Musings of a busy mind

On 15 August, Russell McVeagh published its report on disputes in the construction industry. The results are sobering, with over 70% of survey respondents predicting an increase in the number of disputes in the next two years.

Coincidentally, predictions at the Master Builders' Conference on 17 August were equally dire, with numerous and varied solutions proposed to what appears to be an intractable problem - high construction costs; low contractor margins; head contractor failures; unpaid subcontractors; and poor project completion. The Government then followed announcing a new infrastructure agency.

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This paper was presented by Sir David Williams QC on my behalf at the ICCA-AMINZ International Arbitration Day in Queenstown on 20 April 2018.

New Zealand is alone in providing for appeals on questions of law, and for such appeals to be dealt with by an independent appeals body, the AMINZ Arbitration Appeals Tribunal (the AAT). Unlike other jurisdictions, this gives the parties greater options - no appeals, appeals to the High Court (with or without leave) or appeals dealt with by the AAT. The last option preserves confidentiality and is, typically, faster.

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