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Master Plumbers Says New Board Members Have Challenges Ahead

Master Plumbers Says New Board Members Have Challenges Ahead

Master Plumbers welcomes the appointment of new members to the industry’s registration body, the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, but warns they have challenges ahead.

The Board is responsible for administering the registration and licensing systems of plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers . The Government has today announced the appointment of new board members Craig O’Connell, Sue Simons and Ian Rowe, replacing former Board members Hazel Armstrong, Stephen Parker and Mark Whitehead.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers is the trade organisation that represents over 60% of the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry. Master Plumbers’ President Ray Galt paid tribute to the hard work of the former board members.

“They have played an important role in starting to address the issues identified in an inquiry by the Auditor-General in 2008,” says Mr Galt.

“In particular we acknowledge the contribution of Mark Whitehead, who is a former Chair of our industry group training scheme MasterLink and a former President and Chair and current Board member of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ Inc.”

“Mark has been a highly effective member of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, and has made sure the industry’s concerns were well represented. “

“All the retiring Board members have committed themselves to tackling the complex problems identified in the Auditor General’s report, and we expect the new Board members to continue the progress that is starting to be made.”

Mr Galt says there has been positive progress under the Board’s new Chief Executive, Max Pedersen.

“Communication with the industry is vastly improved and the Board is being much more open about its plans, for example, publishing its Strategic Plan and inviting comment.”

Mr Galt says progress has been made on addressing problems with the examination system. All plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers must pass the Board’s examinations before being registered and licensed, but the Auditor General’s report found there were unanswerable questions in some examination papers, and mistakes in some questions that would make them unnecessarily difficult to answer, leading to a high failure rate.

“As a result of the Board’s review of the examination system last year the pass rate is improving, which is a positive development. We now look forward to rapid progress on integrating the registration exam more closely with the National Certificate qualification that apprentices work towards.”

“The Board is also making progress on setting out the competencies that trades people must demonstrate, which will form the basis of registration and licensing requirements, with consultation underway.

However Mr Galt says there are still some major challenges ahead.

“In particular, a critical area where we need to see progress is in the review of registration and licensing policies. The Auditor General’s report noted the importance of comprehensive, clear and practical policies and procedures and made a number of recommendations in this area. Sound policies with a clear legal basis must underpin all the Board’s activities, and are fundamental to practitioners.”

“The Board also faces the challenge of keeping costs to a minimum, because our industry is not willing to see fees increase.”

“We recognise that the Board has a huge workload to clean up the chaos created by the previous dysfunctional administration. Progress has been made but there is still much to do, including addressing some of the other recommendations from the Auditor-General such as reviewing registration of overseas trained trades people.”

"After the Auditor-General’s report was released, Master Plumbers said the Board should be given until June this year to get its act together. We are now of the view that the Board is doing its best to work with, and for, the sector. "

“We would like things to happen more quickly, but at the same time we recognise that it is vital for the Board to get it right, especially in critical areas such as policy development.”

“The Board’s Strategic Plan covers the issues that we want to see it paying attention to, and the test is now whether it can deliver on that plan within the timeframes it has set itself.”

“The Board can be sure Master Plumbers will be keeping on its case,” says Mr Galt.

ENDS

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