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Connected thinking

Connected thinking - Contractor Mag - Oct 2017 - Featured Image

By the time you read this the election will be all over. Depending on the result, we will have a government, or we will be watching the fun and games as coalition partners negotiate.

Whichever party/coalition is in power they face some real challenges to deliver on the numerous election promises they have made.

If it is a coalition government, there will need to be some renegotiation of bottom lines/priorities and some reconciliation of conflicting policy positions.

The new government will need to step back and take a strategic approach to what it does and ensure that there is some connected up thinking.


All parties have been talking about increased infrastructure investment which is great. But to deliver on that we need skilled people and strong incentives for both big and small business owners to invest in their people and plant.

  • We need to create an environment that supports the construction and maintenance of the country’s  infrastructure
  • Schools need to prepare and encourage our bright and talented young people to be in technical and trade roles rather than trying to push everyone into a university degree.
  • We need policies that encourage and support employers to take on young people and help them develop relevant technical and trade skills through work experience.
  • We need to support young people to get basic skills such as driver licences so they are work ready.
  • We need to review, simplify and streamline heavy vehicle licencing to create a competency rather than time based system.
  • We need better government procurement to eliminate the waste of both contractor and government resources created by bad procurement practices, lack of continuity of work and outdated master – servant contract relationships.
  • We need targeted immigration to meet our current skill gaps (these are not necessarily people with degrees).
  • We need to ensure that our supply of aggregates is not strangled by Nimbys (not in my back yard) using the RMA to stifle development.


Another hot topic for all parties is housing. We cannot separate housing from infrastructure. Without roads, power, water and communications it is pretty difficult to build and/or occupy a house.

It is the infrastructure that needs to come first.

So, if we want to solve our housing problems we need to connect our thinking. Either we need to build houses where there is infrastructure with capacity or we need to build more infrastructure. While there is no single silver bullet connected thinking is essential. The list above applies as much to building as it does to infrastructure.


It was interesting to see both of our major parties battle it out on this issue during the election campaign. There is no doubt that this will quite rightly be a high priority with any government.

Finding long term solutions is not easy. But we all know that this isn’t simply about handing out more social welfare money, it is about empowering people with skills, knowledge, the right attitude and most importantly jobs.

We need to make sure that we don’t feed the cycle we are trying to break.

There are jobs available for people with the right attitude.

The civil contracting industry has a proud track record of employing and developing people that do not have a lot of formal qualifications or even skills but are prepared to step up, contribute and learn.

This article first appeared in Contractor October 2017.

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