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Government Abandons Construction Industry


Government has demonstrated its contempt for developers and the construction industry in its handling of the Ihumātao protest.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has this morning tried to simplify this issue, suggesting it is about talks between Maori who are seeking a “for Maori by Maori solution.” She has said the Government’s role is to support talks taking place.

“In this message the government has distanced itself from its legal obligations to protect private land ownership, and has thereby created far reaching uncertainty for all construction companies committing to land development,” says Leighton Baker, New Conservative leader.

The government’s failure to achieve any effective solution in the construction of homes will be further compounded by the uncertainty that has arisen from the situation at Ihumātao.

“Developments of this scale are essential to make real in-roads into the housing targets set by Government,” continues Baker, “but if a developer cannot have confidence in the legal rights of land ownership, then further investment will come to a stand still.”

The occupation at Ihumātao has already been used as a catalyst for similar action in regard to a housing development at Shelly Bay in Wellington.

This uncertainty is further evidenced in the July 2019 ANZ Business Outlook Survey, reporting that residential building intentions were falling into negative territory, and 33% of firms intended to cut jobs with an expectation of lower activity.

In addition to the government’s failure to provide assurance around property rights, it has done nothing to mitigate the impact to the industry with respect to the sub-contractors who would have committed staff and resources to scheduled works that have now been suspended.

“The flow on effect on small business and hardworking trades people who were relying on this forward work has been ignored. If the government cannot recognise the impact that halting this development will have, then there is little surprise that they have been unable to deliver on their housing targets,” says Leighton Baker.

New Conservative has highlighted the importance of investing in trade training and supporting the construction industry to achieve real outcomes for New Zealanders.

“The failure of this Government to uphold lawful property rights will have long term impacts and is evidence of a total lack of understanding of the construction industry,” concludes Baker.

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