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NZ Beehive News / 新西兰国会快讯









DOC takes charge of riverbed clean-up from Fox landfill

The Minister of Conservation and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage says that the Department of Conservation (DOC) will replace Westland District Council (WDC) as the lead agency coordinating the clean-up of the riverbed and coast downstream of the Council’s Fox River landfill. Last month the Government provided Westland District Council with $300,000 in funding to assist with the clean-up costs from its flood damaged landfill. DOC has also provided $130,000 of in-kind support. Despite this, the Council ceased work on the rubbish clean-up on 31 May and indicated that it lacks the resources or capacity to do more work. “Since the floods, I’m proud of the practical role DOC has played in cleaning up rubbish from the landfill alongside the Council. With DOC now taking charge of the on-going clean-up efforts, the Department will do as much as it can to remove rubbish from the riverbed and prevent it ending up on beaches, and in the sea,” says Eugenie Sage. “It is Volunteer Week this week and I want to acknowledge the impressive work volunteers have done to help remove rubbish alongside DOC staff and Council contractors.” “The Fox River flows through Westland/Tai Poutini National Park. It and the Cook River, nearby wetlands and the coast have high natural values which deserve protection.  Tourism businesses in the area rely on the South Westland’s spectacular landscapes and New Zealand’s clean green reputation. Piles of rubbish in the riverbed also means the reality of the risks are not matching the image,” Eugenie Sage said. “A 50 km stretch of coastline was cleared of obvious rubbish by a major volunteer effort before the end of May. The focus for the clean-up has now shifted to the Fox and Cook riverbeds, over a distance of approximately 21 km. and around 1,620ha. “A challenging issue now is that debris dams and log jams have trapped a significant amount of rubbish along the river. Heavy machinery is required to remove these log jams, and there is a significant amount of people time required to remove the rubbish from them.  Anyone interested in volunteering to help can register online at https://bit.ly/OperationTidyFox “Landfills and their management are the responsibility of local authorities.  DOC is taking the lead in the clean-up because of the internationally significant values of the national park and the Fox River area.  It is not a precedent for councils to relinquish their role. “The responsibility for the actual landfill and ensuring no more rubbish can be eroded into the Fox River remains with Westland District Council. The West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) will be working with the District Council on this.”

Source: Releases | 19 Jun 2019 | 2:43 pm

Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to New Caledonia tomorrow to represent New Zealand at the Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference on 21 June in Noumea, along with Ministers and representatives from other SPC member countries. “As the oldest and largest Pacific regional organisation, SPC has a critical role in providing scientific and technical services to its Pacific country members,” Aupito William Sio says. “SPC’s important work strengthens the ability of Pacific countries and territories to sustainably manage their natural resources, respond to climate change and disasters, improve education quality, promote human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity and opportunities for young people, respond to non-communicable diseases, and access and use development statistics. “The biennial SPC Conference is a key part of SPC’s governance structure as a member-owned and driven organisation. “This year it will select the next Director-General of SPC and discuss the importance of a science-based approach to management and governance of the Pacific Ocean,” Aupito William Sio says. New Zealand has been a member and donor of SPC since its establishment in 1947.  

