Red Alert

Where are they?

Posted by on February 17th, 2013

Last year, Labour questioned why a company called King Facade Ltd had been given approval in principle from Immigration New Zealand to bring in 110 “Facade Installers” from China on the basis that there were no New Zealanders skilled enough to do the work. There were  questions about the granting of this approval that were not satisfactorily answered by either the Minister of Immigration or Immigration New Zealand, with only a cursory attempt to find New Zealand workers, and a exaggeration of the skills required ensuring that any Kiwis would not meet the requirements.

The parent company of King Facade Ltd is Mainzeal, and this week King Facade Ltd also went into voluntary liquidation.

The then Associate Minister of Immigration, Kate Wilkinson gave assurances that the parent company Mainzeal had a good record with Work and Income. Another big justification from the government was that King Facade would work with Mainzeal and the Industry Training Organisation to develop a Facade Installer Apprenticeship programme, so New Zealanders would be skilled to do the work in future.

Well that’s all fallen over, along with the collapse of Mainzeal, the loss of jobs and contractors out of pocket.

Who knows what’s happened to the poor Chinese Migrant workers, who were promised a three year employment contract.

My guess is they were on the next flight home, with no pay in their pockets for the work they have done.


David Shearer and Clayton Cosgrove announced today that Labour will legislate for a fairer deal for subbies.

25 Responses to “Where are they?”

  1. Amerikiwi says:

    It’s all nice to hear that Labour is going to legislate for “fair deals” until one realises that it was Labour that removed those very protections 20+ years ago. Yet again demonstrating that generally all political parties and politicians have limited foresight and freely change policy to buy the popular vote when convenient. Stop tinkering and focus on smaller government and let the market sort itself out. See this interesting article for details on Labour’s flip flog:

    That said I do believe the industry needs to review process for paying sub contractors – it’s in no one’s benefit (pricipal, consultants, main contractor, sub contractor, community etc…) for sub contractors to be left out of pocket.

  2. Nick K says:

    But Mainzeal is not in liquidation so what’s your concern?

  3. Grant Hay says:

    Has anyone asked questions about the asian workers employed by a firm sub-contracted to ENABLE for the roll-out of fast broadband over fibre? We’ve had what seems like dozens of them working in our area for weeks doing what looks like basic labouring of the type that I did as a teenager back in the 70’s. What’s more thay look fairly slow and inefficient to me. I don’t believe that NZ unemployed workers couldn’t have quickly been trained in how to do this work.

  4. jennifer says:

    Amerikiwi, what I find deliciously amusing about the idiot who wrote that piece is he overlooked who was in government in 1939 when the ‘lien’ system was introduced. Still, that was 74 years ago. I guess he figured he could get away with implying hypocricy over something they did 26 years ago, but 74 years ago might have been a stretch? Amazing how the media so easily recover their memory in a Labour story, but never in a Tory story. It’s as if they had never been in government before 2008.

  5. Darien Fenton says:

    @Nick K – yes Mainzeal is in receivership, with hundreds of Kiwi workers out of pocket, not to mention the other creditors. That’s my concern along with the King Facade workers.
    @Grant Hay – good question, I will look into it.
    @Amerikiwi – I was not part of the 1980’s Labour Government. We are allowed to say we got it wrong and fix the problem. Or would you rather we stubbornly remained fixed in the past where blame is easily ascribed.
    @Jennifer – well said.

  6. John says:

    I understand if you prefer facts not to get in the way of your story, but Mainzeal is not the parent company of King Facade.

  7. @John – yes but both have the same parent company Richina and King Facade drew heavily on its relationship with Mainzeal in its application for approval in principle to bring in Chinese workers. So you are technically right, but it doesn’t change a single thing for these workers.

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    Only in NZ could an ex Kindergarten Teacher rise to Board Level obviously a Political Appointment.

  9. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    That kindergarten teacher was also on the board of the China Construction Bank, one of the largest in China. That has more do do with it, as its more likely that Mr Yan was merely a front person for his Chinese state backers

  10. Jack Ramaka says:

    It would appear Bolger, Shipley, Key & English have had a master plan to sell off NZ to the Chinese.

    One day New Zealanders will wake up to what these guys are up to, giving immigration points for Chinese based on residental property purchases is mindless and has driven Auckland pricing through the roof. I don’t understand why we are letting the Asians into NZ when they do not actually add anything to NZ apart from driving up residential house prices. Alot of the money is hot money being cleaned through the NZ housing market. I thought they had to invest in productive businesses to get residency however it appears to be property development and speculation is what we are importing these people for.

    New Zealanders are now seeing what the Maori went through in 1800’s.

