South Canterbury's Fox Peak skifield without snow this winter

A skifield with no snow, it is far from ideal, but it's the scenario that South Canterbury's Fox Peak is faced with this year. 

The skifield is surrounded by other operators who have got enough snow to open, but despite the bad luck, they're far from giving up.

"It's disappointing, we had such a good year last year," Fox Peak club president Alistair Millar told 1 NEWS.

After last year's successful season upgrades were on the cards.

"We were all motivated to get things done, create a new sign and replace the old one," said Fox Peak committee member, Blair Wilkinson.

With no skiers, there's no reason to hang the new sign yet.

In nearby Fairlie, the lack of snow has affected local businesses. 

"You don't have so many customers who call in for a coffee before they head up to the field," said cafe owner Christine O'Connell.

The Fox Peak Lodge however, is still in demand and they're not phased that Lilybank station, where they lease the land, is up for sale.

"Ready to go, ready to push the button and kick it into gear, just need the snow to fall from the sky," said Mr Wilkinson.

The skifield might not have snow, but they love it just the same.

"Just an amazing place, so don't tell too many people," said Mr Millar.

In nearby Fairlie, the lack of snow is affecting local businesses this season. Source: 1 NEWS

Pair, including one clinging to chilly bin, rescued after boat capsizes in Bluff Harbour

Two people, one clinging to a chilly bin, have been rescued from Bluff Harbour today and treated for shock.

Police say the seven-metre boat they were in capsized, at about 4pm.

The two people were wearing life jackets and were found floating in the shipping channel.

They were treated for shock by ambulance staff at the Bluff ferry terminal.

Source: RNZ / Ian Telfer


Foreign investors, workers look to solve NZ's construction industry crisis

The construction industry is in crisis, and foreign investors and workers are looking to be part of the solution following the first ever Asian Construction Forum in Auckland today.

The collapse of big construction firms, mass skills shortages and the high cost of building materials all put pressure on the industry, resulting in an increase in foreign investors and workers.

Forum organisers estimate around $7 billion dollars has already been invested into the New Zealand construction industry by Chinese developers alone.

Asian Construction Forum organiser and Construction Marketing Services general manager Iain Watt says for changes to go smoothly, the gaps between what he calls traditional parts of the industry, and relative newcomers, need to be closed.

"What we see at the moment is they tend to operate within silos and this is an opportunity to bridge that cultural and language barrier," Mr Watt said.

Noah Bian, Flourishing Property Company's design director, says, "Everyone is trying their best to communicate and to learn about local market and culture and how we can fit into the environment".

However, firms coming in from China must face their own challenges regarding "how do we resource materials, how do we find contractors," Mr Bian said.

Jeff Fahrensohn, Auckland Council's manager for inspections, building control, says it's about giving overseas firms "a better light in how we look at things and guide them".

"A lot of the time, it is just a knowledge gap or a technical decision," Mr Fahrensohn said.

Auckland Council says over half of inspections have some kind of Asian connection, which presents challenges of its own.

"Previously, we had some issues with translations on site being done by people with no building knowledge. Now, we're employing more Chinese speakers to help that sort of situation," he said.

Over 1000 people signed up to today's forum and the take home message is that the industry, government and councils all need to work together to tackle the challenges faced by the current influx of foreign investors and workers.

Real estate agents say to help solve the housing crisis, overseas investment is crucial.

Peter Thompson, of Barfoot and Thompson, says, "Give them some benefits to come here [and] build the property. We also need to make sure they are happy to work with us in conjunction".

It’s one of the big issues being discussed at the first Asian Construction Forum in Auckland today. Source: 1 NEWS