Tauranga's $400 million plasterboard facility has reached another milestone with the final building consent issued.
Tauranga City Council has approved a building consent worth more than $105m for the "building envelope", roofing, services and equipment of the new Winstone Wallboards facility in Tauriko Business Estate.
A Winstone Wallboards spokeswoman said the company was happy with how the project was tracking.
"Uplifting our second, and final building consent, for the remaining works marks another key milestone for us."
Winstone Wallboards has awarded the construction contract to Fletcher Construction Buildings, which began site works in January.
Fletcher Construction Buildings appointed Gregory Hoeben as their project director, who is working closely with Winstone Wallboards' capital works manager Nick Stenson.
In March, 18,700 man-hours were recorded, which equates to about 110 construction workers on site.
A spokesperson said there had been some supply chain issues due to Covid-19 but the company had been able to mitigate the impacts.
"Where we have been advised of construction material supply delays or potential delays, we have rearranged some of the areas of work/parts of the building to be constructed to match material availability.
"This buys us and Fletcher Construction more time for the delayed materials to arrive onsite.
"We are also working closely with our major equipment supplier, Gypsum Technologies from Canada, to bring forward their shipping dates to help build in further contingency for delays in logistics."
Big goals in uncertain times
Rotorua's Activities Unlimited has announced new additions to the team.
Deb Gee will become the company's new owner and Daniela Olphert will be the new events manager.
After 30 years of successfully setting up events throughout New Zealand and the Pacific, Activities Unlimited felt the need for a breath of fresh air in their company.
The change will see all Activities Unlimited staff stay on, with Gee and Olphert joining the team in their existing office.
Gee, also director of Higher Perspective Consulting & Events, has been working in the events industry for more than 16 years.
She was born and bred in Rotorua and after years of working in Australia and internationally, she has enjoyed being back on her home turf for the last three years.
Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the events industry, but that hasn't stopped Gee.
"Business is all about taking risks and believing in your projects.
"Activities Unlimited has been hugely successful over the past 30 years, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see where we can take it in the next 30."
Olphert also brings a wealth of experience to the team, having worked in the events industry and with Gee for many years.
Previous owner Ian Mexted-Dykes says he is excited for Gee to take the reins, with her wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry.
"Her professionalism and incredible enthusiasm will be a great fit for our team and just what we need to take our business to the next level.
"She's a highly motivated young woman, and it's so nice for her to be able to come back to her hometown in Rotorua to run a business here."
Mexted-Dykes will be staying on with Gee and the existing Activities Unlimited staff.
Companies collaborate to launch recycled plastic truck mudguards
A collaboration between some of the country's leading manufacturing and transport companies will mean hundreds of plastic truck mudguards will be recycled into new mudguards for heavy commercial vehicles.
The project, led by Rhino Manufacturing in Rotorua, repurposes used Rhino mudguards into recycled plastic truck mudguards that meet the necessary industry requirements.
Rhino Manufacturing general manager Will Samuel said the project has taken a year from its initial concept and prototype, to hitting the road on trucks across the country.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the development of this innovative and sustainable product that will go some way to helping the freight industry reduce its carbon emissions.
"It's a really small step, but it's an important one and it goes to show how a bit of creative thinking can start making a difference."
Samuel said it was also a cost-effective solution for trucking companies, as the recycled mudguards were the same price as new guards.
"We've been blown away by the support and feedback from industry and believe that this is just the start of the potential for this product and process."
The first trucking company to use the recycled guards is TR Group.
National sales manager Shane O'Grady said the company has a strong commitment to sustainability and the recycled mudguards were a "no-brainer".
"We are always looking for innovative solutions to help us reduce waste and Rhino have really stepped up to the plate.
"We are also returning our own used guards for recycling so it's great to see the finished product back on our trucks, having come full circle."
Fonterra is one of the largest contributors to the recycling effort – with hundreds of milk tankers on the road and more than a dozen mudguards on each one - and has been a key partner in getting the product off the ground.
Fonterra's national parts and warranty manager Guy Cooper said it was a great example of "the circular economy".
"We started looking at our own recycling options, but after discussions with Rhino, we liked the fact that we know our old guards are being completely reused for the same purpose."
Plastics supplier Vision Plastics manages the supply of plastic and recycling process, and general manager Steve Lewis said the project clearly demonstrated companies can cost-effectively achieve environmental benefits.
Trucking companies can return their used Rhino guards for free and shipping may also be covered, depending on proximity to the specialist plastic recycling centres.
Prospects for NZ machinery and equipment sector favourable despite some big challenges
Improving economic fortunes are likely to bolster New Zealand's machinery and equipment sector in coming years, according to new research from Westpac NZ's economic team.
Westpac NZ Industry Economist Paul Clark says spending on machinery and equipment has been affected by Covid-19, with customers initially having pulled back on their investment in most categories as the economy went into recession in mid-2020.
"Since then, the economy has largely recovered and this has been reflected in a pickup in demand for most types of machinery and equipment. Indeed, in some cases, spending initially surged due to pent-up demand.
"We expect the outlook for the sector over the next couple of years to be positive. Improved domestic fortunes and stronger global economic activity should translate into more demand for many types of electrical and transport equipment, as well as for specialised mechanical machinery.
