The UK Plumber’s Tale – Problems with the NZ Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board?

Welcome to another chapter in our series of Migrant Tales  – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale was sent in by John, a successful businessman from the UK who was forced to start from the bottom when he migrated to New Zealand.

If you’re a plumber or gas fitter you may wish to read his story.

If you have first hand experience of trying to get registration as a plumber or gas fitter in New Zealand we’d like to hear your story. Leave a message in the comments section below.

Here’s the UK Plumber’s tale.

Dear Sir or Madam
I am not sure where to start, I suppose it is right back at the beginning of this unfair mess which is destroying my family, thanks to the plumbers board and its previous registrar Phil Routhan and Kern Uren with there lies and deceit.

It all started back in the UK when my wife and I were running 2 successful businesses, we had 2 happy children and a very happy life style in the UK, we had plenty of money so we decided that we would have a holiday of a life time in New Zealand, whilst in NZ we on occasion spoke to plumbers who said we would be of demand and so I was offered 2 jobs which I didn’t take because I didn’t know if I would want to live or move away from all I had, we had many things we wanted to do like build our own house in the UK, Anyway the thought of New Zealand stayed with us so when we heard of some expos we thought we would go along and find out about what we would have to do to move and re start our businesses in NZ, so of course we wanted to talk to NZ immigration because they would know everything we would need to do to achieve our goals of starting our new businesses, they informed us that we would have no problems after they took copies of all my qualifications and my corgi registration and all my other trade certificates, they came back to me after the expo and confirmed that I would be able to start my business after I had worked for a plumber in new Zealand for 3 months, The 3 months was a requirement and once completed I and my family would be granted our residence due to my qualifications and experience, at no time was the plumbers board mentioned in any way or was I told about how bloody bad they were to overseas applicants, this I only found out when I had been here 3-4 months, I found this out from the plumber I was working for, who rather enjoyed informing me of this as it would mean he would be able to keep me on minimum wage, Whilst working there I met other plumbers who were being disadvantaged by the plumber’s board just because they were from the UK.

So thought this was just stupid and nothing could be that bad, so I rang the plumbers board and spoke to Phil Routhan who said he didn’t like plumbers from the UK as they were poorly trained! this was before he had seen my expertise etc so of course I felt very aggrieved as nobody had ever disrespected me or my knowledge like this, My wife and I had run 2 successful businesses, a gas service business that had 3300 customers on its database and successful plumbing business, the gas business installed and maintained and also serviced all gas appliances from cookers to gas fires and gas boilers all of which were more advanced than which are fitted here today, which just shows how flawed the system is here and just how unfair it is as New Zealand as a country needs to bring in fresh blood with expertise and then try to keep it rather than lose it to else where.

This man had no right to talk to me like this he did not know me and he had never done or had the expertise of the work I did so he couldn’t pass judgement on me or any overseas plumber or gas fitter.

Its like asking a plumber to repair a car or a plumber to repair or service a gas boiler he needs training, which you don’t have here in NZ, so how can you expect the plumbers board to be able to pass judgement on a fully qualified gas engineer with city and guilds certificates and 18years plus experience running 2 successful businesses!

So I made a complaint about him to Shane Jones MP that said he could do nothing and had every confidence in the board!
Being very upset about this I didn’t contact them for a while, I was still working for Merwood plumbing of Taupo and I found out that I was supposed to be working under supervision of a craftsman which just didn’t happen, so I asked my boss why he had never given me supervision, he just said I new more than him but he wouldn’t pay me any more! At about this time I was invited by the master plumbers down to Wellington to talk about my experiences as a gas service engineer in the UK as New Zealand has no training or experienced gas engineers.

Anyway Routhan heard I was there and had Fiona Greavel inform me that I wasn’t aloud to do my talk and all evening he was rude about me and overseas plumbers.

Quite a few master plumbers members said that they us from the UK to train their staff and oversee projects because of the wealth of experience we have, they then had to shut up because they realized that they had admitted that they didn’t oversee them, so they had to back track on what they said.

I was doing some installation work which was going well and was due to go back on the Monday but had fall so was unable to go on the Monday so the boss went instead which was a big mistake as he pulled out my 2 pipe system and put in a 1 pipe system which wouldn’t work so I was disgusted with this and told the customer and informed the board about the fact that I never received supervision or help they weren’t interested, so I left Merwood’s and started with Macbeth’s , part of my contract with them was they pay my fees and licenses  which it turned they didn’t, and gas work I did  in the likes of Huka lodge who still want me to do there work because of my expertise was probably never signed off!

