By Peter Silcock, CEO, CCNZ.
You may have noticed a surge in CCNZ membership featuring in the back page of Contractor magazine over the past few editions, with more than 20 new members joining in the past couple of months.
I can think of a few reasons why. We have put a lot of effort into upgrading our membership systems to deliver more value to members online, and more than 2,300 people have attended our webinars since March.
We have provided a lot of advice on everything from construction contracts and the procurement pipeline to workforce development. And we have worked hard to provide a strong and consistent voice for the industry through a time of crisis and turmoil.
Members have given a lot of positive feedback around the role we played getting the industry back to work as soon as possible with clear, consistent and timely information. As we navigate the fallout from Covid-19 over the next year, the CCNZ will continue to play a key role in representing the industry’s views and the strong role civil construction can and must take in the country’s recovery.
The CCNZ is the voice of the civil construction industry.
Having a broad membership means we provide representation for the whole industry, from SMEs and suppliers to large contractors. We provide detailed feedback on everything from regional work conditions and advocacy to national codes of practice.
This balance is also present at a governance level, with all of industry represented on our executive council. The whole-of-industry viewpoint we offer is proving its value as we move to a more collaborative environment.
Our advocacy through more than 250+ meetings and submissions over the past year has led to big gains in status and recognition for the civil construction industry. We achieved a lot, from input on the establishment of the Infrastructure Commission and creation of the Construction Accord to big wins in the procurement and construction contracts space, including a ‘procurement reset’ providing fairer contract terms and agreement to a review of standard contracts.
Members join the CCNZ because they want to be part of a proactive network of professional contractors and ensure that we have a safe, viable and progressive industry. They value having an organisation run by and working for contractors – and opportunities to save money through the shared buying power an association can offer.
Our relationship with n3, the CCNZ’s trade discount partner, topped member saving of four million dollars this year. Each CCNZ member actively using n3 saved more than $10,000 on average.
Adding to this the value of Z fuel discounts, 15 minutes free legal advice from Dentons Kensington Swan, group health insurance with nib and Advice Financial and other discounts, CCNZ members have saved more than five million dollars through membership in the past year alone. This amount is nearly triple our annual membership subscription fees.
To our members who work hard to provide input into our executive council, branches, surveys, technical committees, awards and excavator competitions at a regional and national level, thank you.
Your work is important, and it is appreciated.
I have encountered many of you at local meetings, awards evenings and during normal business. It’s a pleasure to support such a resilient, positive and essential industry. If you need support or just another perspective, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Announcements aplenty, but where’s the work?
Every week at the moment, we see another announcement about a major infrastructure investment or transformative change. We ended the year in a very strange place.
After two years of advocacy we saw the 10-year $6.8 billion NZ Upgrade Programme released and announcements around ‘shovel-ready projects’.
But that work isn’t here yet.
And since then, local government and some private clients have gone into their own sort of post-pandemic lockdown in terms of issuing ‘emergency budgets’ rather than tenders.
The reality is that “shovel ready” is a relative term and mostly it doesn’t mean the project can start today.
And every week the work is delayed means more people are losing their jobs and the future of contractors and subcontractors is put at risk.
More recently, announcements about water reform, saw $761 million earmarked for local water infrastructure upgrades, on the condition councils merge water capabilities. This should provide better planning and procurement. It is great news!
The disappointing thing was the lack of a timeframe – a recurring theme at a time when we are waiting on details of more than 100 projects Government has agreed to on principle, but not publicly released at the time of writing.
The drip-feed is frustrating.
The “shovel ready” projects announced so far are a good mix, with several pretty much ready to go. If the selection of the remainder matches up with those, it will be a decent result. The reality is that right now contractors in many parts of the country are desperate for more work. Deferred private and local government work is having a massive impact on contractors.
Hopefully, the central government water and project funding will at least give local government a nudge to get their tenders moving again.
The CCNZ has repeatedly told government the industry desperately needs work right now to retain existing staff, and we also need to get started on engineering, design and planning for projects to come to market next year.
While getting large projects over the line takes time, there is also work that can get underway very quickly, such as maintenance and upgrades to existing infrastructure, which are much-needed in many parts of the country.
Your association will continue raising concerns and exploring solutions. I hope by the time you read this, we will have a clearer idea of the work ahead from clients so we can have the certainty we need to put those shovels to work, rather than just keeping them at the ready.