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APRIL 2014

this issue

State of the nation P.1 NZ ranked no. 1 for social progress P.2 Five-star beds for Auckland waterfront P.3 Royal visit 2014 P.3 Creative subdivision planned for Christchurch P.4 Government returns to Christchurch CBD P.5 Lynette Nugent: case study on moving to NZ P.6 Christchurch

State of the nation Welcome to the Catalyst Recruitment State of the Nation for April 2014. As I write this our latest royal visit has come to an end with William, Kate and George already passing through Australia. For their 10 days visit they have travelled the length and breadth of the country shaking hands, waving to the crowds, playing a bit of cricket, partaking in a drop of New Zealand wine and generally putting a smile on everyone’s face. Their appearance has certainly lifted to mood throughout the country which can’t be all bad. Of course as a tiny island nation in the South Pacific we’re one of the most remote members of the commonwealth and the royal visit awakens the discussion on New Zealand becoming a republic in the future. Only time will tell if that happens but I think, for now, most Kiwi’s will wish them a bon voyage followed closely with a “come again soon!” Throughout the country, when not entertaining royalty, things have been business as usual for the past month. The growth across the built environment seems to be continuing if not always at the pace we would perhaps like! Clients in all sectors are forecasting some good times ahead but all agree we’re not quite there yet and more work needs to be done. Alas on the whole clients are still relying on poaching from each other for candidates but all appreciate that this is getting harder and that overseas candidates will be in demand very soon. In the Civil and Infrastructure sector (contractors) there is a mixed bag of news from around the country. Christchurch continues to steadily release work associated with SCIRT and the rebuild. I spoke with one client this week who stated that there had been a noticeable increase in private money coming into the Canterbury market over the past month and many contractors were trying to secure that rather than the SCIRT work. Infrastructure work in Auckland doesn’t seem to have picked up dramatically yet but apparently the NZTA do have their act together and are releasing a number of projects for tender in the next few weeks. In a similar vein to Wellington, Auckland could see a marked pick up in activity in the second half of this year, putting pressure on a skill short industry. In anticipation of these requirements I’m continuing to speak with candidates every morning in the UK and need to speak with more. If you want to discuss a move to New Zealand then contact Phil on and we’ll arrange a date and time. The Construction sector continues to be buoyant. At this time we want to hear from those who are committed to making the move (QS, PQS, Project Managers and Site Managers). It is all very well wanting to migrate, but the clients are not quite yet ready to aggressively hire from overseas. With so many large project announcements being made and with a general


lift across all construction sectors, the tables are not far from turning. Those arriving in the next 6 months will have the best choice, but if you are prepared to wait – the market will only get stronger. Some changes in the Engineering Consultancy sector since the last newsletter; clients are still adopting an overall cautious, but interest is being shown in experienced technical specialists who are Chartered (or PE Licensed), and who have done their research and committed to a move to New Zealand. As always it is the well prepared candidate; the one who can demonstrate in their interview that they have done their research, have compelling reasons as to why they want to move, and are thereby committed to making a move happen, that spark the interest of our clients and who ultimately gain the rewards. As per last month, the majority of demand continues to be for those (5+ years postgraduate) civil qualified geotechnical (design) engineers, fire engineers (with CFD modelling expertise) and seismic capable structural engineers. If your sector of expertise falls outside of these, but you are an experienced technical specialist (with 8+ years experience) in your chosen discipline and you have been contemplating a move to New Zealand, then please get in contact with Mireille to explore opportunities relevant to you. As always you can follow activity in New Zealand on a more regular basis through our LinkedIn groups and via our blog. We are also regularly posting positions on the Catalyst Job Board and on the ICE website in the UK. If you are planning a move to New Zealand, make us aware of your plans and we’ll do everything we can to assist with the process. There are busy times ahead in the built environment sector and if you want to be part of it then speak with Phil, Andy or Mireille as part of your preparation.