I spoke Routhan again and he ranted at me and told me he would never give me my licences as a craftsman and he told he didn’t care what the immigration dept did or didn’t do as he would not talk to them and he said he was the law and he would do anything to ruin me!
So I have to say I went on the war path and told everybody who would listen about it,

I re contacted Shane Jones and kept on at him and the board, at about the same time I started writing for the plumbers journal  (jds corner) also regular letters to the editor about the unfairness of the board and the way they treated others and me .
I wrote a letter about the way the board treated us overseas (UK) plumbers he saw it and then wrote his own in reply which really upset a lot of us which meant he was no longer aloud to write for the journal anymore. At this I started getting overseas plumbers contacting me and complaining about their treatment from the board and Routhan so complained to Shane Jones again and told me that because of the problems that we overseas plumbers facing that he was putting the auditor general onto them which would help us eventually, but we are still being victimized.

Any way we got rid of Routhan and during this time I was trying to get more support with Alan Day for all the plumbers of New Zealand and so we were amongst the founding members of the plumber’s federation of New Zealand (pgdf)

With Routhan gone I spoke to Kern Uren and he decided he would not be helpful and suggested that if I didn’t like it I should go back home as we are in New Zealand now! I would agree with this if it wasn’t for the fact that the peoples representatives the immigration department, hadn’t of recognized my qualifications and experience they wouldn’t have given me and my family residence within 3months, this I feel they set a president they should have informed me of the situation with the board.

I kept bombarding the board and the pgdb and even applied to join the board but they are just not interested in a foreigner whose country set the standard in plumbing and NZ followed, until recently.

Anyway out of the blue Kern rings me and says he would like to invite me down to Wellington to help me achieve my goal of craftsman, so I spoke to other members of the plumbers federation and it was agreed that  Paul Luxton (chairman) would come with me for moral support,
The meeting started really well and kern seemed to be understanding, then he asked for my proof of qualifications etc which he copied and said that he had never seen as much proof and was impressed, so he said he would give me my registered gas and plumber status I was not happy with this as I want to run my own business ,Craig O’Connell and kern assured me that this would not be a problem as they were going to send me all the paperwork so I would be prepared to be asked questions,so I would be given my craftsman status upon satisfactory answers, P said that this was a good result and I should take it so reluctantly I accepted it they gave me the forms to fill in for my registration and asked for a payment which I couldn’t afford and I said so, kern advised me to write to him explaining why I should be aloud off  the payment which I said was because of the way Phil Routhan and the board had treated me, he said that this would probably be ok and would put it before the board, I informed them that I was going away in 7 weeks and they advised me that all the papers etc for my tests would be with me before I went, so whilst away I would be able to study them, when I got back I would take and pass which would give me my craftsman,

Well well well after many calls they never turned up and I spoke to kern by phone and also texts and emails he just said that they were having problems arranging the information for me, I even spoke to Craig Oconnell and he confirmed what was said in the meeting and that he could see no reason why I would not have my craftsman tickets within 6 months.

Whilst in the UK I was asked by Robert Bosch NZ, LTD who make and import the latest types of condensing boilers to do some training at there training centre just outside London, I really enjoyed working with people who understood the tech side to the heating and gas industry, they could not believe how I was being treated so poorly in NZ, many of them knew of some one who was thinking of immigrating to New Zealand and I have to say I couldn’t honestly advise them to come here because  we are treated like we have no experience and so I positively said to them to tell everyone not to waste there time or money.

On my return to New Zealand I spoke to kern and said I was disappointed that the paperwork and information wasn’t with me yet , Kern then turned around and said that at no time did he say they were going to give me my registered tickets in plumbing and gas and they had never agreed to give me the information to help me to pass the oral questions! I was extremely upset by this so I rang back and asked to speak to Craig Oconnell they in formed me he no longer worked for the board,  so I asked for his phone number  they said they couldn’t help me.

I have been told that before Routhan decided that the plumbers board hated overseas plumbers ,they recognized the UK city&guilds exams etc and you could come and all you would have to complete was a 3month 1 hour a week correspondence course which basically taught you the differences in plumbing/gas standards.

