Looming skills shortage could derail Christchurch rebuild

9:51 pm on 25 July 2011

The Labour Party says a looming skills shortage in the building industry could stymie rebuilding in Christchurch, and repairs to leaky homes throughout the country.

Labour leader Phil Goff says industry trainee numbers have plummeted in the past three years because the Government has cut funding.

Figures released by the Government show the number of apprentices in the construction industry have dropped by 40% over the past three years.

Mr Goff says that's disastrous for the sector with billions of dollars worth of rebuilding required in Christchurch, and on leaky homes over the next five years.

However, Infrastructure and Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says the drop in spending is because his Government stopped funding trainees who were listed on courses but didn't achieve any credits.

Mr Joyce says the Government has re-prioritised funding in the sector, such as spending $42 million on trades training to assist with the rebuilding of Canterbury.