New Zealand ranked number 1 for social progress A Washington-based think-tank has found that New Zealand is the most socially advanced country in the world. The Social Progress Imperative, whose advisory board is led by Harvard economist Professor Michael Porter, has put New Zealand first out of 130 countries based on 54 indicators of social progress. The country tops the world on indicators of personal rights and freedoms, and comes in the top four for water and sanitation, access to schooling and tertiary education, and tolerance and inclusion of minority groups. It scores a low 28th on nutrition and basic medical care partly because of a relatively high death rate for women in childbirth, 35th for health and wellbeing partly because of high obesity and suicide rates, and 32nd for ecosystem sustainability. But Auckland obstetrician Dr Sue Belgrave, who chairs a national committee on maternal mortality, said the country’s high death rate for women in pregnancy and childbirth of 15 deaths for every 100,000 live births was because New Zealand’s figures included deaths from pre-existing conditions and suicide. “I’m not saying we are perfect, but what we report is an accurate reflection of what is happening in our system. We don’t think that’s happening in other countries,” she said. New Zealand ranked in the bottom half of the 130 countries for suicide (76th behind the best) and obesity (115th). But other countries also had low scores on enough indicators to drag them below New Zealand’s overall tally of 88.24 out of a maximum score of 100. Switzerland was close behind with 88.19 points, followed by Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway. Australia came tenth with 86.10 points. The United States was 16th with 82.77 points, scoring in the bottom half on ecosystem sustainability (69th) and on health and wellness (70th), again partly because of a high obesity rate. The index is the latest of many attempts in recent years to develop better measures of national wellbeing than the traditional


gross domestic product (GDP), which has been widely criticised for measuring only what can be counted in dollars. For example, New Zealand’s measured GDP is rising rapidly at present partly because of the Christchurch rebuild, but the destruction of the previous buildings in the 2011 earthquake did not count as reduced GDP. Professor Porter is widely known for his books on international competitiveness, including a 1991 report on New Zealand’s competitiveness which advocated fostering “clusters” of internationally competitive firms. Think-tank director Michael Green, a London-based economist and author of Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World, said New Zealand’s placing as the world’s most socially advanced nation contrasted with its 25th place in GDP per person. “In terms of converting economic output into quality of life, New Zealand is doing really well,” he said. AUT sociologist Professor Charles Crothers said he had long thought New Zealand’s low GDP rating was “a bit weird”. “We have quite a low GDP per capita in the OECD ranking, but the reality of living in New Zealand is beyond what it looks like in the standard of our homes, education, health and so on. We are firing well above that,” he said. He said it was surprising that Professor Porter’s index left out indicators such as the employment rate and income inequality, but it was a fair reflection of the things it did measure. “There are no nasty divisions,” he said. “We are a happy enough lot of hobbits just tagging along without any extreme hatred or violence.” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said: “This report is great news and it backs up what we all know - that we live in a fantastic country.” Source: Simon Collins, NZ Herald

Five-star beds for Auckland waterfront Construction of a $200 million 5-star hotel on Auckland’s waterfront is expected to start next year with Chinese funding. Auckland Council mayor Len Brown has confirmed the 200-room hotel in Wynyard Quarter will be developed in partnership between council organisation Waterfront Auckland and Beijing-based property developer Fu Wah International Group. The hotel was expected to open by 2017. The $200m investment by Fu Wah Group was believed to be one of the largest foreign investments in public infrastructure in New Zealand, Brown said. ‘‘The hotel will provide a boost in job numbers and be instrumental in attracting high net worth individuals to visit Auckland, a segment recently identified by the tourism industry as still largely untapped.’’ PricewaterhouseCoopers economic analysis estimated the hotel will create more than 1300 fulltime jobs and add more than $100m to Auckland’s GDP during construction. Once completed the hotel was expected to add more than 750 jobs and generate more than $50m to the region’s GDP per year. Brown said Fu Wah was chosen after a process which began in 2012.