I cannot see why we can’t do this now,another funny thing but sad really is that if I go and live in Australia they will give me craftsman status because of my UK qualifications.

please help the overseas plumbers/gas fitters I think 4 years is quite long enough

John Dyer


The NZ Ombudsman has found that the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board made an unlawful levy collection totally over $600,000.

However, the board would not be required to pay back the levy to its members because of the hardship it would cause. Judgements like this, and the story published above, raise questions as to the function of the board and whether it is little more than a revenue raising stream for the government.

Unlawful levy collection

“A complaint was made to Ombudsman David McGee, in part about the collection of a disciplinary levy by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board from registered persons.

In relation to the disciplinary levy, the complainant was concerned that the Board collected the levy for an 18 month period, despite the Board later acknowledging the levy to have been unlawful as it included costs that were not within the purpose of the levy.

Following investigation, the Ombudsman formed the opinion that the Board’s action in imposing and collecting the levy was based on a mistake of law. However, the Ombudsman noted that any refund of the levy (amounting to $600,000 in total over all those levied) would be devastating to the Board, which relies for funding on the fees and levies collected from registered persons.

The Ombudsman recommended that the Board address the matter with those who had paid the levy, and that the Board and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment should make a proposal to the Minister of Building and Construction in relation to:

• legislation to validate the levy; and

• funding to assist the Board to arrive at a satisfactory arrangement with those who had paid the levy during the time in question.

The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Amendment Bill currently before Parliament addresses some of these issues.”


A selection of comments about the Auditor General’s Report on the Board from the site

hi guys, Over the next six months, the Auditor-General is carrying out follow-up work on her 2010 inquiry into how the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Board’s (the Board’s) functions under the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act of 1976 (and the 2006 Act as it was introduced during the inquiry).

Relevant submissions will be considered during fieldwork in November.
…we will wait with bated breath,cheers

I’ve also just read the report and have to whole heartedly agree with you guys,

I’m disgusted to have read some of the things that the ‘board’ have been up too.  Everything about the organisation has been a lie from the exams all the way through to operational policies and license fees.  I dont think i will ever trust them no matter how much they say they will change,theyre full of *hit like most govt departments. We don’t even get an apology which i feel is definitely in order as i hate being walked all over by these a**holes just to see them basically get off scot free and to have them say they are trying to put it right. I bet if i made a mistake on a gas installation theyd brutally punish me but yet they are as guilty as a pack of modern day gangsters but thats ok??

And whats up with Phil Routhan former registrar??? Seems to me like he was the king dick at the head of this outrageous scandal and is anything but squeaky clean.
I had an oppurtunity to meet him with my classmates on my last block course in petone on the third to last day in late 07 maybe early 08 but i went home as i has finished everything.After reading this report I’d wish id stayed to punch him in the face……..

Hi Guys

We all have to realise the government isn’t going to change anything because its too hard. They’ll keep covering their rear ends and laying the blame on everone else, including us. What we have to do is get numbers up so we can establish a formidable group that is there to monitor government legislation and be the voice for us. So get out there and drum up numbers. get all those tradesmen sitting back doing nothing and get them motivated. It doesn’t have to be just plumbers gas fitters and drainlayers as you mark my words every regulated person in New Zealand is going to go through the same sh*t in the governments push for self certification so they can sit back and take no blame.

Think of this. They are working on us to upskill so they can tell the consumer we are the best. Then they will make us all self certifying. Good in some ways but extremely bad in others. On the good side we get the recognition we deserve and won’t have to go through inspections with the local councils which I don’t think is too bad any way but look at the bad side. We will all be subject to audits, we will all need a huge amount of public liability insurance, we will need professional indemnity insurance and the list goes on. It will cost a fortune to be self certifying. It will be another case of the honest will be paying.

What we need to do is get people in the positions where change can be made, ITO, Board and Government if necessary but we need to start somewhere which would be with stopping the Cr*p going on now by way of the regulation review committee and get an action group so big they can’t ignore us

Tere is a new nes letter posted now

Keep fighting

Phil Routhan

‘Guerrilla tactics’ boss loses bid to get job back – 17/12/2010

A former chief executive who used “guerrilla tactics” to “go to war” against his employer has failed in his bid to be reinstated.

