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Canterbury rebuild

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, May 13th, 2011 - 24 comments
Categories: disaster, jobs - Tags:

Steven Joyce has just announced.

“Up to $42 million will be set aside in next week’s Budget to train people involved in Canterbury’s rebuild.”

“The package including up to 3000 more construction-related training places in polytechnics around the country.”

Lets just concentrate on what I know, Carpentry, did you know that it takes 8000 hrs to train a Carpenter. That’s about 4 years from the time you start your apprenticeship till you can call yourself a tradesman.

Now a few Carpenters will mature faster than others, and will go building on their own after finishing their time, some will stay working for the company that trained them, but in the present climate with wages falling & the cost of living going up, these Carpenters/builders are going to get on a plane and earn 30% more over the ditch in Ozzy, surf, party and have a ball.

There is an old saying (have trade will travel). So yes, once trained, they are mostly going to fly to Ozzy for better money, because the money here is Crap!.

Instead of Steven Joyce wasting our money, he would have been better offering builders and other tradesman the same money they can make in Ozzy, $42 mil goes a long way.

There are hundreds if not thousands of builders and tradesman in Ozzy right now, that would come home in a heart beat, if only they new they could get work and decent wages. In fact, they continue to head over there even now. Statistics New Zealand says at least 4,200 building industry workers left the country in the past year.

Once home, then the Government could encourage them “Our tradesmen” to train “Our” youth.

But as we know, logic and common scene are something this lot missed out on.


24 comments on “Canterbury rebuild ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “So yes, once trained, they are mostly going to fly to Ozzy for better money, because the money here is Crap!”
    And yet building a house works out to the same, or maybe slightly less, than simply buying an existing house. We’re routinely told that houses are over-valued and prices are due for a correction (fall).
    So why does it cost so much to build new houses? My money is on the raw materials and the furnishing/fittings – stuff like plumbing, light fittings and door knobs just seem ridiculously expensive in this country.

    • MrSmith 1.1

      Reasons houses are expensive? One reason is so they don’t all fall over every time we have an earth quake, something that a lot of people have overlooked, is that most houses in Canterbury are still standing because of good regulation and workmanship.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        So essentially all the commentators and the stats showing that houses in NZ are over-priced compared to historical price/income ratios are wrong? Our houses cost a lot because they’re actually good quality, and that’s what quality costs?

        • Rich

          It isn’t the construction cost, it’s the land element.

          Building cost is a function of wages and material costs. Land is a function of supply, driven by a tax system that rewards property speculation over working for a living.

          • weka

            While I agree with you about land issues, people generally count the cost of the building separate from the land, and building costs have gone up.

        • weka

          Building a house in NZ is expensive because we build bigger houses now than we used to (unnecessarily so). There have also been changes to building consent processes that mean higher costs. Not all of those changes are good or necessary and at least some of it’s come from the paranoia post-leaky buildings. Councils are covering their arses majorly, and home builders are paying for that. This is separate from the sensible quake proofing codes we have. If you talk to builders who’ve been in the industry for several decades, they talk about recent changes (last ten to fiften years?) in building regulations that are increasing costs across the board (council fees, design fees, building costs).

          • Lanthanide

            So you don’t think the cost of materials is particularly high compared to other countries?

            • weka

              Not sure about that, but would assume those things are more expensive here than in other places just like alot of our other goods. I was comparing the cost of building a house now to say 20 years ago to when my parents built a house in the 50s. Alot has changed in that time, but has the relative cost of building materials and fixtures and fittings gone up?

              I do know that there’s not much secondhand market for such things which means they’re probably going in the landfill. That’s most likely happening in Chch now (I hear varying reports on that), but it speaks also to the change in our ideas about what is important. We could be building cheaper houses but we prefer to have higher mortgages and prettier things. It’s more complicated than that of course, because modern houses are built to certain specifications for ease so if you use older, differently sized materials they may take more work hence more labour costs. But then in the 1950s my parents (and a builder mate) built their own home cheaply still using all new materials. It’s much harder for owner builders to build cheaply now because of changes in the council costs and regulations.

              • PeteG

                There’s added specs and more extras in houses now compared to 50 years ago, in addition to bigger floor area and multi car garages.

                Electrical wiring and fittings, communications and entertainment wiring, plumbing (often additional bathrooms), insulation, double glazing, heating and ventilation, appliances (kitchen and laundry), floor coverings will all add up to substantially more time and materials.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And still the standards aren’t up to scratch. We still build cold houses that require huge amounts of heating rather than going the cheaper and more sustainable route of building warmer houses that need far less heating. In fact, it’s possible to build houses that don’t any heating at all.

                  • weka

                    Not sure what it would take to get passive solar and other green techs written into the building code.

                    I do know that if you want to build a house that uses green tech (especially if it’s new here) it’s more expensive partly due to the council costs eg you have to get special engineering reports if you want to build certain kinds of strawbale. Many councils have been dragging the chain on this instead of fostering innovation and development.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Not sure what it would take to get passive solar and other green techs written into the building code.

                      Just keep making noise and eventually they’ll listen.

                      I do know that if you want to build a house that uses green tech it’s more expensive…

                      The house is more expensive to build, yes, but the whole of life costs are far cheaper. Best way to save is to minimise use of what we have.

                    • weka

                      That’s true. I was meaning that those upfront costs are one of the things that makes building a house more expensive now (re the earlier convo).

                      Besides home owning is seen as an investment now, so why bother with those long term strategies that someone else will benefit from 😉

              • MrSmith

                In the 50s houses where mostly built out of native timber, native timber floors, native weatherboards, native timber framing, native timber windows, native timber doors. We cut all the trees down.
                We continue to just dig stuff up or cut it down thinking it will never run out, we continue to pollute our air and water thinking there is no cost, we are now starting to pay for our own greed and stupidity and the costs are only going to keep mounting & as Rob said resonantly we just keep on driving towards the edge of the cliff .

