The NZ Chinese Building Industry Association says the construction sector will need international help to achieve the Government’s plan to bring forward significant spending on infrastructure projects.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced $12 billion of new infrastructure investment last week – $8 billion for specific capital projects, $4 billion to be added to the multi-year capital allowance.
The $8 billion’s split:
- $6.8 billion for new transport projects, including a significant portion for roads & rail
- $400 million one-off increase to schools’ capital funding
- $300 million for regional investment opportunities
- $300 million for district health board asset renewal, and
- $200 million for public estate decarbonisation.
Mr Robertson said: “The new investment is forecast to increase the size of the economy by a further $10 billion over 5 years, with further positive impacts on gdp beyond that period. The specific projects will be announced in early 2020.”
NZ Chinese Building Industry Association president Frank Xu said it would be a whopping challenge, but the co-operation in the NZ-Chinese dairy sector was a constructive model to meet it.
“Infometrics’ latest Infrastructure Pipeline Profile forecast shows $138 billion of infrastructure spending is planned across New Zealand. When you add this to the Government’s announcement & the total building construction value in the National Construction Pipeline Report – about $35-40 billion/year for the next 10 years – you have a whopping amount that we will not have the capacity to deliver with resources from within New Zealand alone.”
Speaking at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade event in Auckland on Chinese investment in New Zealand, Mr Xu said history showed New Zealand didn’t have the capacity to keep up with such demand by itself, which had contributed to the housing crisis.
“Overseas partnerships can be a constructive way to help us address our challenge. For example, after more than 30 years of heavy investment & development in its own infrastructure & construction projects, China has all the things we need – not only funding but also the experience, skills, people & technology.
“The 2 economies are highly complementary, particularly since the recent signing of the free trade agreement upgrade. If the original 2008 FTA helped the NZ economy to lift out of the GFC quickly & strongly – with 2-way trade from $8.2 billion in the year ended June 2007 to recently exceeding $32 billion, I argue that this latest FTA upgrade will help us to meet our infrastructure & housing challenge.”
Mr Xu said the dairy industry can show a constructive & productive way forward: “The dairy sector is a great example for the infrastructure sector to follow. Comprehensive bilateral engagement between our 2 countries on dairy is driving bilateral investment – from NZ into China and China into NZ – and trade in our strongest merchandise sector. It is also leading to scientific exchange among public & private sectors inside & outside of the bilateral arrangements: government-to-government agreements, student exchanges and representation at food safety & quality events in both countries.
“So, if co-operation can do this for the dairy industry, why not also for our infrastructure & building industry?”
Mr Xu said the NZ Chinese Building Industry Association & its members were already encouraging increased NZ-Chinese co-operation, as shown by:
The association & China Construction Bank NZ Ltd (CCBNZ) proactively promoting state-of-the-art Chinese-made construction machinery to New Zealand infrastructure projects, with CCBNZ able to offer loans to enable purchases
The building industry association has been facilitating trade apprentice training through Unitec & Sichuan College of Architecture & Technology. The Sichuan college has many excellent training facilities which reflect the real construction environment, such as curtain wall installation, brick/blocklaying, and lift & escalator installation. Such facilities can help New Zealand to fast-track trade apprentice training
Association member Changda International NZ Ltd has partnered local consulting company Cadenza Consortium Ltd (John Dalzell) to introduce Chinese volumetric prefab products to several Auckland projects. Auckland Council visited the Chinese prefab manufacturer CIMC Modular Building Systems Holding Co Ltd as part of the quality assessment process to ensure the prefab products comply with the New Zealand building code.
Mr Xu commented: “Things are happening at a project & business level. It is now time for central & local governments to act in the best interest of New Zealand by obtaining the much-needed funding, skills, labour & technology to meet this significant challenge.”
The NZ Chinese Building Industry Association is a non-profit professional organisation which represents a wide range of businesses & professionals in the building industry in New Zealand as well as Kiwi businesses & professionals that have close working relationship with the Chinese building industry.
Attribution: NZ Chinese Building Industry Association, Finance Minister.