NZ's first building supplies co-operative could save builders thousands

New Zealand’s first building supplies co-operative has just been launched, in what some are hailing as a game changer for the industry.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has joined crowds of around 100 guests in Christchurch this evening for the launch of The Combined Building Supplies Co-operative (CBS Co-op), which includes small and medium sized building businesses across Canterbury.

Chairman of the Board, Carl Taylor, says, "It will enable small and medium construction companies to have the same buying power as the larger companies do."

"In the residential construction sector, most houses are built by small home building companies and yet they don't have the 'buying' power the larger companies do. The CBS Co-op levels the playing field enabling small and medium construction companies to be competitive and improve their margins which are currently pretty low."

Mr Taylor, who has run his own successful building company for more than 20 years, says the co-operative is the result of more than a year in the planning, already attracting members with a combined building material spend of more than $100 million, and a very strong group of suppliers.

The Co-op estimates it will save builders around $50,000 in materials on a standard house build, but there is no guarantee the consumer will get the benefits of that.

Grant Florence from the NZ Certified Builders' Association believes there are still some major challenges ahead.

"I think there are some people excited about it, but there's a fair bit of scepticism too, especially around some of the numbers that have been suggested," he says.

He does however hope it takes off and says there are potentially a lot of benefits.

"Good on them for having a crack, I think it will be good if there is a bit more of a margin that flows back to homeowners and builders."

It will allow small businesses to access cheaper supplies, cutting building costs by tens of thousands of dollars. Source: 1 NEWS

Exclusive: 'There is a potential for harm' – government set to regulate who can call themselves a paramedic

Paramedics make life and death decisions every day. But unlike doctors, nurses and midwives, they don't have to be registered.

Wellington Free Ambulance’s medical director Andrew Swain says: “Anyone can technically call themselves a paramedic.”

And that’s something they want the government to change.

For 25 years paramedics have been calling for national registration – because an unregulated workforce puts them - and the public - at risk.

"There is a potential for harm ...there are groups out there that are unregulated, don't have proper governance or accountability and we feel like that needs to be rectified," Mr Swain said.

"There are instances when a paramedic has performed poorly - has lost his employment with one of the major ambulance providers and sets up independently and there is no way to transfer that across - when you have a register they have to perform to a particular standard."

Registration would mean all paramedics would have to meet set levels of qualifications and training

A national body would also develop codes of conduct and handle complaints and discipline.

And paramedic Laura Robertson says it would give them the professional respect they deserve. "It is really important for us to be recognised for what we are because we are all proud of the profession and what we do all day."

Registration would cost about $425 a year.

And the union Paramedics Australasia is hoping the health ministry will help out.

"Otherwise it's an extra cost on paramedics who arguably are somewhat limited in their ability to pay," NZ chair Sean Thompson says.

Health Minister David Clark says he's working on a fix and will introduce a change to the rules later this year.

"The profession itself wants to be regulated - and I think that is a pretty reasonable request," he said.

They make life and death decisions, but New Zealand's paramedics don't have to be registered or regulated. Source: 1 NEWS


Toddler seriously injured after being hit by car in South Auckland

A 16-month-old child was seriously injured after being hit by car in South Auckland. 

Police and emergency services were called around 4.12pm to an accident involving a car and pedestrian on Queen Street, Otahuhu. 

A police spokesperson says a 16-month-old toddler was transported to hospital with serious injuries. 

The Serious Crash Unit has been advised. 

Police car Source: 1 NEWS