Lack of builders in Hawke’s Bay huge concern for cyclone-affected residents living in caravans

Lack of builders in Hawke's Bay huge concern for cyclone-affected residents living in caravans

On Monday, National’s cyclone recovery spokesperson Chris Penk announced its recovery plan that aims to get affected regions out of limbo. The plan has four key elements: establish a cyclone and flood recovery Ombudsman, prioritise infrastructure projects that connect communities and regions, expedite the consenting process and remove red tape, and unblock the EQC assessment pipeline.

Esk Valley resident Steve Wheeler, who has become a vocal voice for the flood-affected areas after he lost his home in the cyclone, said National’s plan would be “fantastic” but is concerned over how long it will take to implement.

“It’s just too slow… We wanted action four or five months ago,” Wheeler told co-host Laura Tupou on AM.

He noted while there has been great action in the regions with bridges being rebuilt, there are still 200-odd residents living in caravans and there is a lack of builders to resolve the issue.

Wheeler said his friend who worked as a plumber moved across the ditch with his family after he got offered a job in Australia for $90 an hour plus expenses – something he has seen across the board.

“Where are the people? We can’t find builders in Hawke’s Bay anyway,” Wheeler said.

AUT construction management professor John Tookey said New Zealand does have the builders to meet the demand in cyclone-affected regions but they are waiting on the contracts to be written.

“People don’t move unless they have contracts in place,” Tookey said.

He said the cyclone recovery will cause further inflation in building prices as builders need to be convinced to redeploy to Hawke’s Bay.

Tookey said the reality is builders may not want to move as there is plenty of work available in the cities, which will start escalating prices.

“They can’t find builders at the moment, it’s not going to get any better,” he said.

Tookey also said as a result of redeploying builders to help the recovery, other infrastructure around the country may suffer.

“As soon as you start prioritising one set of infrastructural requirements… in one region, it means you deprioritise by definition others,” Tookey said.

“Around the country, we are crying out for different levels of infrastructural investment.”

Watch the video above for more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *