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Annual report 2013

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Role and functions of the Board

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) is a statutory body constituted under Part 4 of the Building Act 2004. It plays an important role in the Licensed Building Practitioners Scheme (the Scheme).

The functions of the Board are to:

  • hear appeals against licensing decisions of the Registrar of Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs)
  • investigate and hear complaints about LBPs
  • approve Rules for LBPs
  • review and report to the Minister of Building and Construction (the Minister) each year on its operations

The Board is independent of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment1 (the Ministry), but is supported by the Ministry in the performance of its role and functions.

The Board is committed to supporting the capability of New Zealand’s building and construction industry and maintaining building practitioner standards.

 

  1. On 1 July 2012 the Department of Building and Housing was merged with three other government departments forming the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

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Chairman's review

The year has been marked by a significant increase in activity for the Board, as a result of the commencement of Restricted Building Work provisions on 1 March 2012. 

 

Licensing

A highlight of the year is that there are now 23,051 persons who are Licensed Building Practitioners, holding 27,990 licences. That is in excess of the target set by Government for the scheme. The Registrar and his team are to be congratulated on that result particularly when applications peaked in mid 2012.

 

Appeals

The workload of the Board, and the support staff, has increased substantially in relation to appeals.

During the year the Board received 117 new appeals against the Registrar’s decisions in relation to applications for licensing. This was in addition to 13 appeals carried over from the previous year. The Board determined 99 appeals which represents a substantial amount of work for Board Members and the support staff. This significant achievement would not have been possible without the ability to use sub-committees of the Board, which was enabled by an amendment to the Building Act in March 2012.

The Board referred 25 appeals back to the Registrar for review particularly where appellants produced significant amounts of new evidence.

 

Complaints

The complaints process has been significantly improved as a result of a decision of the District Court to an appeal from a decision of the Board. Nevertheless, the requirement for the Board to conduct the hearing in an
inquisitorial manner, rather than an adversarial one, has presented some issues because this is unique to the Board amongst the occupational licensing boards.

During the year the Board received 65 complaints. This was in addition to 12 complaints carried over from the previous year. The Board determined 29 complaints within the year; the other complaints remain at various stages of investigation. Together with appeals the Board has held 104 hearings during the year which is, in my view, an excellent performance.

Many complaints have originated by building consent authorities (BCAs) when they encounter poor performance by LBPs. This represents a good trend because BCAs perform a critical monitoring role. Their referral of poor practice by LBPs to the Board is to be commended. It is also notable that some complaints seek to resolve contractual disputes using the complaints and disciplinary provisions for LBPs which is inappropriate.

 

Working relationships

The incorporation of the former Department of Building and Housing into the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was not without its challenges for the Board, particularly in its early phases. Nevertheless, the Ministry has responded promptly and positively and addressed issues raised by the Board in a constructive manner. It is to be thanked for the level of attention it now devotes to supporting the Board.

I wish to thank all the staff who have provided loyal and helpful support to the Board in its work over the year. In particular, the Registrar, Mark Scully, the Appeals and Complaints Adviser, Tony Guidera, the Board’s Secretaries, Tracy Goddard, Pam Lwee and Henrietta Shackleton.

A further significant achievement this year is the recent creation of the website for LBPs which includes the Board’s activities. This has been sought by the Board for some time. The Ministry’s commitment to this is greatly appreciated as is its willingness to engage positively with the Board over the website’s design and content. I expect this to be a valuable resource for practitioners in the future.

The Board has been able to maintain a constructive relationship with the Minister, Hon Maurice Williamson, and his support has been appreciated.

 

Board membership

Richard Merrifield was appointed to the Board in July 2012 and has brought a wealth of experience as a builder and LBP. Jane Cuming retires with effect from 30 June 2013. Jane has been one of the original members of the Board appointed in 2005 and will be sadly missed because of her valuable contribution over that time.

I will also retire at 30 June and I congratulate David Clark on his appointment as my successor. I have every confidence in David’s ability to provide wise leadership to the Board during his term.

