Leonie Freeman: The last day of lockdown (we hope)

Welcome to the final hours of what has been the longest period of lockdown in New Zealand’s history. While I’m sure Aucklanders are just as relieved as I am to be finally ‘free’ (with restrictions, of course), those in Level 2 will no doubt be coming to terms with what the vaccine passport and mandatory vaccine rules mean for them, their business and their families.

It’s hard to know what life will look like under the COVID Protection Framework (CPF, or the traffic light system), but I hope it will bring at least some certainty to allow our economic engine to hum once again. One group helping shed light on the dark corners of the CPF is the Construction Sector Accord, who have partnered with CHASNZ to develop new COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light) Protocols for the construction sector. I encourage you to refer to this resource regularly as it is constantly updated to adhere to current guidelines – the best opportunity we as a sector have to adapt to this new normal is preparation.

As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, we will be following all guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, with office visitors and event attendees required to provide proof of their vaccination status via the My Vaccine Pass app/certificate. Having canvased our staff, many of whom have dependents who cannot be vaccinated or are themselves immune-compromised, we have made the decision to be cautious for the safety of one and all. While we respect the individual decision of every New Zealander, we appreciate your understanding as we meet these requirements and events get back underway over the coming months.

On a much brighter note, it was an absolute joy to finally deliver the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards last Wednesday. It may not have been the delivery we’d hoped, with restrictions limiting us to an online event, but the format in no way diminished the strength of the nominations and efforts of the teams involved.

Special mention must go to our Rider Levett Bucknall Supreme Winner, Commercial Bay’s PwC Tower submitted by Precinct Properties New Zealand – this outstanding mixed-use development is a jewel in the crown of Auckland’s waterfront. Bringing together a key transport hub, embracing public spaces, city-defining retail offerings and exceptional workspaces, the project has been a labour of love for the Precinct team and this award is well deserved.

It was great to see real innovation across all of the award categories, particularly affordable housing, which is a topic dear to my heart. The quality of nominations shows the breadth of the property industry’s contribution; from the world-leading Tiaho Mai Acute Mental Health Unit at Middlemore Hospital to the University of Otago’s new Faculty of Dentistry and the exceptional (and affordable) Kōtuitui development. These projects are more than just properties, they’re places for people to connect, heal, grow and make their home. The awards represent everything I love about our industry; we are more than the sum of our parts, we create communities.

Speaking of communities, we have had several new additions to Property Council’s governance community who also deserve hearty congratulations.

In Wellington, Gerard Earl, Commercial Asset Manager, Stride Property, has been elected as Chair of the Wellington Regional Committee. Gerard will be supported by Deputy Chair, Melissa McGhie, Director, Rolle Consultancy & Management, and the wider committee, including new recruit Matthew Plummer, Associate (Buildings), Beca.

NZCoRP also welcomes a new Chair, with Michael Sweetman, Project Director, Precinct Properties, taking the reins. All appointments are effective immediately for a two-year term (until 31 Oct 2023).

One final new addition that must be mentioned is the arrival of baby Seini, who will no doubt keep her Mum, Head of Membership & Commercial Services, Sara-Jane (SJ) Evans, on her toes over the next few months. Welcome to the world Seini and a huge congratulations to SJ, Kirk and family.

Here’s to a settled summer break.

Ngā mihi nu

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