Source: Releases | 19 Jun 2019 | 2:37 pm

New advice safeguards will protect consumers

Consumers will have more peace of mind dealing with financial advisers under a new licensing and rules regime announced today by Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hon Kris Faafoi. “The FMA licensing regime and rules are the latest strand of a suite of measures being delivered by the Government to protect consumers. The regulation of financial institutions will help build the trust consumers need on a day to day basis when taking financial decisions.  “There is already a body of work in progress to improve regulation of New Zealand’s financial systems, including measures to ensure financial advice provided is in the best interest of consumers, reforming contract law on insurance and revising credit laws to stop predatory and other lending not in the best interests of consumers. “The Government has been keeping a close watch on the Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank review of conduct and culture of banks and insurance companies. The final report on banking is expected soon, but in the meantime I have progressed work on a number of measures so we can get legislation introduced to Parliament this year.” The Financial Markets Authority will also be responsible for regulation of the new financial advice regime coming into force in June 2020. This follows the passing of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act into law, and the approval of the code of professional conduct for financial advice services. “We want New Zealanders to be able to access good quality financial advice, because good financial advice can make a huge difference in people’s financial position and the quality of life they are able to enjoy. “New Zealanders also want to more easily understand adviser’s expertise, and to know that those who give them advice on their finances are skilled and subject to good regulation supporting good practice. This is good for the sector too because it will drive increasing levels of trust.” The Government has agreed that the new regime will come into force in June 2020, with the exact date to be determined by Order in Council in the coming months. “Businesses and individuals providing financial advice now have a year to prepare to meet the requirements that will apply in the new regime,” says Mr Faafoi. “We have several thousand financial advisers operating in New Zealand. Not only will this new regime level the playing field so they are all subject to the same rules and oversight it will increase the standard of financial advice across the board.” Under the new regime anyone who gives financial advice to retail clients will be required to operate under a licence granted by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Application fees for these licences will range from $612 to $922 for a full licence, and $405 for a transitional licence. Cabinet has also agreed to make changes to the registration requirements for the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR). These changes will weed out some unscrupulous offshore-controlled operators who have traded on New Zealand’s good reputation by registering on the FSPR to give the impression that they are actively regulated here.

Source: Releases | 19 Jun 2019 | 2:19 pm

Damien O’Connor representing New Zealand at UN Food and Agriculture Conference

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Food Safety, and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor departed New Zealand last night to attend international forums, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Conference in Rome. On his way to Rome, Mr O’Connor will stopover in London to discuss climate change and agriculture with UK-based New Zealand industry representatives to get an insight into the opportunities and challenges faced in the UK market from Brexit. The FAO Conference is a ministerial-level meeting on food and agricultural policy and trade matters, held every two years. “New Zealand has a strong interest in in these areas. We’re a world-leader in sustainable production and this conference is an ideal opportunity to showcase this and highlight the importance of agricultural trade liberalisation,” Mr O’Connor said. “Issues like food security and ending hunger are major priorities under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and cannot be achieved without sound agricultural policies.’’ New Zealand will highlight the challenges facing the South Pacific’s small island states, and the need for strong multilateral action to help them deal with climate change and broader food security and nutrition issues. New Zealand will also be participating in the election of a new Director-General of the organization. From Rome, Mr O’Connor will travel to Cairo, Egypt. “Our relationship with this important region is growing at a great pace and my visit provides an opportunity to continue discussing priority areas for both countries, including trade, food security and agricultural technology,” says Mr O’Connor. Egypt is an important trading partner as New Zealand’s second largest market in Africa.  Annual two-way trade is worth more than NZ$350 million, mostly in dairy and meat.  This visit is the first trade-focused Ministerial visit since 2006. While in Egypt, Mr O’Connor will meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the Minister of Trade and Industry about broadening our trade relationship and recent agriculture cooperation projects. On the way home Mr O’Connor will attend the Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Sydney. Minister O’Connor is travelling from 18-29 June.

Source: Releases | 19 Jun 2019 | 9:53 am

New Zealand ratifies Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau today announced New Zealand’s ratification of the multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) at the opening of the sixteenth annual ministerial meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee, in the Federated States of Micronesia. Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region remains a key priority for New Zealand and Under-Secretary Tabuteau highlighted that the solutions lie in a collective regional approach. “The NTSA is a valuable tool in the fight against IUU fishing. I am pleased to announce New Zealand’s ratification of this Agreement, further supporting efforts to combat IUU fishing in the Pacific through cooperative surveillance activities and the exchange of fisheries information,” he said. New Zealand was heavily involved in the development of the NTSA, signing the agreement in 2014. Following his speech, Under-Secretary Tabuteau presented New Zealand’s instrument of ratification to the NTSA depositary, Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen and congratulated the FFA on 40 years of operation. Dr Tupou-Roosen thanked the Under-Secretary and said, "We [the FFA] welcome the ratification of the Multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement by New Zealand which brings it to 13 Parties to date. “This treaty focuses on enhancing cooperative efforts in monitoring, control and surveillance, in order to combat IUU fishing. “This ratification further re-affirms New Zealand's commitment to work with FFA members collectively, to eliminate IUU,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said. New Zealand will now support Tokelau to proceed with their own accession pathway, so as to ensure the widest extent of coverage of the NTSA across the Pacific.