"That said, firms that manufacture consumer electronics and household appliances, as well as respiratory and other medical equipment, may struggle post-Covid-19."
Longer-term, the outlook for the sector is encouraging, although there are likely to be some big challenges, with customers increasingly opting for digital equipment that not only enhances competitiveness, but also minimises the environmental impacts of their operations.
"For machinery and equipment manufacturers these changes imply big investment in new capabilities. And for some that will prove to be a bridge too far," Clark says.
"As the benefits of digitisation become increasingly apparent to their customers, we think competitive pressures will gradually force many smaller operators to close shop or become targets for mergers and acquisitions activity.
"However, for those who can cross the digital Rubicon, the future looks a lot brighter. Their focus, much like today, will be on niches where they compete on the high quality and reliability of their products, the innovation and creativity of their designs and the excellence of their service offering."
Rotorua's Ngamihi Lodge recognised among NZ's best hotels
Rotorua's Ngamihi Lodge has been granted the 2021 HotelsCombined Recognition of Excellence Award.
The boutique hotel and bed and breakfast at Okareka has been open for five years.
Hotel price comparison website HotelsCombined has selected Ngamihi Lodge to receive the official Recognition of Excellence Award.
This selection has come from HotelsCombined's extensive surveys using data from millions of guest reviews for a wide range of accommodation within New Zealand.
Ngamihi Lodge has consistently produced a high satisfaction rating among guests and travel industry experts.
Ngamihi Lodge joins an elite group of hotels around the world that have been awarded the HotelsCombined Recognition of Excellence.
This exclusive collection of highly-rated accommodations has been chosen using a strict set of criteria such as the quality and consistency of reviews, the absence of recurring or unresolved issues with customers, popularity of the property and of course, the overall resulting score.
HotelsCombined hotel awards programme manager Melinda Balazs said they were "thrilled" to be working with the best hotels in New Zealand.
"Ngamihi Lodge has proven its place among them with this award and its commitment to providing high-quality services to all guests."
Family over money, new study shows
More than 60 per cent of New Zealanders believe Covid-19 has changed what's important in their life, with family – rather than money – topping the list, according to a new study.
Commissioned by ANZ Bank NZ, the study found 52 per cent of Kiwis considered family to be the most important thing to them, followed by health and wellbeing at 40 per cent.
Family is central to most people's definition of wealth, with over 68 per cent of New Zealanders thinking wealth is knowing they can pay for things to help their family thrive. This is particularly high among those aged under 30.
When it comes to financial know-how, most New Zealanders – particularly those under 30 - look to the future and want to know how to save or invest. Reducing debt or a mortgage is the second most desired area of financial know-how and of particular interest to 30– to 49 year-olds.
Overall, New Zealanders feel a strong need to improve their financial wellbeing, with almost 60 per cent wanting to save or invest more for their future and 77 per cent thinking they could do better with their money. Nearly one in three New Zealanders feel they don't have their finances under control.
Ben Kelleher, ANZ managing director of personal banking, said financial wellbeing isn't about being rich, owning a home or having lots of money saved.
"It's about knowing where your money's going and having some saved for a rainy day.
"Personal finances are different for everyone. Our Financial Wellbeing programme will help people figure out their situation, set goals and suggest practical steps on how to get there."
The Financial Wellbeing Survey2 also revealed many people were able to increase their savings early in the Covid-19 crisis, but as time passed savings levels declined and are now down 10 per cent.
"These savings patterns are caused either by a lack of spending options over lockdown or a conscious decision to put a bit more money aside during uncertain times," Kelleher said.
"For most Kiwis developing good financial habits is not so much a matter of willpower or intent but more about people knowing how. We often just don't know where to start or what to do."
REINZ announces new chief executive
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has announced that Jen Baird will be the industry body's new chief executive and will start in the role in early July.
Baird said she had spent nearly 10 years working in the real estate profession, and like many Kiwis has a love of property; so, getting the role at REINZ is like coming home.
"I'm really excited to join REINZ at a time when the industry is rapidly changing and where the importance of data and digital transformation will be so important in the profession's future. Additionally, there are significant changes from a regulatory perspective which will require real leadership from the industry body, so I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity of being involved in everything that lies ahead."
For the past three years, Baird has been the general manager of city growth for the Hamilton City Council.
Her role includes responsibility for planning for the long-term future of a metropolitan-scale city, including growth funding and delivery of new growth cells, leading the council's regulatory responsibilities for land use, resource and building consents, economic development, customer experience and city safety.
This broad role has also included considerable stakeholder engagement and risk management. She led the council's civil defence and crisis management during last year's alert level 4 lockdown.
Prior to her role at the council, she was their communications and marketing manager for a short period. Before this, Jen was chief marketing officer at Barfoot & Thompson for nearly 10 years, and she also spent two years as manager communications and brand at Radius Health Group.
REINZ board chairwoman Bridget Coates says: "Jen is a strong, strategic thinker with exceptional people management capabilities, and she is used to leading teams through challenging transformative environments. Her experience across diverse teams and dealing with a multitude of stakeholders will be an asset to REINZ and we look forward to welcoming her to the team later in the year.
"Our acting chief executive, Wendy Alexander, will continue on in her 'caretaker' capacity until Jen joins the team," Coates says.