The Chinese tourism market is worth $670m a year to New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Association expects this to double over the next five years. Brown said having a Chinese developer and a yet to be selected premium hotel brand will help attract wealthy Chinese tourists. He said the deal meant Waterfront Auckland and the council could maintain ownership of its strategic assets, but leverage them using private funding. Source: Josh Martin, Fairfax NZ

Royal Visit 2014 For the past 10 days the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have toured New Zealand with their son George to the delight of the locals. Thousands have braved the sun and rain to cheer and wave them on, all with the hope of a shake of the hand, a word with the royals or even a “selfi”. They arrived in Wellington and over the next 10 days visited Blenheim, Auckland, Cambridge, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch before returning to Wellington to fly onto Australia. George became an instant hit and when he attended a play date with Kate at government house along with 9 other invited families from around New Zealand. New Zealand being a sporty nation it wasn’t long before the royals were at play and during their time here we’ve seen them race America’s cup boats on Auckland harbour, enjoy a jetboat ride in Queenstown, cheer for their rugby team in Dunedin and even play cricket in Christchurch. Thankfully New Zealand is also renowned for its wine and so a relaxing afternoon at the Amisfield Winery in Queenstown would have allowed welcome recovery. Although a seemingly brief visit the public and media have embraced the royals and the tour appears to have been an enjoyable and successful one. They now head off to Sydney for the next stage of their tour down under.


Creative subdivision planned for Christchurch An innovative subdivision featuring 320 new homes is planned for Halswell. Designed to cater for a cross section of the market, the Meadowlands subdivision will include 32 homes priced under $455,000 that will be offered to young, firsthome buyers under a shared-ownership model and 39 affordable homes ranging in price from $200,000 to $370,000. The bulk of the two, three and four-bedroom properties in the master-planned subdivision will be aimed at the mid-market. Danne Mora Holdings Ltd and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to helping young people to establish lives for themselves, are behind the subdivision, which will be built on 19 hectares of Spreydon Lodge-owned land off Hendersons Rd. It is being promoted as an exemplar housing project under the Land Use Recovery Plan, which means the city council may fast-track it through the consenting process. If that happens, the first homes could be completed by September next year. A mix of house types and sizes, ranging from mews cottages and standalone townhouses to apartments and large family villas, will be set within any given street in the subdivision and all homes will be energy-efficient and use lightweight building materials. The streets will be well-landscaped, low-speed environments that encourage cycling and walking and make community interaction easy.


Simon Mortlock, of Danne Mora Holdings, said most subdivisions were built unit by unit, but at Meadowlands they proposed to develop block-by-block, with groups of 15 to 18 homes developed collectively in phases. The approach would enable parts of the development, such as landscaping and building, to be bulk contracted, to help keep costs down. The shared-ownership homes would be targeted at firsthome buyers, preferably with young families, on limited incomes and with limited ability to raise a large mortgage. Under the shared-ownership model they would get a majority share in the property via a mortgage and the rest – typically 15 to 20 per cent – would be provided by the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust in return for an annual supplement linked to the prevailing rate of inflation. The buyer and the trust would share in any capital value uplift of the property. The arrangement would be flexible in that the buyer could buy out the trust’s equity share or the buyer could sell their share to buy into a general market home, leaving the property available for another young family to buy into. In a report for tomorrow’s meeting of the Christchurch City Council’s earthquake recovery committee of the whole, senior urban regeneration adviser John Meeker is recommending councillors approve the subdivision. Source: The Press, Lois Cairns

Government returns to Christchurch CBD Public servants could be back in central Christchurch by next spring, with the Government on the verge of signing deals for four new buildings. A total of 1700 office workers are going into leased buildings in Cashel and Hereford streets as part of a Government plan to help kick-start the central city. The buildings will be privately built, and the chosen developers have told The Press they expect final contracts within weeks. Siteworks for one building have started and final design work is being done on the others, with building consent applications being readied to go to council. The Press understands two of the office buildings will form Lichfield Holdings’ $100 million Cashel Square development in the City Mall. The first, facing Hereford St, is under way and is due to be finished by August next year, and the other will be ready by the second half of 2016. The other offices will be in Devonia Holdings’ planned $30m glass-fronted building on the former National Bank site at 164 Hereford St, and in a $70m tiered building on the former Grand Chancellor hotel site owned by the hotel chain at 141 Cashel St. Both are due for completion by mid-2016. All the buildings will accommodate private office tenants plus shops and cafes at ground level. They will be five, six and seven storeys tall. One of the landlords involved said the Government had ‘‘screwed them down’’ on rents he called too low to be profitable, while another agreed the Government had played hard ball ‘‘as it should’’, but described the agreed rents as at the low end of feasible. One landlord said the negotiations had involved 10 times the usual paperwork and government documents hundreds of pages thick. The agreed annual rents are understood to be less than $400 a square metre, plus operating expenses.


