Auckland builders are recruiting foreigners to beat a desperate shortage of skilled labour which threatens to undermine house-building targets in the city's housing accord.

One company building at Hobsonville Point, Complete Build, has recruited 10 of its 50 workers from the Philippines, Chile and Hungary, as well as hiring 18 local apprentices, including two women.

"I could definitely find work for 100 guys, but unfortunately we have trouble finding them and retraining them," said Complete Build director Amon Johnson.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation chief executive Ruma Karaitiana said there had been "a flurry" of applications to Immigration NZ from Auckland employers.


Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown said yesterday that 12,709 consents for new homes or sections were created for the year to September in the second year of their accord, not far off their target of 13,000.

However, their target of 17,000 new homes and sections in the third year would be "a stretch".

"We discussed the issue of industry training, where one of the barriers to continuing this growth phase is the number of skilled people," Dr Smith said.

Mr Karaitiana said a further 30,000 workers would be needed in the next three years to meet a projected growth in Auckland residential building from $6.4 billion this year to $9.6 billion in 2018.

Unitec building technology head Daniel Fuemana said he was "inundated" with employers seeking trainees and had 70 vacancies he could not fill.