The program will build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years, 50% of them in Auckland, with prefabrication the proposed methodology, as Housing Minister Phil Twyford confirmed in an interview on New Zealand’s News Hub news service in late June.
“…offsite manufacturing, or modern prefab, offers us a fantastic opportunity to tackle some of the very real obstacles and capacity restraints that we’ve inherited to build up the numbers.”
The government was inviting expressions of interest from construction firms and investors, both internationally and in New Zealand, on how to collaborate in establishing a modern off-site manufacturing house building industry in New Zealand, he said.
PrefabNZ CEO Pamela Bell said opportunities between Australia and NZ firms were “around IP sharing, knowledge transfer – using Kiwi skills and materials with Australian know-how.”
“This Labour government wants to see a joined-up, integrated approach that sees long-term construction industry transformation for New Zealand – linking forestry and regional economic development with local skills building.”
Tex Edwards is an entrepreneur and investor with form in disruptor dynamics (he previously disrupted New Zealand’s duopolistic Telco sector with the establishment of 2degrees) and an interest in the offsite construction space. “Australian companies will be welcomed by the New Zealand government, which is committed to driving industry transformation in NZ,” he said.
“The message from the government is clear; they want home building factories and leading-edge processes in New Zealand. Capabilities for this kind of project would certainly be scalable by Australian standards. The New Zealand government has been watching the success of markets such as Brisbane in bringing affordable housing on stream; we want the same capability to build high volume affordable housing at scale.”
Edwards added he was lobbying for a number of initiatives to facilitate affordable housing delivery in New Zealand. “In markets like Auckland there are issues around zoning and land availability; we need to change the conditions to free up land. We also need to implement international construction protocols as well as global benchmarking to optimise cost per square metre.” ■