I thank all the Board Members for their support and diligent approach to their responsibilities. The workload has been very heavy, and Members have been committed to achieving the outputs required by the Minister.

 

The future

I wish to make some personal observations about the future of the LBP Scheme as my parting contribution:

  • I am confident that the scheme will prove beneficial to the public generally; raise the standards of the various building trades, provide recognition of tradesmens’ competence and an accountability framework within which practitioners must operate;
  • There is still a need for a significant cultural change amongst many building practitioners, in order to reflect a more professional approach to their work, and their attitude towards their clients;
  • Implementation of a code of ethics for LBPs will present a challenge for some. It is likely to result in an increase in complaints to the Board, and consequently, it is a policy that needs to be introduced with great care;
  • The means of demonstrating skills maintenance (or continuing professional development) must ensure sound outcomes and be compatible with similar schemes operated by the other occupational licensing boards within the building and construction sector;
  • The Board’s complaints provisions should be reviewed. They require an inquisitorial approach and thereby differ from those used by the other occupational licensing boards within the building and construction sector;
  • The provisions relating to appeal of a disciplinary decision should also be reviewed; currently it is considered a complainant must be listed as a respondent. This has the potential to discourage complaints;
  • The complaints mechanisms must not become a surrogate for resolving contractual disputes. The possibility of some other alternative resolution system should be considered for those issues;
  • The level and quality of resources supplied by the Ministry to support the Board must be kept under review to ensure that, the Board is able to efficiently and effectively achieve its functions under the Act and accountability commitments;
  • It is desirable that the Board has greater input to the overall governance of the LBP Scheme, given the Board’s expertise and the networks of its members;
  • In my view there would also be considerable benefits from amalgamating the functions of the occupational licensing boards within the building and construction sector, namely Building Practitioners, Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers and Electrical Workers into a single licensing board operating as a Crown Entity. This would ensure common procedures for competency assessment, registration and licensing, appeals, skills maintenance, complaints and discipline and enforcement of regulated (restricted) activity.

 

Conclusion

It has been my privilege to serve the community as inaugural Chair of the Board over the last eight years and I wish the Board and Ministry well for the future.

 

Alan Bickers, JP
Chairman

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Objectives and outcomes 2012/13

 

Objectives

The Board's 2012/13 objectives were to:

Governance
  • Service Level Agreement agreed with the Ministry by 30 June.
  • Accountability Agreement with Minister in place by 30 June.
  • Annual budget completed and funding agreed with the Ministry by 30 June.
  • Annual Report drafted by 31 August.
  • Annual Report delivered to the Minister by 31 October.
Appeals
  • Hear and determine 90% of appeals within 6 months of receipt
  • Conduct a review of the appeals process by 1 September 2012
Complaints
  • Hear and determine 90% of complaints within 8 months of receipt
  • Conduct a review of the complaints process
Communications
  • Implement a Communications Strategy with the assistance of the Ministry:
    • Key messages (especially around reinforcing the functions and purpose of the Board)
    • Target audiences
    • Appropriate communication methods
    • Access to Board hearing decisions
Training & Professional Development
  • Each member to complete at least four half day training sessions per year

 

Governance

The Board met all of its objectives in relation to governance.

 

Appeals

The appeals process is available for building practitioners who want to question the Registrar’s decision to decline an application to become licensed, or to suspend or cancel a licence pursuant to the Building Act 2004.

The Board’s objectives were met in relation to appeals.

In anticipation of a significant level of activity the Board appeals process was recast and its performance measures adjusted.

The changes to the processes allowed the Board to optimise its hearing capacity and determine 99 of 130 appeals within the financial year.

In relation to that activitity:

  • 91% of appeals subject to the 2012/13 performance measure were determined within 6 months performance measure.
  • 100% of the carried over appeals subject to the 2011/122 performance measure were determined within 4 months.

