It is understood Irish company Fast House is set to provide 3500 panelised houses to New Zealand over several years, at an estimated worth of about NZ $1 billion.
While Bell indicated Housing New Zealand should be encouraged in using innovations such as prefabricated housing, she said it was important to focus on local economic development.
“We really need to try and look at this all holistically and with a longer term vision for growing our skills development and regional development; those things are really important for our construction industry to morph and change and become more valuable to New Zealand.”
New Zealand’s Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford reportedly said it was hard to justify Housing NZ’s move to use an offshore supplier instead of local businesses, who were in a position to meet changing local demand. He added that the scale of the rumoured deal would have presented an invaluable opportunity to boost the volumes that would grow a more competitive New Zealand industry.
It is understood a Housing NZ spokesperson declined to answer questions about discussions with Fast House, but confirmed the organisation was moving away from a project-by-project contracting model to favour multi-year deals. In the instance of establishing multi-year supply arrangements, Housing NZ would be required to run an open market process to appoint parties either domestic or offshore.■