Six top Government ministers have developed a construction sector action plan to address skills and labour shortages in the industry.

Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa said it was "an important first step in delivering the construction skills we need for the 21st century".

The plan, which includes initiatives to expand skills for the industry and create additional jobs for the sector, was launched this morning in South Auckland.

Salesa said the Government was taking the issue of labour shortages in the sector "very seriously".


"The construction sector… is one of our largest employers with nearly 10 per cent of the workforce engaged in construction-related occupations."

New Zealand faces a skills shortage in this sector with many employers complaining about the lack of skilled workforce, according to NZIER's quarterly survey of business opinion.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has estimated New Zealand is about 30,000 construction workers short.

The Action Plan has six "initial priority areas" – one for each minister involved.

Those are leveraging government procurement, establishing additional jobs and skills hubs, growing construction careers and credentials, expanding skills for industry, Mana in Mahi (strength in work) and further changes to immigration settings.

Salesa said these areas of focus came from 140 individuals who attended a workshop to discuss what was missing from the Government's approach to addressing the workforce issue.

Other ministers involved include Economic Development Minister David Parker, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, Minister of Employment Willie Jackson and Minister for Social Development (MSD) Carmel Sepuloni.

Speaking to the Herald, Sepuloni said MSD would play an active role in implementing the plan.

"We're very focused on making sure that there is a concentrated effort to ensure that those who are seeking the support of MSD to get into employment are actually going into sustainable and meaningful employment."

These included areas where there were workforce shortages, she said. "Construction is definitely one of those areas."

She said it was important that so many ministers were involved because the plan spanned across so many different Government departments.