Appeal hearing outcomes are available online at:

2. Hear and determine appeals within 4 months of receipt.

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Complaints

Anyone may complain to the Board about the particular conduct of a LBP specified in the Building Act. The Board must investigate the complaint and determine whether or not to proceed to a hearing.

The Board’s objectives in relation to complaints were not fully realised.

The target to hear and determine complaints became unattainable within the period due to a challenge in the District Court on a point of law. This led to the adjournment of a number of scheduled complaint hearings and a backlog of complaint investigations. Once the position was clarified, the level of demand from appeal activity affected capacity to clear the backlog.

Despite the above, the Board managed to resolve 29 of 77 complaints within the financial year. In relation to that activity:

  • 23 of the 65 complaints received in the 2012/13 year were heard or determined within the 8 months performance measure.
  • A total of 48 complaints will be carried forward to the 2013/14 year. Of those, 4 had been heard but the decisions had not been issued at the close of 2012/13.

 

Communications

The Board successfully launched, in conjunction with the Ministry, a standalone website to promote the LBP scheme and to assist LBPs and members of the public to understand the role and function of the Board.

The Board will continue to work with the Ministry to identify opportunities to utilise the website in assisting the Board to communicate key messages and Board decisions.

 

Training

All members undertook at least one and a half days of training/professional development during 2012/13.

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Statement of service performance

Performance measures and standards for the outputs of the Board for the year ended 30 June 2013.

Output Performance measure Performance standard achieved

Complaints

Investigate, hear complaints and discipline licensed building practitioners in accordance with Regulations

Hear and determine 90% of complaints within 8 months of receipt.

Annual Report to contain:

  • No. of complaints received
  • No. of complaints investigated
  • No. of disciplinary hearings
  • No. of LBPs disciplined
  • 88.5% of complaints were heard/determined under the 2012/13 8 month performance measure.
  • 50% of carried over complaints were heard/determined within the 2011/12 6 month performance measure.
  • The Minister was advised in October 2012 of the Board's inability to meet the performance measure in relation to complaints.
  • Detailed complaints figured are included in the Annual Report.

Appeals

Hear appeals against decisions of the Registrar

Hear and determine 90% of appeals within 6 months of receipt.

Annual Report to contain:

  • No. of appeals received.
  • No. of appeals heard.
  • 91% of appeals were heard/determined within the 2012/13 6 months performance measure.
  • 100% of the carried over appeals were heard/determined within the 2011/12 4 months performance measure.
  • Detailed appeals figures are included in the Annual Report.

Licensed Building Practitioners Rules

Approve Licensed Building Practitioners Rules relating to licensed building practitioners.

Approve or decline all proposed rules within 15 working days of receipt from the Ministry.
  • The Board approved in amendment Schedule 2 of the LBP Rules, updating changes in recognised qualifications. The amendment was approved by the Board within 15 working days of receipt.

Accountability

Produce Annual Report in accordance with section 347 of the Building Act

Annual report provided to the Minister by 31 October 2012.
  • The 2011/12 Annual Report was provided to the Minister in October 2012.

Self Review

Undertake Board self review of Board performance.

Board self review to be completed by 31 October 2012.
  • A Board self review was completed in October 2012.

Board members' Interests Register

Register of Board members' interests in place.

Board members' Interests Register reviewed and updated at the start of each Board meeting. Other possible conflicts of interest recorded in minutes.
  • Board members' disclosures of interest were reviewed and updated at the start of each Board meeting.
  • Conflicts of interest were recorded in minutes.

Training & Professional Development

Provide training and professional development for Board Members in performance of functions.

At least four half days training per annum for Board members (collective or individual), on appropriate subject matter.
  • A 1/2 day of training was provided to eight members on Diligent Boardbooks - a board portal communication tool used to view and archive Board documents.
  • A 1/2 day Standards and Performance meeting was attended by one member.
  • A 1/2 day Engineering Associates Registration Board meeting was attended by one member.
  • A 1 day Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board disciplinary hearing was attended by one member. A 1/2 day Stakeholder session for the review of Standards was attended by one member.
  • A 1 day Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution Conference was attended by one member.
  • A 1 day Building Practitioners Board complaints training session was attended by seven members.

