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Earthquake exposes training shortfall

Kaikoura’s earthquakes have exposed the Government’s under investment in critical building and construction skills training, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“The Government needs to urgently ramp up the training of Kiwis in construction and engineering in the wake of the recent earthquakes.

“This disaster is putting extra pressure stress on a building and construction industry already stretched to breaking point by Auckland’s infrastructure and housing deficit, and a depleted workforce.

“Industry sources say at least 1,000 extra workers may be needed for the earthquake recovery and rebuild alone.

“The Government should listen the experts. Warwick Quinn of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) says the Government “didn’t train effectively for the best part of seven years” after the GFC. This left the workforce so depleted that the Government had to import tradespeople to rebuild Christchurch. Now, after the recent quakes Steven Joyce is again talking about importing more workers from overseas.

“This again shows appalling planning on the Government’s part. John Key would rather focus on tax cuts than investing in what the economy really needs to cope with the challenges it faces right now.

“There are 74,000 young Kiwis not in training, education or employment and National is ignoring this valuable pool of talent. National should learn from its mistakes, and invest much more pro-actively in training Kiwis to do the full range of trades and professions needed by a construction industry that has a huge pipeline of work ahead of it,” says Phil Twyford.