Message from Accord Steering Group co-chairs

Chris Bunny and Peter Reidy reflect on 2021’s trials and achievements

Moving past COVID-19 towards 'Accord 2.0'

In 2020, COVID-19 was new and terrifying. Its arrival delivered a jolt of energy that fueled exceptional leadership and collaboration between government and industry, via the Accord.

Since those extraordinary days of autumn 2020 the industry has not only survived, it has leapt into full-on boom mode. Quarter upon quarter, building consents reach new record levels and one striking statistic from MBIE's recent Building and Construction Sector Trends report was that from June 2020 to June 2021, construction was the industry with the largest percentage increase in filled jobs: 6.1%.

So, in 2021 the COVID-19 story has been different, and even more testing when overlaid with the intense demand, supply chain issues, rolling price rises, workforce shortages and the long and disruptive lockdown, principally in Auckland.

The Accord has again been an important conduit and forum for the industry to talk to government and vice versa. Its composition of broad industry representation and senior government figures gives it a unique role.

In fact, as a draft evaluation of the Accord puts it, the Accord has become the 'go-to place' for government and industry dialogue on building and construction sector issues, and it has stimulated some shifts in behaviour and culture, including greater trust and better relationships and collaboration between government and industry.

As Finance Minister Grant Robertson told this year's Building Nations event, the Accord "has been an amazing development" in relation to its work on construction skills, and Housing Minister Megan Woods called it a "fantastic grouping" for its COVID-19 response work.

"The Construction Sector Accord's been an amazing development ... much more clarity around where construction needs are and how we can reach into a new generation of people who work in the sector."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson to the Building Nations event, 16 November 2021

It coordinated the industry's request for construction MIQ places and since June 2021 has administered the monthly allocation. Most recently it has developed a Roadmap towards a sustainable construction sector in a COVID-19 environment, with a set of tools and protocols allowing construction and related activities to continue as New Zealand and our sector move to living and working with COVID-19.

But the COVID-19 story cannot be allowed to define the Accord. During 2021 we launched the Accord Network and membership has more than doubled since the launch. The inaugural Beacons Awards took place at the Building Nations conference, sadly this year a virtual not physical event. Beacons champion good practice and share lessons across the industry, and New Plymouth District Council blew the judges away with its supply chain leadership approach.

The Accord's many other achievements are described below. However, the Transformation Plan comes to an end on 30 June 2022 and the Accord's transformation goals will not be reached in the few short months remaining. Planning has commenced on 'Accord 2.0' identifying what changes are needed from July 2022 to ensure that the Accord continues to support the transformation process.

The draft evaluation referred to earlier challenges the Accord to better align effort on key transformational activities, improve clarity of purpose and outcome, and widen participation to a broader group of stakeholders. The Accord 2.0 development process is well underway and a glimpse of its ambition is seen in the recent Building for the Future document, which points to the innovation the sector must adopt in coming years. 

Read the Building for the Future report [PDF, 4.3 MB] 

New themes include the need for a greater focus on the Māori construction ecosystem and greater use of insights and evidence to inform learning systems and innovation across our sector. Above all, the sector must find ways to reduce its carbon emissions: if New Zealand is to achieve its climate change goals, including net zero carbon by 2050, the building and construction sector must play its part.

An important animating principle for Accord 2.0 is that it must catalyse transformation by unleashing capabilities and strengthening relationships. It must inspire and lead towards a thriving sector, working in partnership with system participants, rather than carry out all of the work itself.

That highlights the tension between immediate tasks such as administering MIQ places, and transformational goals such as increasing productivity. The Accord can do some of the former, but it must focus on the latter.

As co-chairs we look forward to helping drive the Accord on its journey to a new set of transformational goals.

Accord highlights for 2021

  • Accord Network launched, with membership now approaching 250
  • Inaugural Beacons Awards presented
  • Completion of Construction Sector Environment Roadmap for Action
  • Supporting Engineering NZ to establish independent panel of Engineers to the Contract
  • Supported development of CHASNZ vaccination risk assessment protocols
  • Support for construction vaccination awareness and preparedness for the COVID-19 Protection Framework, including ‘Cainan’s story’ pro- vaccination message viewed 60,000+ times on Accord LinkedIn
  • Release of guidance on achieving Broader Outcomes in construction procurement
  • Review of NZS3910 construction contract launched, with NZ Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga
  • Construction skills strategy, Construction Diversity Roadmap, Infrastructure Skills Centre pilots with industry all underway
  • Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) supported, including creation of Construction and Infrastructure Centre of Vocational Excellence (ConCOVE) and Waihanga Ara Rau Workforce Development Council
  • Specialist Trades Benchmarking product in development
  • Working with Digital Boost to support greater online capability in construction.

Peter Reidy
CE, Fletcher Construction

Chris Bunny
Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment

Last updated: 29 April 2022