Working relationship with other occupational licensing Boards

Develop a working relationship with other occupational licensing boards in the Building and Construction sector.

  • Meet with other occupational licensing Board Chairs in order to develop a good understanding of each Board's role in the building and construction sector and explore efficiencies to support delivery of occupational regulation in line with government objectives.
  • Attend bi annual forum of occupational licensing boards as organised by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
  • This did not take place.
  • This forum did not take place.

 

David Clark
Chairman

Chris Preston
Deputy Chairman

12 September 2013

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Licensing statistics

 

Total number of LBPs and licenses to date

Set out below are the total number of LBPs licensed and number of licenses held. 

[image] 2013 Total number of LBPs and licences. In 2012/13 there were 22,957 LBPs holding 27,890 licences. This number had steadily grown since the data on this started in 2007/08.

 

 Annual number of licences granted by licensing class

  Carpentry Site Design External plastering Bricklaying & Blocklaying Foundations Roofing Total
At 30 June 2008 138 166 22 - - - - 326
At 30 June 2009 412 534 71 1 4 - 4 1,026
At 30 June 2010 729 860 102 7 15 - 31 1,744
At 30 June 2011 4,927 719 133 33 129 33 191 6,165
At 30 June 2012 13,469 4,275 1,524 328 685 145 675 21,101
At 30 June 2013 18,049 5,220 1,973 464 869 242 1,073 27,890

Notes: Annual numbers of licences for 2008-2011 include suspended licences.

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Appeals statistics

 

Appeals activity summary

The below figures reflect appeals activity within the 2012/13 financial year. 

  Appeals carried forward from 2011/12 Appeals received 2012/13
Appeals received 13  
Appeals heard 12  

Appeals otherwise determined

  • Withdrawn/dismissed
  • Referred to Registrar

 

1

0

 

23

23

Total heard/determined 13 86 

Notes: 31 appeals were carried forward to the 2013/14 financial year. 

 

Performance measures summary

Target

Two performance measures relating to hearing and determining appeals were in effect for the 2012/13 period:

  • Appeals carried forward from 2011/12
    Hear and determine appeals within 4 months of receipt.
  • Appeals heard in 2012/13
    Hear and determine 90% of appeals within 6 months of receipt.

 

Performance

  4 month performance measure 6 month performance measure
Appeals heard and determined 13 863
Within measure 13 78
Outside of measure 0 84
Total percentage within measure 100% 91%5

 

Estimated performance - for 31 appeals carried forward to 2013/14

Number of appeals allocated a hearing date estimated to be within measure 15
Number of appeals allocated a hearing date estimated to be outside of measure 26
Estimated percentage of appeals determined within measure 88%
Uncertain whether measure will be met 147

 

Footnotes:

3. Of the 117 appeals received in 2012/13, 86 appeals (subject to the 6 month measure) fell to be determined within the reporting period. For the 31 appeals carried forward, the 6 month measure extends beyond the reporting period.

4. Appeals outside of the target were due to Appellants (because of their personal circumstances) requiring additional time to submit their case, or active management to bring to hearing.

5. Appeals outside of the target were due to Appellants (because of their personal circumstances) requiring additional time to submit their case, or active management to bring to hearing.

6. Appeals outside of the target were due to Appellants (because of their personal circumstances) requiring additional time to submit their case, or active management to bring to hearing.

7. These appeals are in the preliminary stages where the Appellant is assembling their case. If the Appellant does not request additional time these will be heard and/or determined within the measure. 

 

Appeal outcomes to date

Set out below are outcomes of all appeals to date (from the start of the scheme up to 30 June 2013).

[image] Appeal outcomes to date at 30 June 2013. 40% of appeals have been upheld/upheld in part, 35% have been declined/declined in part, and 25% have been referred back to the Registrar in whole or part.

