges to reduce red tape around building consents and drive quality through stronger commercial accountability, improved building standards, and investment in skill development.

"That will be a start but work also needs to be done in making land for development more readily available."

RMBF was pleased to see that the commercial sector continued to improve, with the value of consents for the year ending October 2008 rising 7.2% on the previous 12 months, but problems with the residential sector needed to be addressed urgently.

About Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF)

* The Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) represents New Zealand's premier building companies who pride themselves on delivering the highest quality houses and buildings to their clients

* RMBF has more than 1800 Registered Master Builder member companies nationwide, who employ more than 15,000 employees and subcontractors

* RMBF members represent 65% of every dollar spent on construction

* RMBF has been in existence for more than 100 years, providing industry leadership, training and services for its members

* There are 22 regional Registered Master Builders Associations throughout New Zealand

* Registered Master Builders are assessed on their building experience, trade or professional qualifications, and practical experience before membership is approved. Re-certification of members occurs when required, with checks on their financial viability, client satisfaction and workmanship

* When engaging a Registered Master Builder for a new home, or alterations or additions (built under either full contract or a labour only contract), clients will be offered a Master Build 7-Year Guarantee, which covers loss of deposit, non-completion of the work, defective workmanship and materials and structural defects (conditions apply)


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