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Shamubeel Eaqub

Renowned Economist in New Zealand

Shamubeel Eaqub: NZ construction system needs ‘total makeover’ to drive scale and stop the sector ‘bursting at the seams’

Ahead of a conference looking to grow ties between the New Zealand and Chinese building sectors held by the New Zealand Chinese Building Industry Association (NZCBIA) in August, key event speaker Shamubeel Eaqub says that fundamental step-changes are needed to address housing supply and construction issues in New Zealand.

One of the most highly respected economic voices in New Zealand,

Shamubeel views the structural issues as:

  1. NZ construction productivity growth is very poor - and in NZ we think that everything has to be custom-designed and custom-built here, and on-site. None of these three things are true.
  2. The sector needs desperately to scale up – we need to keep running at current record consents for decades to fix our housing crisis, but the sector is bursting at the seams. We need to be able to run a marathon at this pace and must learn from other countries that build at pace.
  3. KiwiBuild is not the answer to our problems. Regulatory change is the real key to unlocking urban planning and land supply to provide more houses, affordably and quickly. Government procurement can help to provide long term certainty in a very small market.

“Our construction system needs a total makeover. This is our opportunity to try something different, as more of the same will not lead to better results. We can’t see how to make the shift, as we haven’t done it before. But others have. Overseas they have everything NZ needs - the knowledge, know how, industrialisation and capital – so how do we bring it in?”

The opportunities that Shamubeel will discuss at the NZIBES conference include:

We need:

  • A step-shift in knowledge and know-how. We need to look more at the Asia-Pacific region, where prefabrication and modularisation are much more efficient, saving huge time and cost
  • To get away from everything having to be custom-made: for example, in Europe standard window sizes are the norm, so why are they not in New Zealand?
  • Chinese partnership and input, with NZCBIA’s local knowledge, can provide the capital, knowledge, know-how and industrialisation experience to make NZ construction better, and through the cycle.

“We are now at a peak, but we need to keep this run-rate going – and lift it. It’s a marathon not a sprint, so we need to change the industry to run at this pace permanently. The average has to be 30,000 new homes every year, medium and high density, prefab and more. Then we have the opportunity to scale and standardise what we do.”

See New Zealand Herald's great article quoting Shamubeel, Click HERE

 

Shamubeel Eaqub Bio

Shamubeel is an experienced economist, financial analyst and author. He has worked in various banks and consultancies in New Zealand and Australia.

He currently balances a portfolio of activities: consulting through Sense Partners, a boutique economic consultancy; various governance and advisory roles for private firms and charities; and regular media contributor.

He holds a BCOM(Hons) in Economics from Lincoln University and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has authored several books – the most recent are Generation Rent and Growing Apart.

Shamubeel lives in Auckland with wife, Selena, and sons, Haydn and Hugo.

Notes:
Books published:
Generation Rent (2015), co-authored with Selena Eaqub
Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in NZ (2014)
The NZ Economy: An Introduction (2011), co-authored with Dr Ralph Lattimore.

As described by others:
Morgan Godfery, stuff.co.nz June 11, 2015
'Shamubeel Eaqub is very difficult to pin down: he's a neoclassical economist adored by parts of the political left, an assiduous networker determined to take on the establishment and a talented empiricist who's not afraid to act as a cultural critic. In Generation Rent these contradictions collide with the Eaqubs – Shamubeel co-authors the book with economist and partner Selena – taking on the economic, political and cultural forces pushing up house prices and leaving an entire generation with no choice other than to rent for the rest of their lives.'
Greg Bruce in “Small towns: have the good times gone?” North & South (Aug 2015):
“Our conversations and attitudes are shaped by strange forces that are often beyond our control or ability to control.
At the moment, one of these forces is a single person with a vast and seemingly ever-expanding presence in the media: New Zealand Institute of Economic Research principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub.
His use of the term “zombie towns” in his 2014 book Growing Apart, to describe a phenomenon that academic demographers have been talking and writing about for years, generated such a furore that it has become and almost self-perpetuating story. The book, and more specifically the term, generated such a relentless cascade of media coverage…”