First impressions


Just when I thought I could ease into my new role, slow down to a leisurely pace leading up to Christmas and take some time with the intention to crack into it in the New Year — how wrong could I have been!


I can often be heard to say “It’s all go isn’t it?” Seriously, it’s great to finally be here and getting on with it.


I was thrilled to attend my first House of the Year National Gala Dinner a couple of weeks ago. I guess if you have to have an inaugural “official” speaking role in a new position, it may as well be at the pre-eminent building industry event in the country!


I was amazed at the outstanding quality of work and the diversity of projects being undertaken by our members nationwide. Congratulations to all the national finalists and, in particular, to those who went through to take out the top awards. It was a pleasure to be part of the celebration that is the House of the Year and Commercial Project Awards.


One of the benefits of belonging to an industry association is just that — the benefits. Next year will be one of reviewing, assessing and improving tangible member benefits as well as keeping up the work in other areas that is sometimes not as visible on the outside.


We’ve received some good feedback from the membership on the value received with the current benefits and some that we could be providing. We must ensure that what we offer our members is relevant, actually wanted and comes with the right level of reward.


We are all too aware of the rapid decline our industry has experienced in 2008. The latter half of the year will be remembered as one of the lowest times we’ve seen.


Failing building companies and the laying off of staff due to the lowest levels of work seen for a very long time are not indicative of a healthy and thriving sector.


The boom/bust cycle that affects the property market is unpalatable. I think we would all prefer to have steady growth so that we can plan and invest in our businesses with confidence knowing that, if times do get tough (and they do), we are able to adjust in a managed and sustainable way.


The RMBF has prepared a briefing for the new Minister and, by the time you read this, we will have met with Maurice Williamson to discuss in detail the action we want from Government to resurrect construction and put it on an even keel.


He said all the right things at the House of the Year event which, while good to hear, we know we have a challenge on our hands to get our industry back up the priority order in the eyes of Government.


We’ve all got a big job on our hands over the coming months — one that I’m definitely up for. I’ll be on the road in the New Year to meet as many of you as possible, and I look forward to spending time with a number of you at Conference in Blenheim in April. The programme looks great and I urge you to attend.


On behalf of the RMBF, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Take care of yourself and your family during the holiday break and travel safely.

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