Tauranga’s booming construction sector is driving up the demand for qualified electricians in the region. According to a new report by a New Zealand infrastructure firm, the focus of the building industry had moved away from the Christchurch rebuild to the North Island.

While Auckland remains the dominant force in the infrastructure landscape, the report has highlighted the growth happening in Tauranga and Hamilton. Up until mid-October, Tauranga City Council had issued $564m in commercial, residential, government and community consents, 16 per cent more than in the same period last year. Forty-eight consents have been issued for commercial developments each worth more than $1m.

The growth in demand is causing pressures, with the sector struggling to cope with the rising need for tradespeople, including electricians. Hawes Building Solutions owner Mark Hawes said the huge demand for qualified tradies meant the industry was “very competitive” and tradies were being booked up many months in advance.

The boom had worsened the significant shortage of skilled labour, particularly qualified carpenters, plumbers and electricians in Tauranga, Hawes said. “It’s both good news and bad for Tauranga.”

TradeStaff central North Island regional manager Geoff Campbell said there was huge demand for tradies across the board. The increased number of people coming down from Auckland meant demand for housing was really strong, and had a flow-on effect.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ chief executive officer Greg Wallace said the significant shortage was being seen in a number of centres, particularly the Bay of Plenty. Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said it was a pleasing sign for the long term prospects of the region and the figures proved there was a boom.