CCNZ updateComment

Stronger together – the value of membership

Alan Pollard, CCNZ Chief Executive, with Prime Minister Chris Luxon
Alan Pollard, Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive.

I have frequently written of late of the major challenges that the civil sector is facing, primarily around the lack of a committed programme of work and the need for immediate economic stimulus to ensure a healthy industry.

I thought I would focus this article on the importance of a well organised industry, united to ensure that our voice is heard by those who make decisions that will profoundly impact our members.

When things get tough, it is a natural reaction to cut as much cost out of a business as possible to protect the bottom line. We know things are pretty tough now. In making that assessment I’d encourage members to consider the value that attaches to each of those expenditure items, including making decisions on whether to renew CCNZ membership.

The CCNZ value proposition manifests itself in four key areas

First, CCNZ has gained access to several preferential buying arrangements, including discounts via our n3 on-account and trade discount cards, subsidised health care, and discounted fuel. Members regularly save between $5 million and $9m annually just with n3 on-account discounts and the n3 card, which can be supplied free to all staff members in your business.

I accept this is most likely to benefit our small to medium members, with larger members able to negotiate their own discounts based on volume.

However, for small to medium businesses, the discounts available to the business and the staff will often pay for the annual CCNZ membership fee itself. If you are unsure about making the best out of these benefits, please contact your CCNZ Regional Manager.

CCNZ also has an arrangement with Core Associate, Dentons, who offer 15 minutes of free legal advice for members who may have a legal question or issue, and a group health insurance policy that covers pre-existing conditions.

Second, membership provides regional and national forums (branch meetings and events, and national conference and events).

This is where members can connect with each other to learn about new or emerging industry issues, to build new working relationships, to use other members as a sounding board, or simply to relax and enjoy each other’s company – when times are tough it is important to take time out, relax, and socialise.

These meetings and events are very popular and can lead to great opportunities. But they require members to make the effort to attend and engage – the rewards will match the time put in.

Third, CCNZ develops best practice guidelines, templates, and tools to help members navigate the rules, regulations, and compliance requirements that impact our industry. Ordinarily, we have an opportunity to help shape what those look like, which means that members can have a say on these to make sure that they are fit for purpose as our members see and prefer them.

The association, through our Technical Manager, offers workshops and webinars to help members to understand requirements and embed them in their businesses.

Fourth and finally, we advocate on behalf of members on matters that will significantly impact our members and their businesses – most recently we have advocated on such things as the work pipeline; training and education; immigration; legislative changes such as water reform and resource management reform; local government plans; employment and industrial relations changes; and much more.

Our association is recognised by Central and Local Government (we are a majority owner of Local Government magazine) and clients as a credible, trusted, and reliable voice for the civil construction industry. The important feature of our advocacy work is that we can point to being an industry association with over 530 contractor members and over 300 associate members.

I wouldn’t want to understate just how important and powerful that strong membership representation is. Governments and officials prefer to work with few organisations who can demonstrate a strong collective voice with a strong mandate, and CCNZ continues to be well positioned to represent the horizontal construction industry.

I have heard the comment that non-members will just also benefit from the work that CCNZ does, so where is the differentiated value for members. It is true that our advocacy will help shape laws, regulation and policy that will apply to all civil constructors, whether members or not.

But, I would equally point to these key differentiators. While the outcomes of our advocacy may apply to all constructors, our members help shape our advocacy through engagement and meetings in such a way that may be fit for purpose for our members, but not necessarily so for non-members. And as I have mentioned above, the collective voice will most likely trump the individual voice.

Members have access to information, knowledge, tools, and templates that non-members don’t, and members are supported through change processes with key information and resources, when non-members aren’t.

Members are therefore seen as collaborative industry leaders, that contribute to decision making, while non-members must follow.

I think there is also another key consideration. Clients want to have confidence that whoever they entrust with their project work will act with honesty and integrity; will apply the highest levels of health and safety; will bring the latest systems, processes and technologies to the project including sustainable project delivery; and will bring efficiencies to maximise the value of the projects that are developed and delivered through experience or from operating within an organised collective.

I know that clients respect and value CCNZ membership, with our Code of Ethics, best practice guidelines, and structured and organised support. They like that we are prepared to work with them to deliver the best outcomes for the community, while at the same time being prepared to advocate alongside them on matters of mutual interest and concern. While procurement processes are inevitably conducted in a competitive market, I have no doubt that being a CCNZ member is a valuable attribute for clients.

In 2024 we celebrate 80 years of representation for civil construction. We will be hosting sessions exploring our history at our main event – The Civil Contractors Conference in Invercargill next month.

Our value proposition today is just a sound as it was when Dan Sloan, at Public Works Minister Bob Semple’s suggestion, mobilised a group of likeminded contractors (including Noel Margan) to form the New Zealand Associated General Contractors Federation in July 1944.

The phrase “Stronger Together” has never been more important than it is today.

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