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Sun November 28 2021

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NZ construction workers return to site

28 Apr 20 Over a thousand workers are returning to New Zealand’s road and rail projects today to help kick-start the post-lockdown economy.

The lockdown halted work on the City Rail Link
The lockdown halted work on the City Rail Link

KiwiRail will be restarting back up on almost all of it projects today, including the Kaikōura rebuild and Wellington metro upgrades.

Work on New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project, City Rail Link, is also resuming today.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has approved the start-up plans and construction works will restart this week on 25 of the 44 state highway projects around the country. All state highway and rail projects are expected to have works restart next Monday.

New Zealand moved its coronavirus response from the higher Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Monday 27th April. It will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a review, with further decisions made on 11 May. Minister of transport Phil Twyford stressed that moving to Alert Level 3 does not mean a return to pre-pandemic ways of working. “Strict health and safety protocols are being followed at every site to keep workers and the public safe,” he said. “These include restricting access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing and the use of additional protective clothing.”

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Deputy prime minister Winston Peters said that the government is getting the record infrastructure build back up and running as soon as possible to help support workers and businesses and kick-start economic activity. “We’ve worked hard to help cushion the blow from Covid-19 with initiatives like the wage subsidy and advance payments to transport contractors; and we know the industry is now raring to go,” he said. “We’re putting our money where our mouth is and getting people back to work day one of Alert Level 3 so we can get money into the pockets of businesses and workers sooner.”

Twyford said that it has been a real team effort getting projects ready to restart. “I’d like to thank the industry, Waka Kotahi, City Rail Link Ltd and KiwiRail for their efforts which will see well over 1,000 construction workers back on the job this week,” he said. “For example, the Kaikōura rebuild will see around 450 road and rail workers back to work, City Rail Link expects 400 workers back this week, and Transmission Gully and Pūhoi to Warkworth will ramp back up to hundreds of workers at each.

“Major infrastructure projects like these and those contained in the New Zealand Upgrade programme will help provide much needed stimulus to the economy and guaranteed jobs.”

He added that it is too soon to say whether Covid-19 has had any effect on construction timeframes on individual projects. “My expectation is that project teams will look at accelerating works where possible,” he said. 

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