Government opposes better protection for builders

The New Zealand National Party

The Government is blocking a law change that would better protect builders and construction firms from losing money on Government projects, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.

Mr Bayly introduced an amendment to the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga Bill into Parliament on Wednesday, which Labour, NZ First and the Green Party all voted against.

The amendment would have required the new Infrastructure Commission to review selected tender processes of government agencies and councils to ensure they met best practice.

The commission would have been tasked with looking at risk allocation. Its results would also have been made public so that any learnings would be available to other parties.

“Government agencies are still seeking to impose inappropriate contracts on building and construction firms, which mean contracting parties are exposed to most of the risks associated with the project,” Mr Bayly says.

“The burden this is placing on the industry was a recurring complaint at last week’s Constructive Forum, organised by the NZ Registered Master Builders Association.

“Under current legislation, all risks associated with government contracts are meant to be identified and allocated to those parties best able to manage them. Unfortunately, this does not happen in reality with most of the risk ending up with the builder or construction firm.

“In the event of failure, this can adversely impact sub-contractors – the most vulnerable people in the construction industry.

“My proposed amendment would have delivered a practical response to this undesirable practice but the Government, regrettably, voted it down on Wednesday night.

“The construction industry is crying out for solutions to this problem, not the petty politics it’s getting from the Government. Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa have both been missing in action on this issue.

“National, meanwhile, is being proactive and supporting the 250,000 people employed in this important industry, which is being let down by the Government’s inaction.”

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