Philip Routhan was sacked from his role with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board last year after he took more than 4000 documents from the office that he alleged proved his claim of serious irregularities about gas certification.

But the board said the documents also included personal staff files and said Mr Routhan had been abusive to other employees.

At an Employment Relations Authority hearing last month, Mr Routhan said there were potentially hundreds of faulty gas installations in New Zealand that could explode and kill someone.

He said he was asked to lie to Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson about safety problems at the request of board chairwoman Hazel Armstrong, a claim she denied.

In his decision, authority member Denis Asher dismissed Mr Routhan’s application, stating the board’s decision to fire him was one that any fair and reasonable employer would have reached.

“Put simply … Mr Routhan – the respondent’s most senior employee – elected to go to war against his employer,” he said.

“There were no proper grounds for him to do so, and his guerrilla tactics in particular were in profound breach of his express obligations to his employer … his behaviour was bizarre.” …more here

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11 thoughts on “The UK Plumber’s Tale – Problems with the NZ Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board?


    I was framed for an explosion, my story is on this link above also see below a submission I made to Parliament…

    Dear Select Committee,

    My name is Paul Gee, a certifying gasfitter and plumber from the Tasman/Nelson area. I am in full agreement with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Federation’s submission, and only offer this personal submission under my own steam and banner to go toward showing how the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB) have spent the illegally gained funds, needlessly savaging my life and terrorising my wife in doing so.
    I have lost my business and reputation, my home and time with my young family, all for a situation that I had tried to warn about for 6 years previously, before an explosion nearly killed someone, i.e. dodgy certs covering dodgy work. With no one held accountable for this. As this situation spans almost 10 years of my life and is hugely personal to me I am truly thankful for all understanding and consideration shown for this lengthy submission and I thank you in advance for this.
    I believe the Board have made a scapegoat of me to hide their own short comings and in-action.
    My concerns are centred on the illegally funded past and current prosecution and discipline systems of the PGDB within the gasfitting industry and the apparent covering up by the PGDB of either a badly designed gas safety certification system and/or incompetence/malpractice administering this system.
    I believe that the Board ignored conflicts of interest and acted in bad faith, with out duty of care and against natural justice; leading to an unfair and needless investigation and the resulting decision by the Board in respect to me. Please note that I strongly believe in industry regulation and the holding of “cowboys” to account within the industry, which was why I had tried to warn about all of this from the outset.
    I believe they undertook a needless disciplinary action against me, utilising these illegally gained funds spending over $200,000.00 on my case. What has occurred to me has since been made available to the Building and Housing Minister.
    In particular, my concerns are not just about the afore mentioned conflicts of interests that were ignored, but also the misrepresentation and withholding of evidence and the resulting decision of the Board, and in particular the way the investigation was carried out.
    I am a qualified gas service engineer in the United Kingdom, trained by British Gas in 1989. I was registered by the PGDB as a craftsman gasfitter on 15 February 1999.
    I began working for a gas company in late February 2003 in Nelson. At the beginning of this employment, I was instructed by the manager to fill out the work sheets only and the office staff would fill out the gas certification certificate and I only had to sign them, then the office staff would file them. Note: The manger and office staff was a family and related, i.e. a husband (manager), wife (office manager), daughter (office girl) and son in law (limited licence gasfitter, who worked unsupervised most of the time).
    After approximately five months of employment with this gas company, I became very concerned about how gasfitting work was being carried out and the possible safety implications of this apparent malpractice. I attempted to raise this concern verbally with the manager; however it was dismissed by him. Toward the end of the period of this employment I handed back certificates to the manager, refusing to sign them as they were unfinished or unsafe.
    On 10 November 2003, I attended a meeting with the Manager. At this meeting, I submitted a written statement outlining my safety concerns; this written statement was later provided to the Board and appears in my Hearing’s Bundle (HB).
    On 13 November 2003, I was issued with a written warning by the manager for how I had expressed my concerns about safety to his son in law, (HB). In response to this written warning I indicated I would resign as soon as was practicable.
    On 14 November 2003, four books of non-transferable gas certificates were ordered, for the one and only time, by some one at the gas company. It was done in my name, without my knowledge, (HB).
    On 19 November 2003, I gave two weeks notice and resigned from this gas company, (HB).
    I later found out, after the explosion, that on the 4th March 2004, three months after I left, someone from this gas company, on this company’s letterhead, wrote a letter in my name to alter a gas certificate to the PGDB, which was apparently acted on, (HB).
    I then began work as a subcontractor for a different gas company in December 2003 where I immediately became aware of improper use of gas certificates that were in my name, actually one of the certificates I had refused to sign because the job was unsafe/unfinished, (HB).