  11. Grant Hay says:

    Further to my comment above about foreign workers being hired for the UFB roll-out in Chch, I’ve lifted the following quote from this link:

    “Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said it was (sic) concerned that without an adequate supply of trained workers Telecom’s network arm Chorus and its contractors, such as Transfield, would recruit “cheap, foreign labour” to build the bulk of the UFB network.”

  12. insider says:

    Jeez jack, labour says kindergarten teachers are highly skilled professionals who carry a huge responsibility. Being a director should be a cinch.

    What’s your problem with them? Don’t you like them getting uppity? Oh you are anti Asian too. What a guy…

    @ grant – telecom/chorus have been bringing in Filipinos for years. They were heavily used in the cabinet upgrades a few years ago because they were fully qualified having just completed a similar rollout over there.

  13. George says:

    Well does anybody actually know what became of them?

  14. Grant Hay says:

    @insider: Well what do I know for sure? :) But I can tell you I had a lengthy and interesting conversation with a gentleman (kiwi) wearing fluoro and hard-hat who I took to be supervisor grade, who was shaking his head in exasperation because of all the stuff-ups and complaints from householders created by these imported workers. His job was going ’round after them putting out the bush-fires and listing the things that needed fixing. There may be some skilled or semi-skilled amongst these imported workers, but for the life of me, most of them were doing stuff a limited ten year old could be trained to do and they weren’t doing it very well. Amongst the many faults which even half trained workers should be able to avoid:

    Filling in holes 1.5 metres deep in one go and machine tamping the top. Guess how long it will take before it subsides? Clue. This winter will answer the question.

    Repairing trenched footpaths with a product known as coldpatch, which doesn’t set hard like hot-mix which is the correct product to use. The first kid who came through on a skateboard went arse over kite when his front wheels dug into the soft surface. Apparently much of the surrounding subdivision needs repairs and fix ups done because of this type of incompetence.

    Well trained and supervised workers from amongst the unemployed NZ work force couldn’t do this better? I don’t believe it. But if it’s true the quality of Kiwi workers has gone throught he floor in the last thirty years.

  15. Grant Hay says:

    PS. The workers may have been Filipinos, they looked it, but the supervisor I was talking to mentioned that they were working for a NORTH KOREAN sub-contractor to Transfield. I queried this several times but was assured it was true. I don’t know, those who wish, make of it what you will…

  16. insider says:

    @Grant – Different crowd then. I know some of the ones in Auckland and they are definitely kiwis. But the Filipinos weren’t ditch diggers, they were telecoms techs doing the commissioning of new fibre optic cabinets.

    Bit of a reality check, I don’t think,I’ve ever met a tradesman that thought the guy before him did a decent job :-)

  17. Grant Hay says:

    @insider. Don’t need the reality check :) I’m a tradesman and I’ve worked all sorts of jobs since I was still at school. I know what a decent bit of work looks like and this wasn’t it!! I personally saw what they were doing and what it looked like afterwards and the guy I was talking to confirmed my opinion and said he’d been pulled off other work to control the quality of their work and stop them making such a hash of things. We’re not talking a handful of NZ Filipino’s here. This is a large gang of imported workers in one subdivision. They’ve been around here since before Xmas. (At this pace the roll-out won’t be finished anytime soon). I presume many other gangs are working on this roll out around the country. I’d be really interested to know how many foreign workers are involved on this project nation wide.

  18. Jack Ramaka says:

    We have very few skilled trades people left in NZ after National got rid of the Apprenticeship Schemes, hammer hands instantly became qualified carpenters, I think the clown Lockwood Smith was in behind that one. He will be in his element in the UK especially with the plum he has in his mouth.

    National’s leaky homes program was driven by the Major Building suppliers wanting to improve there profitability and we the taxpayers and ratepayers are picking up the tab, maybe Shipley was acting as a consultant to the Building Industry at this stage.

    Are we importing tradespeople from North Korea now we have skills shortages here in NZ, this place really is going to the dogs when we have to import North Korean tradespeople.

  19. Jack Ramaka says:

    Will be interesting if any facts ever come out on the collapse of Mainzeal, and the involvement of Jenny Shipley and it’s demise, very peculiar the Directors resigned just before Xmas, did they only just realise things were going pear shaped, if they were Directors for a reasonable length of time prior to the company’s collapse they should be held to account for Professional Negligence.

    Reminds me of many other corporate collapses in NZ where the Directors come out smelling of roses, BNZ and the Winebox Enquiry would have to be one of NZ’s Classics.

    Labour/Greens/NZF & Mana are going to have one hell of a mess to clean up after Key/Banks/Dunne & Sharples have finished driving this country into the ground. Borrowings up from $12.0 Billion to $60 Billion to help fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

    It would be an interesting analysis to see how better off this country would have been without previous State Asset Sales to the NZ elite and offshore corporations. $14.0 Billion in dividends now being remitted offshore from previously owned State Assets which were paid for by hardworking NZ Taxpayers.

