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26 March e-News
Last week the Government announced the COVID-19 Leave Payment Scheme and Wage Subsidy Scheme to support people who should self-isolate but might be deterred because of financial reasons.
Workers shouldn’t attend work when they should be self-isolating, just because they cannot afford to stay at home. Nor should workers lose their livelihoods by staying at home.
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Following Monday's announcement from the Prime Minister, the nation is now in lockdown.
ACE New Zealand operating as usual
As I have outlined in previous emails, ACE New Zealand had a business continuity plan in place and was well placed when the lockdown was announced.
We are all working from home, but have access to our usual tools and resources. So we will be answering all your calls and emails as usual.
We can appreciate this is an uncertain and challenging time for many of you, so if you have any queries, then please don't hesitate to reach out. It's why we exist!
Why we are in lockdown
Marc Daalder explains in detail why we are in lockdown in this article
The modelling for New Zealand, if we didn't go into lockdown, was stark. Figures based on the Imperial College London paper and released by the University of Otago show that 100,000 New Zealanders could be killed if no action was taken.
Discussions with Government
Over the past few days, I have been involved in extensive discussions with government agencies. Here are the key messages I have heard consistently from them:
- Maintaining the safety of our people and the public is of paramount importance
- They understand the vital role our sector plays
- Infrastructure will play a critical role in the nation's economic recovery
- Various agencies are working with the government on what recovery and stimulus packages could look like, but this will take some time
- Like us, they are working hard to understand what this all means for their business
And here are my consistent messages to them:
- Cash flow and continuity of work are vital if we are to maintain a high-quality and engaged workforce to support our recovery
- The government needs to speed up the cash conversion cycle, in particular by paying their bills on time
- We need to accelerate design works now, so that when restrictions are lifted physical works can hit the ground running
- Speeding up procurement and reducing the cost to procure (for all parties) is essential for our sector. We can't afford massive competitive procurement costs in a recovery phase, so we need new ways of working
These discussions will be ongoing, so if there are any insights you want to share, then please do get in touch.
Things are going to be challenging, but please be assured that the ACE New Zealand team is working hard to ensure our sector emerges as well as we possibly can.
PGF investment in Whakatane
A $36.8 million PGF investment will support the construction of a new boat harbour in Whakatane along with the revitalisation of the town centre and development of a visitor hub.
Rapid rail for Auckland – Hamilton?
The Government is investigating the provision of a rapid rail system that would whisk commuters between Auckland and Hamilton in 60 minutes.
Women in engineering
Auckland University is determined to increase the number of women enrolled in engineering to 33 per cent.
Rural boundary not the issue
A study by Auckland Council Chief Economist David Norman has dispelled the myth that the rural/urban boundary is responsible for driving up land prices.
No $ for Gisborne – Wairoa link
The Government’s draft Rail Plan has identified regional routes as future opportunities, but they are not seen as investment priorities for the next 10 years.
Welly gets moving
Aurecon, Future Group, GHD and Jacobs have been awarded contracts to begin design and planning work on the $6.4 billion Let's Get Wellington Moving programme.
Testing bathroom pods
Testing has begun on bathroom pods manufactured offsite by Canterbury company Concision before possible integration into Kāinga Ora’s nationwide building programme.
Speed up infrastructure spend
Economic Think-Tank BERL is urging the Government to accelerate its infrastructure spending to offset the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kia pai tō rā, Paul and the ACE New Zealand team