    In response, I contacted the PGDB by telephone, which was when I became aware of the 4 books ordered in my name, and again in writing on 6 January 2004. In response, the PGDB replied to me, dismissing my complaint and providing what I believe are inconsistencies and incorrect facts. (HB)
    A year later I came across yet another irregular certificate in my name, covering unsafe work. I contacted a lawyer, as the Board refused to talk to me without one, on 13 January 2005. (HB)
    I also contacted my former employer, the gas company mentioned above, which had a new manager, on the 24 January 2005.
    The outcome of my lawyer’s inquiry to the PGDB was there were over a 1000 certificates in my name and it would cost $25 per certificate to check. I could not afford this potential sum of $25,000 and told them so by phone. The letter from the Board’s lawyer had inconsistencies and incorrect facts. I had only worked at this gas company for some 10 months.
    I approached a Member of Parliament on 24 May 2006 after hearing no further from the PGDB. A letter was written to the PGDB on 6 June 2006. No response was made to me. I followed up this letter by sending a fax to a member of the PGDB on 21 August 2006. Again, I had no response. I later contacted another Member of Parliament by email, outlining my concerns for health and safety. This was passed on to the Minister for Safety and Health at the time. This Minister replied indicating he would look into the matter; however I received no further contact. Most, if not all, of the proof of this correspondence is in the possession of the PGDB, (HB).
    On 8 July 2009, the Board received a complaint from the Department of Labour, regarding a gas explosion at 136 Milton Street, Nelson. An “impartial” investigator was appointed according to section 40 of the Act.
    I requested an impartiality hearing with PGDB, it was held on 22 February 2011 where I raised concerns about conflicts of interest. They were dismissed.
    Disciplinary action was taken against me under section 42 of the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 1976 (“the Act”) as a result of the investigation. The matter was heard between 3 and 5 May 2011 by the Board. The decision was given in July 2011 where I was found guilty under section 42(1)(c) of the Act in relation to only one of the seven properties that were investigated by the “impartial” investigator.
    Out of 44 charges laid by the Board, I was found guilty of only two, neither of which was at the site of the explosion that initiated the complaint by the Department of Labour. No one else as far as I am aware was questioned about the site of the explosion, whether as part of the initial investigation or since.
    The Board required I undertake a course of instruction as an extra condition of re-licensing as a certified gasfitter for the 2013/2014 licensing year.
    This “course of instruction” had to be custom made for me at my expense. I have recently carried out an “assessment”, rather than course of instruction. I passed with a 90% mark and was told by the assessor that I would be in the top 10% of the people he had ever assessed.
    Of the “impartial” investigators initial audits of my work, none of his initial concerns made it to charges that later surfaced in a second audit. This second audit was ordered by him on the basis of these initial audits and “concerns”. A letter from the Board’s lawyer states that three years worth of my work was audited, but the “impartial” investigator only claims to have audited 10% of my work for that period.
    On 2 October 2009, the then Acting Registrar of The Board sent letters to the owners of six properties where the PGDB alleged I had carried out gasfitting work and that were identified by the “impartial” investigator’s investigation as having compliance issues.
    These letters, which covered each and every area that I had ever worked in for my own business, from the West Coast to Havelock of the top of the south island, with Nelson and Motueka in between, one or two letters per area. By far the most damaging was the one to Motueka High school, the only high school in what WAS my main centre of business, and my business disappeared not long after these letters. I wasn’t made aware of these letters until the Motueka High school contacted me.
    These letters noted there was an issue with a number of gas certificates illegally sold affecting a number of homes from Northland to Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, and that the certificate pertaining to their address was one of these. I have never carried out work in these North Island areas and these letters caused me the loss of my business, distress and loss of reputation.
    By far the worst event on a personal level was during the build up and preparation for my Hearing, the “impartial” investigator’s lawyer sent to my home, unmarked child sexual abuse case notes to prove his point on probabilities. As they were unmarked of their vile content, my long suffering wife read them and I came home to find her hysterical. At this time she was facing living in a caravan for the winter with her husband working away, minding our two young sons, as we were financially forced to sell our home. This situation that my wife faced later happened and I have had to work away for nearly two years since. I have told the present CEO of the Board about this, he has no problem with it and another PGDB member’s solution that he offered to me was “…had I thought of returning to the UK or going to Aussie”.
    I filed a notice of appeal to the decision of the Board on 16 November 2011. The appeal was heard in the High Court on 5 March 2012 and the decision given on 14 March 2012. The focus of this appeal was on the finding I was guilty of an act or omission contrary to the integrity of the gasfitting trade. The appeal was dismissed.
    On 22 June 2012, the Boards external assessor and QC released an opinion on eight complaints I raised. She concluded that under the Board’s Historical Complaints Resolution Policy, only one of my complaints fell within the scope of the Policy: that the letters sent by the Board’s Acting Registrar on 2 October 2009 did cause me a disadvantage. I have heard nothing since.
