Time for a new business as usual

02 April 2020

Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash

It’s not business as usual now. Business as usual has gone. And it’s not coming back.

It’s up to us – all of us who want a healthier, greener Aotearoa – to make sure that the new normal that emerges over the coming weeks, months and years, is built upon better, healthier places for healthier, happier New Zealanders.

Doing so will help our businesses build again, our economy thrive, our air to be less polluted, our water to be clean, and people to live and prosper in healthy, happier homes and communities, and pollution-free buildings.

Right now, in the short-term, there’s lots of uncertainty, and worry.

And in a year’s time, our businesses will be different. Our economy will be different.

Right now, the Government and their advisers are considering how we should rebuild, and we want to ensure that the new businesses, the new Aotearoa, is built upon a strongly connected alliance of New Zealanders who want healthier, warmer homes for all, blossoming communities for our friends and family to enjoy, and buildings that aren’t polluting our air and water.

Imagine if all our homes were healthy and warm. Imagine if all our communities were happy, diverse, united, green places.

Imagine if our building industry was booming again, and building healthy, sustainable places, and showing the rest of the world the way forward in green, pollution-free construction.

Imagine if the government saved thousands of construction companies from going bust while also backing a shift for every commercial building and every new home to drastically cut their carbon footprint.

Imagine new jobs for thousands of New Zealanders were created in retrofitting all homes to be warm, dry, and healthy, with proper insulation and a decent, efficient heater?

Together, we can make that happen. When all of us who want the above to no longer be imagined, but to be real, join together, we will make that happen.

We don’t have to imagine this. Our economy, our businesses, will be different in a year’s time. Together, we can make a healthier, happier, cleaner Aotearoa, with a thriving, green building and construction industry, and happy, warm New Zealanders, building lifelong happy memories and prospering in healthy, flourishing places.

The government is calling for shovel-ready projects. Let’s have the funding for these projects also ensure that they are green certified. This provides a framework and will confirm that the Sustainable Development goals will be met. When Government departments build hospitals, prisons and schools, let’s ensure they are green and healthy.

Our sector is going to have to be zero carbon in the coming years, so let’s insist that the government funding makes that happen as soon as possible. Economic boost. Jobs. Backing for our sector. And a zero carbon industry. What’s not to like?

The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme is on hold right now. But when it relaunches, let’s see it receive a massive government boost, and a hugely expanded mandate to reach many more New Zealand homes that need heating and insulation.

Over the coming weeks, the government will be injecting billions into the New Zealand economy, and announcing new economic packages to help our businesses, and help keep New Zealanders at work. That’s clearly the right thing to do. But this economic stimulus should also build a better Aotearoa, and put the very places we live, play and flourish at its heart. Let’s use this economic stimulus to create the zero carbon jobs and industry we need.

And let’s wash our hands free of polluting buildings and unhealthy homes.

We’ll have more to come on this when the time is right, so do watch this space. As always, do please drop me a line with any suggestions or questions.

He waka eke noa.