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  • Some years ago, shortly after I bought my block of flats, an Indian family moved into one of the units. They stayed for a few years, then let me know they were moving out but they had an auntie who would like take over the flat. That worked well and auntie stayed for quite a while until she too decided to move on. Naturally she had a second cousin twice-removed who liked the place, so he and his wife took up the tenancy. As each of these changes took place over a single day, there was little opportunity to anything more than the most basic maintenance during the time each of this succession of tenants was actually in occupation.


    However, in the middle of last year, cousin and wife bought their own place and moved out along with many thanks and much goodwill all around. Then, for the first time in ten years, I was able to get a really good look at the empty and uncluttered flat. Although basically sound and weatherproof, many years of hard wear had taken its toll. Also, built in the late 1960s, it had never been updated during the subsequent years.

    So what did I need to do to upgrade and meet today’s much more finicky market? The renovations sound simple - gut the kitchen and bathroom, fit new bathroom and new kitchen. That apparently also means entirely replacing all the plumbing and all the electrical wiring, including a new switchboard. Following that, a repaint throughout the inside and install new light fittings and new floorcoverings. That should do it.

    Attacking the old cabinets and fittings with large and heavy blunt instruments is actually quite fun, in a therapeutic kind of way. That part is quite a speedy exercise, and we made rapid progress along with clouds of dust and plaster. After a good sweep out, the measuring and planning part started. “If we put this unit there, then the other bit can go here . . . . . “ and so on. Took a couple of weeks to get all that planning sorted and then we could order the bits.

    Have you tried to get fixtures and fittings, electricians and plumbers recently? Hens teeth are plentiful in comparison. Some of the people I used in the past have grown elderly and retired, other companies have changed owners and changed staff, while others are willing to help – in about seven months’ time. I’m actually now feeling a tiny little bit of sympathy towards Minister Twyford and his struggle with Kiwibuild.

    It’s all very well to draw up nice plans on paper and lay out the project management with PERT and all the other fancy planning tools, but reality and human nature have a most irritating and uncomfortable ability to worm their way in and destroy the best laid plans. The kitchen cabinets arrive, but they’ve run out of bolts and fixtures so those will have to come later. The shower tray that was meant to have the outlet at the left rear now has it in the centre, and the one we actually want is somewhere on a ship between here and the factory in deepest darkest Asia. It may arrive and it may not, so best accept what we actually have right now and make do. The pedestal basin will not fit the pedestal, or is it the other way around? Between this that and the other the time drags on.

    The worst part, of course, is the labour content. The plumber turns up, works half a day, and disappears again - possibly until next week. The electricians arrive, pull all the wires out, hack holes in the walls in quite surprising places, mutter darkly among themselves and then evaporate. The handywoman gets the kitchen assembled then want to go away for some sort of LBGT hand-holding conclave. Will I ever see any of them again? In the meantime, I have to take time out myself to deal with meetings, tenants, conferences, presentations, heated arguments, and life in general. Those academics who call the profits from residential rentals ‘unearned income’ have never experienced this lot.

    So why do we have these apparently country-wide skills shortages? We seem to have an ample supply of lawyers, accountants, assorted
    bureaucrats, consultants, HR managers and all their accompanying make-work functionaries, but those people who can actually pick up a hammer and a screwdriver and have the skills to use them competently are in very short supply.

    Since the days of the 1970s post-school education has been largely captured by the universities, and it all now happens academically in lecture rooms. Starting work at eight in the morning and getting your hands dirty is now seen as an undesirable and low-skill career path. Much better to be sitting in a well-lit air-conditioned corner office tapping a keyboard. Today’s Tiger Mums aim for nothing less. Thus we have the recent well-publicised travails of the countries Polytechs, now reduced to clutching each other for support and begging for taxpayer bailouts.

    So we need to either import the skills we lack or try to train those aimless drifters we already have. Unfortunately, both options entail significant drawbacks. Immigrants arrive needing to be housed for some time before their contribution can benefit the country. Hence in the short term they make our already acute housing shortage even worse, and
    you simply can't just hook a loafer off the sofa, hand them a bunch of tradies tools, and expect quality output. Unfortunately, so many people with Ph.Ds and MBAs think that working on the tools is simple, low-level skill that anyone can do with 20 minutes of training, such is their intellectual arrogance.

