7 Aug 2019
Engineering New Zealand and engineering consulting firm executives met Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa last week. This was following by a meeting between Engineering New Zealand and the Chief Executive of MBIE on Friday.
Then this week, the Government released its summary of submissions on all the building law reform proposals, including changing the way engineers are regulated.
Government releases summary of submissions
MBIE has produced a document that summarised key themes from submissions, and the detailed feedback received on each of the proposals. It says the need for legislative change was strongly supported, and there was a high level of support for many of the proposals. MBIE says it also received a lot of valuable feedback on how the proposals can be refined, and how they need to go further in some areas.
Our meetings with the Minister and MBIE
Last week we told the Minister that while we agree that change is needed and we support licensing for safety-critical work, we don’t support an additional statutory certification scheme.
We said we believe government regulation should be restricted to areas of public safety. General competence and professionalism are more effectively regulated by the profession, and this is the international norm.
We also stressed the breadth of the consultation process we’d gone through to develop our view, and the importance of a systemic response to lifting quality across building and construction.
Our conversation with the Minister was cordial and productive – at a high level, we’re on the same page. Everyone wants a regulatory system that keeps New Zealanders safe and gives the public confidence, and the Government sees Engineering New Zealand playing a pivotal role in this. We agreed on much more than we disagreed and, most importantly, we agreed that together we could find a way through the challenges that works in practice.
To make this happen, we’re going to be working much more closely with MBIE, as they work through issues and design the new system. Initially this will take the form of looking at different options and understanding their consequences.
MBIE expects the Minister will present a paper to Cabinet over coming months to confirm the next steps for the reform programme, with a public announcement made following Cabinet’s decisions.
Still ahead is a vast amount of work to develop the detailed legislative design. There will be opportunities to engage through this process, and again through the select committee process next year. Legislative changes are likely to be rolled out over the next two to five years.
We’ll keep you updated.