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Sector representatives criticised the Government's short-sighted approach, highlighting the lack of long-term planning and vision in the sector. This impacted changes to regulation and policies as the government changed, making it difficult for businesses to plan and remain sustainable.

Concerns were raised about businesses setting up without adequate skills, which could impact the quality of work and services provided.

The dominance of contractors and subcontractors in the sector was brought to attention, leading to potential imbalances in terms and conditions, affecting fair competition and pricing practices.

The bureaucracy and complexity of immigration processes were noted, hindering the sector's ability to address labour shortages and skill gaps.

Representatives expressed a desire for increased Government intervention, financial assistance, and incentives to encourage businesses to take on apprentices.

More comprehensive support systems and the introduction of independent advocates were emphasised for workers' welfare and protection.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting process was condemned for its complexities and delays, needing urgent reform.

Representatives stressed the need for licensing and regulation for certain trades, like tiling, to ensure qualified individuals perform installations.

Health and safety issues were raised, particularly in cutting engineered manmade stone and the lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) usage.

Compliance issues and confusion surrounding building code changes were highlighted, emphasising the need for better education and information dissemination.

"The industry doesn’t take a long-term view... there’s not enough emphasis placed on the housing and commercial needs that New Zealand needs to create a plan based on the next ten, twenty or forty years. We need to collaborate with Government and set goals so that regulations don’t change with a new Government, which can be frustrating."

"I’m trying to bring a worker from the Philippines but the minefield of bureaucracy around that is just eye watering and expensive. It doesn’t need to be like that."

"It's too easy for someone to set up shop and go into business, without really having the skillset or the understanding of what’s needed, like paying taxes."

"The bigger companies that get the contracts don’t want to employ people, they want to employ contractors or subcontractors."

"As soon as the next lot [Government] gets in, they’ll change it."

"We need an advocate, that works alongside [workers] to make sure that they’re getting what they need and moving forward in an objective unbiased way that’s outside of the employer-employee relationship."

"We’ve had two years of desperately trying to get people, but we couldn’t. Immigration has been very tricky."

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