Tag Archives: Ministry of Business

Imported steel —New Zealand, “sleepy corner of the world”

The question that is increasingly being asked here is whether New Zealand engineers can be absolutely certain they have been supplied the quality of steel they ordered and whether we have systems in place to ensure standards are adhered to. The industry appears to believe the answers to both of those questions is “no”.

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 05/05/2013
Engineers flag concern over imported steel
By Rob Stock – Sunday Star-Times
The Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) has secretly alerted the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of concerns about the quality of imported structural steel used in New Zealand buildings. The Institute admitted concerns about the quality of “materials and equipment including steel used in various industries – construction, engineering, and machinery” were relayed to MBIE just weeks ago, after being raised at the Institute’s annual forum in March. The Institute cautioned that the information received was “anecdotal” and “raised in a private members’ area”, adding “at this stage IPENZ is unaware of the scale of the issue, or whether they were one-off instances”.

Steel importers could easily find Chinese manufacturers willing to falsify certificates to pass off cheaper steel as high quality.

Less private, though, were two papers given at the Steel Innovations Conference in Christchurch in February, just before that March meeting, papers which for the first time publicly alluded to the issue. One paper delivered by three staffers of Australian steel company OneSteel called for the construction industry to only accept steel from manufacturers accredited by independent third parties. “In Australia, there have been some significant structural failures which have been due, either wholly or in part, to the lack of conformance of the product to the standard and the identification of its source. Unfortunately legal restrictions on the reporting of these failures means they cannot be readily identified or discussed in this paper,” the paper said. In other words, the steel was not what was ordered. Some might call it counterfeit. Evidence from the UK, the paper said, “undeniably confirms that the lack of product conformity and traceability is contributing to structural failures”.

“Engineers from quite different parts of the engineering family have realised that we all have this issue to some extent.” –John Hare, Structural Engineers Society

The second paper on the damage done by the Canterbury earthquakes to the 22-storey Pacific Tower in Christchurch, which has now been fully repaired, brings things closer to home. As one engineer familiar with the paper put it, there were instances of failure in some imported structural steel in the tower which should not have happened. “Some of the parts were damaged more than what was expected,” he said. The steel in question was imported from Singapore, and was found not to perform as well at lower temparature as New Zealand or Australian-made steel. The authors of the paper called for “rigorous traceability between mill certificates and the material used in the fabrication” for structural steel used in certain circumstances. “Steels of origins other than NZ/AU may not have the required toughness… to comply with the current New Zealand steel structures standards,” it said.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, IPENZ, Media, Project management, Property, Site

Employment matters —the BAD stuff

For anyone needing help, advice or mediation on employment and work-related matters anywhere in New Zealand . . .

Contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MoBIE) – formerly the Department of Labour.
http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/solvingproblems/resolving/mediation.asp

More information on mediation and how to access the service is available at http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/services/mediators/index.asp
or contact the centre on Freephone 0800 20 90 20

You can also contact your union representative, a lawyer or your local Community Law Centre for advice.

█ Don’t hesitate to call Police on 111 if you feel threatened.

We note the following news items with some distress and revulsion.

### ODT Online Wed, 1 May 2013
Queenstown driver paid $63,000 after sexual harrassment
By Abby Gillies
A female truck driver working in Queenstown has been awarded more than $63,000 for being sexually harassed, discriminated against because of her gender and unjustifiably dismissed from her job. A decision by the Employment Relations Authority has ordered Rachael Harrington receive $25,000 in compensation and $38,200 from her former employer Cromwell-based Thunderbird One, over her treatment.
The truck driver started work with the company in Queenstown, which operates a Mainfreight franchise, in September 2008. However, “her employment was both short and fraught”, and she resigned and filed a personal grievance three months later, said the ERA finding. Her claims of being unjustifiably disadvantaged, discriminated against and sexually harassed were unchallenged by the company, it said.
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### ODT Online Thu, 2 May 2013
Sexually harrassed Queenstown driver miscarried
By James Beech
The former Queenstown female truck driver awarded more than $63,000 for being sexually harassed, discriminated against because of her gender and unjustifiably dismissed from her job suspects she miscarried as a result of being told to “manhandle” an 800kg load at work. The Employment Relations Authority ordered that Rachael Lee Harrington receive $38,243 as recompense for wages lost as a result of the dismissal and $25,000 as compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings from her former employer, Cromwell-based Thunderbird One Ltd. Ms Harrington was “severely bleeding and miscarrying after lifting all the heavy pallets, so it was really super traumatic for her,” counsel Angeline Boniface, of Christchurch, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday. “The worst thing about this entire situation is that here she is bleeding profusely, her father asked for an ambulance to come on site and Mr [Justin] Marshall said, “If you get an ambulance, you’ll be up for disciplinary action,” Mrs Boniface said. “Meanwhile she’s bleeding, she wants to get into the building and other staff members have locked her out and [are] laughing at her. This is awful, just shocking.”
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Justin Marshall, managing director of Thunderbird One Ltd and Picture Vehicles Ltd, is not the former All Black and broadcaster Justin Marshall.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, People