New Zealand's biggest builder is off to London as it hunts for new staff to help fill vacancies in our building boom.
A massive surge in building work has prompted Fletcher Construction to kick off its latest recruitment drive with an event at New Zealand House in London on July 28, held in conjunction with Immigration New Zealand and a recruitment company.
Graham Darlow, Fletcher Construction chief executive, said the company would be pitching the lifestyle benefits of working in New Zealand.
"We can't beat the salaries on offer in Dubai and elsewhere but we believe our offering is world-beating. This is the best place in the world to raise a family. Our schools and universities are world class. You can walk to a beach from just about anywhere. There's skiing, mountain climbing and tramping within driving distance - most importantly, we're a safe place," Darlow said.
Last year, Darlow rose to prominence with comments suggesting that some builders who carried out shoddy repair work on Christchurch earthquake damaged homes had "gone back to Ireland".
Complaints were made to the Human Rights Commission.
"There may be a few that we can't find the contractor, maybe they've gone out of business, maybe they've gone back to Ireland, and for those Fletcher will be fronting for the cost of that repair," Darlow said last year.
But now he wants people here to use their connections to pull staff from overseas.
"What we need is for the Kiwi families from England, Scotland and Wales to get on the phone to their relative in the building trade back home and say, 'get over here, it's a great place to live and we need you'."
Darlow says the scale of infrastructure build in New Zealand was unprecedented.
"In Auckland alone, we've got the western ring road, the international convention centre and large five-star hotels."
I have never seen so much construction activity of such a scale right across New Zealand in my 40 years working in the industry.
Upcoming are a number of huge infrastructure projects, including Auckland's city rail link, which combined with other large projects would constitute a 30-year pipeline of construction.
"I have never seen so much construction activity of such a scale right across New Zealand in my 40 years working in the industry," Darlow says.
Fletcher Construction, owned by NZX listed Fletcher Building, has a $1 billion-plus order book and is building the biggest New Zealand projects. It is in an alliance on the Waterview Connection, building SkyCity Entertainment Group's $700 million NZ International Convention Centre and the Commercial Bay tower on the waterfront.
Jobs being advertised on Fletcher Construction's web site include a Commercial Bay superintendent, Waikato-based project manager, site supervisor at Auckland International Airport, Waikato communications adviser, Auckland-based bid writer and site manager for a new Christchurch supermarket.