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Complaints statistics

 

Complaints activity summary

The below figures reflect complaints activity within the 2012/13 financial year.

  2012/13
Complaints carried forward from previous period 12
Complaints received 65
Complaints determined 298

Complaints investigated

  • Preliminary stage completed
  • Registrar stage completed
  • Board investigation completed

 

559

23

7

Disciplinary hearings held 4
LBPs disciplined 010
Total complaints carried forward into 2013/14 48

Notes:

There are three stages to an "investigation":

  1. Preliminary stage - tests to see if the Board has jurisdiction to investigate the complaint.
  2. Registrar stage - tests to see whether there is a prima facie case for further investigation by the Board.
  3. Board investigation stage.

 

Footnotes:

8. Includes six from previous period.

9. 10 complaints dismissed as outside jurisdiction and did not proceed further.

10. As at 28 June 2013, 4 hearings had been held but decisions concerning liability and/or penalty had not been issued.

 

Performance measures summary

Two performance measures relating to hearing and determining complaints were in effect for the 2012/13 period:

 

Complaints carried forward from 2011/12

Hear and determine complaints within 6 months of receipt.

Complaints determined 12
Within measure 6
Outside of measure 6
Percentage within measure 50%

 

Complaints heard in 2012/13

Hear and determine 90% of appeals within 8 months of receipt.

Complaints received 65
Less complaints in system under 3 months 20
Less complaints uncertain11 15
Less complaints likely to lapse12 4
Total complaints that fell to be heard/determined within reporting period. 26
Within measure 23
Outside of measure 3
Percentage within measure 88.5%

 

Footnotes:

11. These complaints are in various stages of investigation. It is possible for these complaints to meet the measure therefore not clear whether they will fall in or outside of the measure.

12. Further information has been requested and complaints are likely to lapse as the person complained of was not licensed at the relevant time. These lapsed complaints will be within the measure. 

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Financial performance

The Board is not a body corporate and does not have independent financial status. The Board’s revenue and expenses are managed on behalf of the Board by the Ministry as part of the LBP scheme.

For information about the financial performance of the LBP scheme please refer to the Ministry’s Annual Report. 

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Members of the Board

 

[image] Alan Bickers. Alan Bickers (Chair)

Mr Bickers currently provides dispute resolution, management and governance services to public and private sector clients and is an independent resource consent commissioner for regional and territorial local authorities.

He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Dispute Resolution) and is a Chartered Professional Engineer. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and a Justice of the Peace.

Mr Bickers has worked for four local authorities with his last position as Chief Executive of Tauranga City/District Council (1987-1995). He has served on the Standards Council of New Zealand (1993-1997), Bay of Plenty District Health Board and on the Board of Transit New Zealand (1997-2004), where he was Chair for three and a half years. He has a lengthy involvement with the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (including President 1991-1992) and many years’ experience on the IPENZ Disciplinary Committee. He was appointed to the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers’ Board in 2011 and is the current Chairman.

Mr Bickers was appointed in 2005 and is from Tauranga. Mr Bickers’ term expired in June 2013 and a new Chairman was appointed.

 

[image] David Clark. David Clark (Deputy Chair)

Mr Clark is a Senior Partner of Wilson McKay, undertaking a range of commercial and civil litigation work. Clients include homeowners, developers, contractors, builders and financiers.

Mr Clark gained his Bachelor of Laws in 1987 and was admitted to the Bar in 1988. He is an Associate of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and is currently engaged by the Department as a Weathertight Homes Resolution Service Mediator. He is also the former Chair of the Electricity and Gas Disputes Resolution Service and a Board member of Youthtown New Zealand.

Other professional activities include being a Code of Conduct Commissioner for New Zealand Cricket and a faculty member of the New Zealand Law Society Litigation Skills programme.

Mr Clark was appointed in 2005 and is from Auckland. He was appointed Deputy Chair in May 2012 and Chair in June 2013. Mr Clark’s current term expires in 2015.

