The building sector in Tararua District is a multimillion-dollar business, helping to grow a strong, economic future for our district. The Tararua District Council's Building Services Department has processed $22,116,849 of building consents since July 1, 2019, an increase from $14,712,706 in the 2018/19 year and $13,400,556 in 2017/18. For the 2019/20 year, 316 applications were received, up from 304 in 2018/19 and 312 in 2017/18.

Joss Tua-Davidson, owner of JTD Building, in Pahiatua, is one of those who are, "really busy".

"We're flat out," he says.

Specialising in new-build homes, renovations and farm work, the business employs three other full-time workers, making a big contribution to our local economy.

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"That's quite a cool part of being an employer, swinging things around in the whole community," Joss says.

During alert level 4, the Government's wage subsidy helped play its part, with JTD Building topping up employee's wages to 80 per cent.

"That meant money was still going around our community," Joss said.

Tararua District Councillor Peter Johns acknowledges how Covid-19 has changed the world and the importance of thinking local.

"Never again will things be quite the same as we have grown up to accept. While 'normality' will return, it will be a different normality," he says. "We need to rethink how we will operate in the future, across all segments of society. In the first instance, we need to look after ourselves, and that starts with thinking local.

"In the past, many of us have sought better deals by travelling out of the district or buying online. If, however, we want to retain existing services, businesses and jobs, we need to look after them and that means giving them our custom whenever we can. We have a great district, let's keep it that way."

Pahiatua-based builder Neil Algie, owner of Algie Construction.
Pahiatua-based builder Neil Algie, owner of Algie Construction.

Pahiatua-based builder Neil Algie, owner of Algie Construction, is confident about the future, with plenty of work lined up.

"I've been overrun with work all year and once we got into alert level 3, I was able to get back to it."

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Neil works alone but calls in subcontractors when needed and says most of his work is local, along with some in Feilding and a house-build coming up in Palmerston North.

"I'm trying to spend locally and have just purchased a new van, so the money is going around," he says.

Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis says council is extremely fortunate to enjoy good working relationships with its builders.

"Four of our building inspectors are ex-builders and really understand the issues, something our tradesmen appreciate," she says.

"The Tararua District offers a full range of builders from commercial right through to handymen. They work with many of our local businesses so when you support a local builder the flow-on benefits in the community reach far wider, it's very much a case of #LoveLocalTararua.

"Our builders offer great value and are proud to have trained many local apprentices who continue to work locally when qualified with some even setting up their businesses. Our builders have earned good reputations and have been kept busy with the growth we are experiencing."

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There's plenty of work for Sam Last of Ruahine Contractors in Dannevirke.

"I've got plenty of work to keep me going until the end of the year," he says. "There still seems to be work out there and mine is all 100 per cent local stuff.

Sam believes if everyone keeps spending we'll get through.