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Economic recovery will be stifled due to lack of supplies

1 September 2021

Construction work will come to a grinding stop within days unless the Government allows Auckland to distribute supplies to the rest of New Zealand immediately, says Master Plumbers.

From today construction work can commence in those regions in Alert Level 3. However current rules mean that Auckland warehouses cannot distribute product unless it is deemed essential.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers NZ Chief Executive Greg Wallace says the Government has put in time and effort to allow the construction sector to return to work in Alert Level 3, yet has failed to open up an essential supply chain.

"Businesses and retailers are telling us in some cases supplies will dry up within three to four days. This is hardly surprising when we know Auckland warehouses store an estimated 97% of New Zealand’s construction supplies, and businesses south of the Bombays are being told they have to wait to get them.

"We’ve got 21 pages of protocols outlining how businesses can operate under Alert Level 3, but its all a complete waste of time if you aren’t giving these businesses access to supplies so they can do their job. It really is a Clayton’s opening of business."

Wallace says the Government tells New Zealand the construction sector is an important part of the country’s economic recovery, yet is putting up major barriers to get work moving.

"Economic recovery is going to be majorly stifled if businesses don’t have the supplies they need to operate. This is going to have a flow-on effect for anyone wanting construction work done, from homeowners wanting their bathroom renovated through to major commercial developments. Ultimately delays will end up hitting the likes of the homeowner in the pocket."

Wallace says the Government has said it is exploring options to address the supply issues, but there needs to be immediate action.

"The Government is playing catch-up in trying to address unworkable policies. It’s not the time to have a talkfest. The answer is right in front of them—let Auckland supply the rest of the country in a safe way.

"We appreciate there will be delays under Alert Level 4 protocols, with reduced staff allowed to work. However having the supply chain opened up in some form is better than nothing at all."

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