Tradie wages not matching living costs

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 16:19 26/06/2014

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The Christchurch rebuild has attracted many tradies, but wages are not keeping up with high living costs.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise's quarterly Canterbury job-matching report, released today, says wages in the construction industry will have to rise to "offset discouragement caused by the high cost of living in Canterbury".

In the year to March 31, salary and wage rates in the Canterbury construction industry increased 3 per cent. This is down from 3.7 per cent in the year to last December 31, but ahead of the 1.7 per cent wage growth for the rest of New Zealand in the year to March 31.

However, with rents and house prices rising sharply, the report suggests wage growth is not keeping up with living costs.

It predicts living costs will keep rising because of the region's population growth, accommodation required to house temporary construction workers and homeowners seeking temporary accommodation while their earthquake-damaged homes are repaired.

The report shows that growth in the construction sector has not translated into significant pay increases for construction workers.

Migrants have flocked to Canterbury in the first three months of the year, figures from the report show.

The number of construction-specific visas doubled from the September 2013 quarter to the March 2014 quarter, with 859 construction-specific work visa arrivals in Canterbury (out of a total of 1583 visas), up from 416 (847 total) in the September quarter.

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- The Press

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