 

[image] Jane Cuming. Jane Cuming

Ms Cuming is currently Building Standards Manager for PlaceMakers working with its suppliers and customers on regulatory changes at a technical level.

She is a trade certified carpenter and holds a Certificate in Teaching Adults. Previous roles include Education Advisor for the Building Industry Authority and Technical Sales Representative for James Hardie Building Products.

Ms Cuming is past President and current member of the National Association of Women in Construction.

Ms Cuming was appointed in 2005 and is from the Kapiti Coast. Ms Cuming resigned from the Board effective 30 June 2013.

 

[image] Dianne Johnson. Dianne Johnson

Ms Johnson is Managing Director of Capital Improvements Ltd, undertaking building surveyor consultancy services throughout New Zealand.

Ms Johnson holds a NZ Certificate in Draughting (Architectural) and Diploma in Business Studies (Dispute Resolution). She has previously held executive roles with the NZ Institute of Building Surveyors and is a current member of National Association of Women in Construction and associate member of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.

Ms Johnson was appointed in 2011 and is from Petone. Her term expires in 2014.

 

[image] Richard Merrifield. Richard Merrifield

Mr Merrifield is a trade certified carpenter, and has been a licensed building practitioner (LBP) since June 2008. He has over 40 years’ experience in the building industry, and has operated his own business since 1989.

Mr Merrifield has held a number of industry-related board and working group appointments, and has been a board member, Chair and Past Chair of the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand (CBANZ). He has also held governance roles with the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ).

Mr Merrifield was appointed in 2012, and is from Upper Moutere. His term expires in 2017.

 

[image] Brian Nightingale. Brian Nightingale

Mr Nightingale is Managing Director of building consultancy company, Building & Construction Services Ltd and a non-executive Director of construction company Leighs Construction Ltd. Prior to this he was General Manager of McKee Fehl Constructors Ltd.

He is both a Registered Quantity Surveyor and a Registered Construction Manager, a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors, and a member of both the New Zealand Institute of Building and the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Mr Nightingale has held a number of building related board appointments and is currently Chair of the Registered Master Builders Commercial Working Group.

Mr Nightingale was appointed in 2010 and is from Lower Hutt. His term expires in 2013.

 

[image] Colin Orchiston. Colin Orchiston

Mr Orchiston is Principal of Orchiston Architects Ltd: Architecture and Dispute Resolution. Since 1976 his experience in architecture has included management roles in both small practice and a large multidisciplinary consultancy. Since 1993 his involvement in building disputes has included both litigation support and dispute resolution.

Mr Orchiston is a Registered Architect and also holds qualifications in valuation and dispute resolution. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand. He serves on arbitration, adjudication and mediation panels for the latter.

Mr Orchiston was appointed in 2005 and is from Wellington. His term expires in 2014.

 

[image] Bill Smith. Bill Smith

Mr Smith has 32 years experience in building products manufacture, mainly as General Manager of subsidiaries of Fletcher Building and Carter Holt Harvey. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce.

Mr Smith is Chair of the Building Industry Federation of New Zealand. He is Chair of the Governance Group of the Productivity Partnership and the Building Advisory Panel, which report to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Building and Housing. He is a Director of the Asthma Foundation and was previously a Director of Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority and two retirement pension plans.

Mr Smith, was appointed in 2010, and is from Auckland. His term expires in 2013.

 

Building Practitioners Board

[image] Building Practitioners Board - 2013.

Top row (from left): Jane Cuming, Colin Orchiston, Bill Smith, Richard Merrifield, Dianne Johnson
Bottom row (from left): David Clark (Deputy Chair), Alan Bickers (Chair), Richard Merrifield

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How to contact us

 

Building Practitioners Board

Level 6, 86 Customhouse Quay
PO Box 10729
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

Phone: 0800 60 60 50

Fax: (04) 494 0290

Email: bpb@lbp.govt.nz

 

Last updated 26 February 2015

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