        • MrSmith


          Building cost is not what the post is about, but I will try and answer your ?s anyway.

          “Our houses cost a lot because they’re actually good quality”

          The short answer is yes. In the Haiti quake 70% of the houses where destroyed.

          Also there are lots of factors that contribute to the cost of a house.

          Location, subdivision costs, engineers, services eg sewer,storm-water,power,etc, materials / commodities, Labour, plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers, etc

  2. Ed 2

    I am told that there are tradesmen in Christchurch who cannot find work – insurance and approvals are regulating the amount of work, rather than the availability of workers. That may not be in all trades, but was given as a reason why some are moving to Australia – it is not just the pay, but being able to work at all.

    • Rich 2.1

      That is down to Brownlee. He has taken on massive arbitrary powers, but isn’t actually using many of them (possibly because it would annoy his rich mates).

      They could set up a system where anyone with a skill (and even unskilled workers, it doesn’t take an apprenticeship to shift rubble or dig holes) could go along and get allocated a job and paid a reasonable wage. That would get the streets cleared and the sewers mended. they’ve had three months – they could even have put it on a proper, accountable, statutory basis in that time.

      But they won’t do that, because it would undermine their rich mates who want to charge through the nose while underpaying their workforce.

  3. Jenny 3

    There are very few institutions teaching with qualified staff from the building industry. My hubby is a lecturer and is horrified at some of the “passes” he recieves from other institutions. Many students have to be taken back to the basics and taken onto building sites to be shown what to do. If they’re going to rebuild CHCH, experience is required and the basics known. “Cowboys” shouldn’t be anywhere near CHCH.

  4. Samuel Hill 4

    Comparing our houses to Haiti doesn’t make any sense. We were the 3rd richest country in the world 50 years ago. A great deal of NZ houses are crap. They leak, they’re cold, and many of them look temporary. A major reason houses are so expensive, is that most farmers, and wealthy folk, have more than one house. The building boom didn’t come about because of an increase in population, it came about because people decided that having a bach at places like Papamoa, Pauanui and Whangamata would be a nice investment and a nice place for a holiday. Urban sprawl is a major problem in this country. We all want the ‘NZ Dream’ of a quarter acre paradise. Well, now nobody can afford it. Who in their right mind would buy a house in their twenties now? Who even has enough money for one? The more land that is being used and occupied the higher prices are gonna go.

    There are more houses in this country than needed. What we should have been building is apartment buildings, and office blocks.

    Paying builders shit loads of money isn’t gonna change much. I agree, we do need need skilled builders for CHCH and maybe we should be enticing Kiwis to come back – maybe we should be invitiing skilled builders from all over the world to come here. But either way we have to be training people for our future. Engineering is one discipline we are lacking in skilled workers. The longer we delay a huge investment in education and training then the sooner NZ is going to become ACT’s paradise – A Tax Haven of 2 million people with aristocratic farmers and bankers, being waited on hand and foot by hospitality workers. Sorry Christchurch, but unless you want to actually be a futuristic, eco-city, I think all this talk about the HUGE INVESTMENT that will happen in Christchurch is going to be all talk. Australian Government just announced 150,000 Apprenticeships. Kiwi kids don’t have any reason to stay in New Zealand when they can go to Australia and have much more opportunity. It takes just as long to fly from Sydney to Auckland as it does from Invercargill to Auckland, so they aren’t going to worry about missing mummy and daddy.

    Unless somebody in power can come up with a very ambitious and innovative plan, then all we are going to see is a slow, lathargic rebuild of Christchurch. What our PM should be doing is using all his business skill to sell the idea that CHCH is going to be the city of the future, then he might actually get some huge investment from overseas. People will want to test their ideas, let some great architects come here and revolutionize building in this country.

    But we’ve lost all that ambition haven’t we? I think we know whats going to happen unless we start standing up for our country this year. We’re being over run by the baby boomer financial crowd. The children of those who fought for our freedom and equality, are now the driving force behind destroying our communities.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      What our PM should be doing is using all his business skill to sell the idea that CHCH is going to be the city of the future

      John Key is a money trader who motivated his team with huge money bonuses. How does that apply to rebuilding Christchurch? I dont think it does.

      He does not have business skills – as in skills to create a team and actually grow and run a productive business.

      And today with his millions, he still doesn’t do that. He *invests* capital in productive businesses, that’s all.

      • Samuel Hill 4.1.1

        Correct. I honestly think National head hunted John Key because of his ability to read numbers and what they mean. E.G. He is the best reader of polls they could find. Thats why he is able to thrash Phil Goff in the House, because Goff and everyone else knows that if Goff doesn’t win, he won’t be Labour leader anymore. And he won’t win.

        • Colonial Viper

          Thats why he is able to thrash Phil Goff in the House


          Phil smashes Key in the House regularly. Key is just smarmy and evasive.

          Problem is that people still warm to Key’s routine of smile and wave on camera.

  5. Alwyn 5

    Isn’t it amazing how fast opinions change. Back on March 16, 2011 Eddie was attacking the Government and applauding Phil Goff who was demanding that the Government do more trade traning.
    Now when the Government does so it becomes a terrible thing.
    I know you say that the authors here are independent but would Eddie like to comment whether the Guest Poster is wrong or, alternatively, will Guest Poster say that Phil Goff was talking rubbish in March?

  6. MrSmith 6

    Alwyn, you seem to be trying to put a lot of words in our mouths.

    From the post: 

    “Once home, then the Government could encourage them “Our tradesmen” to train “Our” youth.”

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