    My claim is that the “impartial” investigator was not an impartial investigator as is required for natural justice. He is a member and fellow of the NZIGE and a member of IPENZ, GANZ and the Kennedy Trust and at the time my old boss was also a member of NZIGE and other gas groups.
    In addition, I believe that the “impartial” investigator was the person who granted my old boss his full craftsman status, after just one oral exam and with no apprenticeship served.
    The “impartial” investigator also was nominated by GANZ to co-author the NZ 5261, the standard that I had offered an alternative to in defending against my two founded charges. This is a conflict of interest that should not have been ignored. I tried to raise the issue at the impartiality hearing in February 2011, where my concerns were dismissed.
    I believe that the table 16 of NZ 5261, which he refers to within this Standard and is particular to my charges, is contradictory and confusing. Table 16 had also been amended which gives the tradesman the impression that the table is not strict in its application, not to mention it is in the non-mandatory part two of the standard.
    The present Chairman of the PGDB and a panel member of my hearing is also a member of IPENZ, of which NZIGE is an arm of that according to a press release from IPENZ – “NZIGE collaborates closely with IPENZ”. This same person released a press release just after my Hearing stating I lacked fundamental knowledge of my trade, this appeared in my local newspaper.
    I also believe there was a conflict of interest between the “impartial” investigator and the Presiding Board Member at the disciplinary hearing. The “impartial” investigator and the Presiding Board Member have served together in numerous organisations, NZIGE, GANZ, and the Kennedy Trust, and have made numerous presentations together as a duo to the gas industry.
    The Presiding Board Member was on the executive of GANZ, the nominating organisation for the “impartial” investigator to co-author the referenced standard NZ 5261.
    The “impartial” investigator was the technical adviser to the Presiding Board Member at GANZ. I believe this would lead to the Presiding Board Member to put more weight in the “impartial” investigator’s opinion because of their personal relationship and their work on NZ 5261. They would both, in all probability, want the integrity of NZ 5261 to remain intact because of their involvement in developing it.
    The “impartial” investigator was also heavily involved with the deregulation of the gas industry and a driving force behind self certification for gasfitting. In light of this I believe he would also have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of this certification system he had helped create, which has some apparent serious flaws in its application and the PGDB’s administration of it, most if not all of this was raised at the impartiality hearing I had requested, but was dismissed.
    Further, at the site of this explosion no one has been held accountable, although all copies of the last certificate issued for work carried out at this site of an explosion; lack any gas leak test entry which is a compulsory field on the now electronic website. This certificate is totally in my old manager’s name and was signed for a year after the initial installation and at least a year after my leaving the employment of the gas company mentioned above. The PGDB claim never to have received or registered this certificate, but an electronic version appears on the electronic register on their website. This electronic register also carries a disclaimer stating the inaccuracy of the register.
    Unfair Investigation
    I believe I was unfairly investigated, as were the charges brought against me regarding seven properties. Only two, out of 44 charges, regarding one property were upheld, which would be dismissed by a well used British Standard, if it was allowed.
    As a result my business and reputation was damaged and my ability to earn an income suffered. I believe that the PGDB appointed investigator was not an impartial investigator and that serious evidence was misrepresented or ignored at the Hearing. I was presumed guilty, having to prove innocence and disadvantaged by not allowing me to submit further evidence, which would clear me of all wrong doing, for a situation I had tried to warn about for 6 years.
    My appeal was dismissed because I could not, due to limiting PGDB policy, give any further evidence. The evidence I tried to adduce was a British Standard that would show what I had done was safe and a relevant alternative to the non-mandatory part two of the NZ 5261 standard that I was found guilty of contravening. Of note, the only other certifying gasfitter in the room at the hearing was on the panel for the PGDB, and he was British.
    I also tried to adduce an email from another, co-author of NZ5261. This email said I could use a British Standard if it was relevant, and I believe it is. This would have left me completely innocent of any wrong-doing.
    At the actual hearing I had offered other information and illustrated how I knew the fumes would behave on the appliance I had been later found guilty for installing and certifying. The owner of the same dwelling said he had no problems with it in the previous six years since installation, and it was the only obvious place to put the appliance in question. Even the “impartial” investigator also commented that if the fumes were not entering the building then I would have complied with Part one of NZ5261 which is mandatory, and so I would have done nothing wrong. All of this evidence was apparently ignored, with no further evidence put forward by the PGDB, other than the above mentioned “Table 16”, to go to show what I had done was dangerous, which I still believe it was not.
    In light of this treatment, and it is very brief and incomplete and a pick of the worst, I would like to ask a question and make a suggestion to the Select Committee
    My question is-

