Industry leaders say construction companies taking unnecessary risks to secure contracts

Building experts are blaming a culture of undercutting for playing a role in the demise of several major construction firms.

Industry leaders say despite growing prospects, companies are taking on unnecessary risks to secure contracts.

BDO head of construction James MacQueen has labelled the trend "a race to the bottom".

Hundreds of home-buyers are in the dark over the future of their apartments. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's a lot of companies out there, including quite a few new companies that are probably less experienced and they're all very eager to get a job, so they put in a price to win the job," he said

"Then later on try and work out how they're going to try and do it for that sort of price."

Judith Collins says state housing development exposes taxpayers to risks as company working on Auckland project goes bust

It’s affecting both residential and commercial contractors with one Christchurch company saying they've been undercut by as much as 15  per cent.

Sinclair Builders director Chris Sinclair says although the practice is worrying, it isn’t sustainable.

"You might be able to carry them sometimes but if it keeps happening time and time again or you underpricing jobs relying on variations things can bad pretty quickly," he said.

Contractors are meeting in Wellington later this month to discuss the changes needed to provide stability to the industry.

Industry players say something needs to be done urgently. Source: 1 NEWS

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Drug testing legalisation at NZ festivals on the cards

The Government is considering legalising drug-testing services at festivals.

A community organisation, Know Your Stuff, said the law hindered people's access to pill testing at events, which put users at risk.

Its managing director Wendy Allison said section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act made it a criminal offence to permit a venue to be used for drug consumption, so the presence of pill testing would demonstrate that the event organisers knew that people use drugs.

"Section 12 was never intended to prevent harm reduction services from happening at events."

"An unintended consequence of the Section has been to deter event organisers from providing harm reduction services such as pill testing, removing this barrier is an obvious step towards keeping people safe."

Health Minister David Clark said the coalition Government was dealing with drug use as a health and harm reduction issue.

"In light of this, I've had initial discussions with the Justice Minister about 'drug checking' services.

"Through him, I've asked for advice on the legislative and criminal justice issues around such services."

rnz.co.nz- Chris Bramwell

Johann Hari, who spent several years researching drug use, addiction and treatment for his book, says we’ve misunderstood addiction.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Tertiary students tackle social, cultural and environmental issues in dazzling Auckland light show

Unitec Institute of Technology is using innovative electric vehicle technology to power students’ light installations at this year’s GLOW@Artweek festival on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve.

Unitec partnered with Auckland energy company Vector for the light show where installations by students look at different issues in society.

The festival also prides itself on being environmentally friendly, with energy being taken from two Nissan Leaf G2 electric cars to provide the power needed to run the nine different light projects.

The cars act as a rechargeable and mobile renewable energy source for the duration of the festival.

Vector’s New Technology Lead, Moonis Vegdani, says, “Two-way EV chargers are an example of the future of energy. They basically transform electric vehicles into mobile storage batteries, enabling energy to be charged or discharged anywhere there is a two-way charger. It’s perfect for a temporary light installation such as GLOW@Artweek.”

Nine teams of second-year Unitec Architecture students designed a diverse range of interactive light installations on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve for the event, working to a zero-waste, zero-budget brief.

Students sought sponsorship for their designs, which also featured a range of sustainable materials.

"Sustainability is a key factor in the design and construction of the students’ works and having access to an alternative, rechargeable power source in a large-scale outdoor venue is extremely exciting," Unitec Architecture lecturer Ainsley O'Connell said. 

Devonport came to life thanks to the work of Unitec architecture students in “Glow”. Source: 1 NEWS

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Five rare kiwi chicks fighting fit for release in Southland

Five rare kiwi chicks will be released back into their Southland home now they are heavy enough to fight off stoats alone.

The Haast Tokoeka Kiwi is the rarest kiwi, with a wild population of between 400 and 500 birds.

The chicks were raised in a kiwi creche on predator-free Rona Island in Lake Manapouri.

Department of Conservation South Westland senior ranger Inge Bolt said the island had kept the birds safe from stoats, which would kill most kiwi before they became adults.

"Only Haast tokoeka, which have reached a weight of 1.6kg, will make the final move back to their place of birth. At this weight, they are better able to fend off attack from stoats."

It took many people, organisations and volunteers to raise kiwi to an age where they could be returned to their home.

Without their work, the wild population of Haast Tokoeka kiwi would be significantly lower, Ms Bolt said.

"It's a really important thing that we step in and do what we can at this stage, we're trying to find out more as we go so that we can better understand the species, and the more that we understand them, the better we can help them."

The chicks will be released next week.

rnz.co.nz

Close up of a kiwi bird a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand.
Kiwi. Source: istock.com


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'New Zealand's space industry personified' – an exclusive look inside Rocket Lab's new Auckland factory

He's a man who's spent plenty of time on spaceships, so it's no surprise that actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek, scored himself an invite to Rocket Lab's new factory in Auckland yesterday.

But as entertaining as Shatner is, Seven Sharp opted for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look with a man who thrilled us six weeks ago with his animated explanation of lightning.

Professor Craig Rodger took over reporting duties from Seven Sharp’s Michael Holland to take us through "New Zealand's space industry personified". 

To find out more about Rocket Lab's "magical moment", click on the video above.

Once up to speed it’s hoped the Mt Wellington factory will build a new Electron rocket every week. Source: Seven Sharp