John Tamihere has asked crucial questions in his new Herald column demanding to know where the public good values have evaporated within NZs largest construction company…
My family used to be employed by the Fletcher Construction Company. We were all steel workers and I recall as a kid the company putting on Christmas functions for its workers at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier. My father had great regard for Sir James Fletcher because he said Sir James truly cared about his workforce, how they were housed and that they were paid a fair 40-hour wage that was enough to feed and provide for their families.
Fletcher ran trade training programmes and ensured apprentices were looked after and well-skilled. I recall on these sites that there was a Code of Ethics and Duty of Care to other tradies. We would not condone second-rate work by other trades — and equally, they would not accept ours.
Then along came market deregulation and sub-contracting on a vast scale. Add the leaky building fiasco to this Fletcher performance, and to me it appears there’s a breakdown in the construction industry around standards, values and ethics over the years.
I do not accept some quantity surveyor, well down the food chain, is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of debt. It’s like the story of the bishop blaming the altar boy for a bad sermon. It is simply not true and the spin around the story means, as usual, those at the top end of town can walk away without adverse impact.
But ask the poor chippie, sparky, plumber or drainlayer whether they would be so lucky if in contracting to Fletcher they made the same decisions in running their businesses. They know, and you know, their houses would go, their vehicles would go and more than likely their marriages would also go as a consequence, because they were too small and they failed.
Forget corporate responsibility to Fletcher’s shareholders. Where is their social conscience and responsibility when bidding and receiving funding on massive government contracts?
…where are those social good values now?
Where is basic decency within our public service?
We have a State insurer contracting corporate spies to spy on earthquake victims, we have WINZ counter productively reporting on the homeless using motels and we have a prison population exploding beyond our ability to contain because counter-productive spite has replaced social policy.
We desperately need reform and culture change in our public service and we need to inject our Public Private Partnerships with a social conscience.
There is a looming economic crunch and NZs favourite wealth creator, property speculation continues to splutter…
House prices expectations hit six-and-half year low
Expectations that house prices will rise are at a six-and-a-half year low, and the number of people who think it is a bad time to buy has fallen, particularly in Auckland, according to the latest ASB Housing Confidence Survey.
John Adams, a former Coalition policy adviser who last year identified seven signs that the global economy was heading for a crash — later warning the window for action had closed — believes the US$4 trillion wipe-out was just the opening act of his apocalyptic prophecy playing out.
“When the economic earthquake hits, don’t be surprised to see soaring interest rates, massive falls in asset prices [like] shares, real estate and bonds, higher unemployment and widespread bankruptcies,” he said.
…at some point the new Government are going to have to review their whole commitment to appeasing our corporate overlords with the Budget Responsibility Rules and start demanding a social conscience for their taxpayer spend rather than the cheapest cost.