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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Christchurch earthquake promises plenty of work for plumbers

Christchurch earthquake promises plenty of work for plumbers

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2011
 
Invercargill plumber Ray Galt has been named national president of the New Zealand Society of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers at a time when southern plumbers have never been more in demand.

The Christchurch earthquake had put enormous pressure on Canterbury-based plumbers and those around the South Island would likely be needed once a rebuild of the city begins, he said.

"The emphasis has been on restoring services ... when they do start rebuilding there will have to be huge resources put in the area," Mr Galt said.

The biggest help the national body had been able to provide in the early days was having plumbers placed on the emergency services list.

But there are other industry concerns for the year that Mr Galt will also be preoccupied with.

Having owned Invercargill's Baxter and Neilson Plumbers with wife, Trish, for 19 years, he first became involved in the society about 30 years ago. Within the Southland branch he has served time as president and chairman of the finance committee.

Four years ago he was elected to the national board, serving last year as vice-president.

He is the 10th Southlander to be named national president of the society, which has existed since 1901 and today represents 770 members, encompassing about 70 per cent of the total industry. Between 1930 and 1932 the founder of Baxter and Neilson, George Baxter, held the presidency.

Mr Galt's list of goals during his term as president included implementation of a new nationwide quality assurance programme in the next 12 months.

It has been piloted in Southland during the past year.

"We need to ensure our members are up to speed – not just with current legislation but also with technology. Plumbing has changed over the years," he said. "Consumers deserve to know there's a programme behind it, rather than somebody just calling themselves a master plumber."

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