09 November 2012

New Zealand construction to outstrip Australia, predicts largest company

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Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, has predicted the construction industry in New Zealand to outpace that across the Tasman over the next year.

New Zealand visa

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, expects the building trade in New Zealand to outpace Australia in the next year.

Fuelled by the rebuilding project in Christchurch, Fletcher Building's general manager, Philip King, says he expects construction in residential and commercial projects in New Zealand to increase over the next year while those in Australia slow.

Australian construction has propped its country's economy up in recent years but as the mining boom slows so too has construction; Mr King says infrastructure construction will be the only sector of the industry to remain higher than New Zealand.

"What we're seeing is Australia has been slowing down over the last 15 months in their new housing consents and New Zealand has been picking up at the same time," said Mr King.

"Australia has quite strong housing over the last several years where New Zealand reached all time lows with its housing, exacerbated of course with what has happen in Canterbury.

"Now we've got the situation where accommodation in Canterbury is ready to be rebuilt and is gaining momentum, the Auckland property market is picking up and residential consents in New Zealand are starting to grow quite reasonably whereas Australia has seen a pronounced slow down."

According to Statistics New Zealand, the number of residential consents issue in the year to June was up 14% on the same period last year, while the same statistic according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics fell by 12%.

"The future outlook means the level of work going forward over the next few years is going to be substantially better."

Jenny Espiner, visa processing manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says the recent boom in Australia has depleted New Zealand's skilled workforce and as the construction industry picks up again, there will be plenty of opportunity for skilled foreign workers.

"With higher wages and an abundance of opportunity readily available in Australia, you couldn't blame Kiwis for making the move," said Ms Espiner.

"However, the Australian mining boom is slowing now and New Zealand has plenty of construction projects of its own in the pipeline.

"It's great to see such a large corporation speaking up for the future of New Zealand's industry and while lots of Kiwis might make the trek back across the Tasman home, foreign skilled labour will be needed more than ever in the near future."

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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