Commercial real estate agent Jonathan Lyttle of Colliers described rents of under $400 as ‘‘a bit light’’ in the face of land and construction costs, and said landlords on less-central Victoria St were getting more. Last year State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman announced plans to save taxpayers $110m annually on rents in the next three to four years, mostly by slashing its space requirements for public servants. Other sites short-listed but rejected for Christchurch public servants include the former BNZ site in Cathedral Square, and Awly Developments’ building going up on Durham St. Twenty Government departments will take 24,000sqm at the sites, including the Ministry of Social Development, ACC, Statistics NZ, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministries of Health and Education, Housing New Zealand, and the Departments of Internal Affairs and Conservation. No announcements have yet been made about who will go where within the four buildings. Source: The Press, Liz McDonald

The Catalyst Team

Lynette Nugent Case study of moving to NZ Andy Hopkins

Current Employer: Tonkin and Taylor. Lynette and her husband Mike (both Environmental Consultants) made contact with Catalyst with the aim of at least one of them securing a role that would allow them to make a move to New Zealand possible. Mike having visited New Zealand previously and had fallen in love with the country. Catalyst introduced Lynette to Tonkin & Taylor who had been unsuccessful in finding a suitable hire for their impending maternity leave position of Environmental Scientist. Lynette was made an offer to join the Christchurch team and they arrived in June of 2013. Since arrival, Mike has now been offered a fixed term position with Tonkin and Taylor also. Mike and Lyn are enjoying New Zealand so much that they have recently commenced their residency application What inspired you to consider moving with your family to New Zealand?

Phil Ponder

We wanted a better work/life balance and a more laid-back culture. The ranker in the States had gotten to be too much and it felt like no matter how hard we worked, we couldn’t get ahead. Has New Zealand lived up to your expectations? Absolutely! People here have been very friendly and my company has been wonderful about encouraging a healthy personal life. How has your life changed since moving to New Zealand?

Mireille Verdonkschot


PO Box 17405 Green Lane Auckland 1546 Level 2 642 Great South Road Ellerslie Auckland 1051


+64 9 307 6111

UK freephone: 0808 234 3587


+64 9 307 6110



We are less stressed out than we were before. There is also more of a do-it-yourself ethos here so we have started making our own furniture, brewing our own beer, etc… which has been a lot of fun and probably not something that we would have done when it was so easy to get everything from the store. What one thing would you have done differently? I would have been more aggressive about finding new friends when we arrived. There are a lot of groups and activities out there but we weren’t very proactive so we felt a bit isolated for the first few months, especially since we came at the start of winter. Establish a new routine as soon as possible.

from the States and have them shipped rather than trying to get them here. Many items (e.g. furniture, sporting goods, and small appliances) are quite expensive here – even used – so it may be better to ship from home (check the power supply first). Check out to get an idea of what it will cost to set up house. What advice would you pass to someone commencing the process? Get organised! Make lists for everything, keep meticulous notes, and identify someone who can help tie up loose ends once you are gone. Since leaving, we have had a few occasions where we have had to deal with accounts in the States and it has not been easy getting them resolved because of the time difference or because no one can call you back internationally. Looking back with hindsight, do think you have made the right move for you and your family? We were originally only coming over for a one-year contract but are now planning to go for residency. The hardest part has been being so far away from our family and friends but that is made easier with email and video chats. After nine months we are still getting settled in but I would definitely say that it was the right move for us. Useful Facts: 1st contact to interview:

327 days

What one thing do you wish you had known about before moving?

1 interview to offer:

35 days

Offer to arrival:

71 days

If you have a specialty brand or item that you love, pack extra. In many cases, it has been easier (and cheaper) to buy things

Time since arrival:


315 days

Catalyst newsletter 57 April 2014  

Catalyst newsletter 57 April 2014