    My neighbour has two teenage sons. One son wants to be Peter Jackson while the other wants to be Steven Adams. Just how many film producers or basketball stars does this country need? To solve the skill shortages problem we must no longer deify suits and the media but acknowledge and properly value the vital contribution of those who build and maintain the infrastructure of our country.


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    • Originally posted by flyernzl View Post
      To solve the skill shortages problem we must no longer deify suits and the media but acknowledge and properly value the vital contribution of those who build and maintain the infrastructure of our country.
      I venture that LLs fit quite well into the definition of those who do just that, too.
      Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

      Comment


      • We have circa 350k underemployed people in this country. We just need to train them.

        We used to do this via the army, ministry of works, train workshops etc. etc.

        But we closed all them to make ourselves more efficient. Now we pay for that via the dole, the police, justice system etc.

        From here: https://www.stats.govt.nz/informatio...r-2018-quarter

        Squadly dinky do!

        Comment


        • Sobering figures.

          Yet Taxcindarella et al tell us what a splendid job they're doing.
          Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

          Comment


          • Well the Nat government did the same.

            They all basically under report how many people we have wandering the streets with nothing to do.

            Other countries do it too I think.
            Squadly dinky do!

            Comment


            • Great post flyernzl as always.. Similar experiences found here when trying to find good plumbers and electricians. I have one really good electrician guy, but he is feeling the pinch of all the Nazi safety , especially in relation to ladders. I've a good plumber too working for a large company i always request him by name as he sleeps and dreams plumbing stuff so is very good..

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Davo36 View Post
                We have circa 350k underemployed people in this country. We just need to train them.
                After breastfeeding all the lazy arses for 50 odd years how do you train their children and grandchildren who never knew what means "employment"?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by mrsaneperson View Post
                  Great post flyernzl as always.. Similar experiences found here when trying to find good plumbers and electricians. I have one really good electrician guy, but he is feeling the pinch of all the Nazi safety , especially in relation to ladders. I've a good plumber too working for a large company i always request him by name as he sleeps and dreams plumbing stuff so is very good..
                  Young'un in the family almost out of his time as a plumber. Tried to persuade the next one, just left school, to be a sparky but so far she is not interested.

                  Comment


                  • Offer some inducement!

                    Electrify her with the benefits list.
                    Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by AlFa View Post
                      After breastfeeding all the lazy arses for 50 odd years how do you train their children and grandchildren who never knew what means "employment"?
                      Well we need to start reversing this today. Asap.

                      Otherwise the problem is only going to get worse.
                      Squadly dinky do!

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Davo36 View Post
                        Well we need to start reversing this today. Asap.

                        Otherwise the problem is only going to get worse.
                        I'm all for it but can't see it happening with all this PC/methree/easily offended/cotton-wool wrapped crowd

                        Comment


                        • Simply put time limits on benefits and access to a state house.

                          Tell our friends who think they’ve got it for life that the rules will change in 2021 (about the same time LL have to get their SH1T sorted for HH guarantee act changes). From 2021 you get a max 5 yrs on the nene and or on a state house then the fund stops for good. Retrain, find work in that time or the cash runs out. get a job earlier than 5 years and if in future you lose your job you get the safety net of the balance of your 5 years while you find your next job.

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                          • Hell! Come 2026 there's going to be an explosion of "hard done by" homeless as their state paid accomo is taken away. Labour will never allow their voters be treated like that.

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                            • Yep never gonna happen. Who do you think is easier to influence - independent highly educated mom and dad family or bunch of single mothers/lazy arse mob members who can bought with $10 dole increase and fluent flow of delusional statements? Just look at last election - 10-15% increase in Labour supporters just because old white male was replaced with fairyland ex-fish-n-chips employee.

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                              • After 18 months of almost complete failure by the Government on everything from Kiwibuild and child poverty to the relationship with China, it is clear that, for many of her supporters, it doesn't matter what Ardern does, it is enough that she is.

                                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/...ectid=12210536
                                have you defeated them?
                                your demons

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