    I do not believe New Zealanders do not want to work, the problem is with alot of the building work is now being done by Asian companies in NZ, they look after their own people first, which is common sense. Shame the NZ Government does not think of the residents of NZ first before overseas immigrants.

    I do not believe Asian Buyers should be able to buy NZ property if they are not NZ Residents especially if they are buying through nominees or nominee companies. We do not know who these people are and where the source of funds are coming from. It appears we are a cleaning house for overseas funds. 99% of trades in NZD are speculative only 1% are in the tradeable sector imports/exports.
    No wonder we have no control of where our exchange rate is going.

    John Key is in the clear on the Sky City Pokies deal, one would have thought there was some conflict of interest there. I don’t see how more pokies help grow the NZ economy. Sky City need the revenue from the pokies to cashflow the Convention Centre another wealth transfer from the have not’s to the haves, sanctioned by the Auditor General who’s wages are paid for by the Government.

  20. Si says:

    OK, time for reality. The workers are Filipinos, yes, but they work for a South Korean Company, does anyone on here really believe that North Korea would grant the visas to leave or do users check in active brain cells when they log on.

    The reason they have been brought in is to provide horizontal drilling services. The UFB roll out requires companies to deliver within an extremely tight time frame or face LDs from Crown Fibre Holdings, there are not enough drills or trained operators within NZ to make these time frames and so foreign skilled teams have been brought in.

    As for comments about quality of work, trust me as someone who worked as part of the project, a fair chunk of work which was carried out by NZ workers prior to the arrival of the Filipino crews left a lot to be desired and often required remedial action.

  21. Grant Hay says:

    @ Si. Why would they need North Korea to grant visas when they are Filipinos? Who checked brain cells at the door again? I spoke to the supervisor doing remedial action on thir work again today and he said there are about 140 of them nationwide and most of them are providing unskilled or semi-skilled labour, not rocket science. These guys are on the end of spades and tampers not guiding horizontal drills. Do you actually know as much as you claim to? The firm they appear to work for is LINEKON:

    The site is nearly all in Korean but it appears to be about jobs and recruitment. The starting rate offered is approx $15 ph with xtra $6 ph incentive possible. That is donkey wages not skilled labour rate. And I have described fairly precisely the kind of idiot stuff that’s been going on. Do you reckon that’s fine coming from “foreign skilled teams”. Good on ya, mate. That’s why we’re in the fix we’re in.

  22. Si says:

    Grant, do you really believe they are from North Korea, did Kim Jung send them as a pre cursor to an invasion?

    Your basic geopolitical understanding aside (or lack of,) my explanation still stands, they work as a complete crew due to language difficulties. I can though assume you have no understanding of the techniques being used on the UFB role out.

    As for wages, I agree they are low.

  23. Grant Hay says:

    @Si; Strawman argument. I never said they were from Nth Korea or employed by a Nth Korean Firm. Nor did I say the origin of the foreign contractor was important. I DID say I disapproved of hiring foreign unskilled labour. I DID say that I found it hard to believe. I DID say I was TOLD that they were employed by a Nth Korean firm by an employee (kiwi) of either (I presume) LINEKON or Transfield. You can read?? Then why am I writing this again?

  24. Grant Hay says:

    @Si: Oh, and by the way, if they need to “work as a complete crew due to language difficulties”, why are some of the labouring crew made up of Kiwis? Also, why are the more skilled teams of drillers, surveyors and techs made up of mixed nationalities? It seems that for all your blow hard / know all swagger you don’t really have all the bases covered yourself.

    To be clear. I don’t have a problem with hiring foreign skills we can’t provide for ourselves. But I regard the hiring of foreign UNSKILLED labour as unpatriotic in the extreme when we are in the middle of a recession and have a true unemployment rate well into double digits. It is plain treachery to our own unemployed workers. You’re obviously just fine with all of that. I’m proud to hold the opposite view.

  25. Jack Ramaka says:

    Key & English are selling out to foreign corporates, I was told that Fletchers is now more than 80% foreign owned and is always the preferred contractor for Government Projects.

    Corporates will always drive their costs down to improve profitability, the Christchurch rebuild is a cash cow for Fletchers with a near monopoly on the supply of Building Products and guaranteed contracts, a definite win/win for Fletchers.

    With regards to the importation of foreign labour the National Party have always pushed this policy as they can keep wages low and drive the lower socio economic sectors of society deeper into the ground. Holyoake gave special approval to his business partners to bring in scrubcutters from the Pacific Islands.