Lord Livingstone, the UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was in the news yesterday, visiting Christchurch and making a case for greater input from UK construction companies in the rebuild (see article here). Essentially, he argues that UK companies have a proven track record of successfully completing construction projects of equivalent size of the rebuild and, conversely, New Zealand construction companies are not set up to take on the rebuild by themselves (or at least to complete the rebuild quickly enough).
If there are genuine opportunities to build scale through collaboration with UK companies, they should of course be welcomed.
However, a core issue for Christchurch is the increasing demand on labour resources and materials, and the consequential increases in building costs and extended lead times for supply. Hopefully, the supply of financing and resources to address this problem is what is intended by greater UK input, rather than just more project management and advisory input. The completion of huge infrastructure projects in the UK is as much a function of having a huge funding pool, labour force and materials resources to draw from (in the UK and continental Europe) as it is anything else. These will also be key ingredients of a faster and more effective recovery in Christchurch.
[this post was written by Jared Holt]