    • Is the Committee comfortable for the PGDB to enforce over a 1000% increase in discipline levies in under a decade and then claim it illegally from tradesman, BUT THEN (and this is my main point and reason for my submission) to use this ill gotten money as a fund to persecute and disadvantage innocent, well meaning, registered trades-people, using this illegal discipline levy as a war chest to bring down any opponents within the industry, or anyone they have a grudge with? As is evidenced by my treatment. They openly boast of a 100% conviction rate.

    My suggestion is-

    • While you are being asked to amend this Act, please consider changing the Act so that the Board is a liable entity or at least open to more than just recommendations, which they routinely ignore. As it is now the Board is non-liable under the Act, and accordingly the PGDB apparently acts with scant regard and impunity The PGDB have done this even while hiding behind, and trying to maintain, the façade of a registered charity, spending as far as I am aware over $46,000.00 in appealing their de-registration as a charity, apparently using the same clause** that is limited to $500.00 when used in making a compensation payment to me because of the letters sent to my customers.
    **The Part 148 of the 2006 Act enables the Board in any financial year, to expend for purposes not authorised by any act, a sum not amounting to more than $500.

    I thank the Committee for your time. And ask with all due respect and humility are these the actions and the behaviour of an organisation that are moral or ethical? Are they the people best suited to lead our industry? Can you trust these people to have a blank cheque as it were, which is what will happen if this is bill is validated and acting with impunity as they are non liable for their actions.
    There is a huge decline in the industry and training sector, of which I fear we are just seeing the tip of this huge iceberg, the future is bleak. The PGDB is still apparently acting in a corrupt, nepotistic and incompetent manner, continually acting against the best recommendations of the damming OAG report and in the face of the best practice recommendations of the NZ Law Commission, acting apparently in bad faith.
    If you were in a position to, and are able to appoint a public enquiry, I will provide proof and substance to back my claims.

    Yours Sincerely Paul Gee

    PO Box 249, Takaka 7142
    0274 33 33 50 / 03 525 9889

  2. Been plumber in new zealand for nearly 35 years and sat my certifing exam twice in the year 2009 i think failed as the exam was so difficult 95 percent failed ,and i will never sit it again .Working on large job in auckland and so many mistakes in the plumbing ,not seen by authorities who,s the qualified one

  3. Nz plumbers board are greedy there is nothing rong in the plumbing industry . They just make new rules all the time so they can fill their fat pockets

    • yes john we all need to get together and have a meeting to fight the board . Need more plumbers like me and you.


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  5. We’re bumping this article and asking for plumbers and other tradespeople to contact us with their accounts of the difficulties with getting qualified or registered to work in New Zealand. Or any other aspects of employment/running a business there.

    • Hi There

      I have made a comment in another location with regard to having my plumbing / gasfitting migrant tale ‘elevated’ to its own heading so that people can more readily access it. I cant appear to find it now your website has been redesigned and there appears to be no search box in order for me to find and add to it?

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