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 7:58 pm


The Gambling (Problem Gambling Levy) Regulations 2019

The Gambling (Problem Gambling Levy) Regulations 2019 have been confirmed by Cabinet. The regulations will introduce new levy rates for the four levy-paying sectors and are planned to come into force on 1 July 2019. The newly confirmed levy rates (GST exclusive) are: gaming machine operators (0.78% of player expenditure); casinos (0.56% of player expenditure); NZ Lotteries Commission (0.43% of player expenditure); and New Zealand Racing Board (0.52% of player expenditure).    Decisions made on the new levy rates come after the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health have consulted with the Gambling Commission, gambling operators, providers of services to prevent and minimise harmful gambling, and other affected groups. The Regulatory Impact Assessment and the associated Cabinet paper will be proactively released on the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Health’s website shortly. The levy will be used to fund a national strategy and service delivery plan to prevent and minimise gambling harm.

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 4:58 pm

New Zealand expresses deep concern at rising tensions in the Gulf of Oman

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has expressed New Zealand’s on-going and deep concern at the latest incidents in the Gulf of Oman and has condemned the recent provocative attacks on civilian shipping in the region. “While fortunately no-one has been killed, these latest attacks on vessels near the Strait of Hormuz are dramatically raising tensions in the region, and could have wider consequences,” said Mr Peters. The most recent incidents come on the back of previous attacks on vessels in the Gulf in May and the rocket attacks on a Saudi airport earlier this month. “The safety and security of international waters is of great importance to all trading nations,” said Mr Peters. “At this time any misstep or a miscalculation could lead to a serious escalation. As this Government stated in a press release on 10 May, we call on all parties involved to exercise caution, restraint and common-sense and to avoid steps that could undermine peace and security in the region.”

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 4:15 pm

Compliance strengthened for property speculation

Inland Revenue is to gain greater oversight of land transfer information to ensure those buying and selling properties are complying with tax rules on property speculation. Cabinet has agreed to implement recommendation 99 of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) final report. It will require most people who buy and sell properties to supply their IRD number on land transfer documentation. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says the TWG made the recommendation after hearing submissions on ways to improve the fairness, balance and structure of the tax system. “Most people already provide their IRD number to Land Information NZ (LINZ) when buying and selling property, but there are some exemptions which are open to manipulation,” says Mr Nash. “Up to one-third of land transfers are made without a record of the IRD number of the buyer or seller. “Inland Revenue needs a complete picture of property transactions to determine if tax rules are being manipulated. The requirement for nearly all land transfers to include an IRD number is a small change but improves the overall integrity of the system. “If a home owner regularly buys and sells their properties in a short time frame it suggests they are engaged in property speculation and are flipping properties with the intention of creating income. “When the previous government introduced the bright line test in 2015, it made it clear that owner-occupiers with a regular pattern of buying and selling residential properties had to comply with the bright line rule in certain circumstances. “If an owner-occupier buys and sells properties twice or more in two years, under existing law they are generally considered to be trying to manipulate the bright line test. “The requirement to provide an IRD number on nearly all land transfers makes the rules easier to understand for everyone. It removes uncertainty around what information people need to provide when buying or selling a property.  “Capturing the relevant tax information for property sales will also help us work with jurisdictions in other countries to combat global tax evasion,” says Mr Nash. A Supplementary Order Paper was tabled today to make the change to the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2019–20, GST Offshore Supplier Registration, and Remedial Matters) Bill currently before Parliament. It will apply from 1 January 2020. A small number of land transfers do not require the provision of an IRD number. Examples include land transfers under a Treaty settlement or by a local authority.

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 2:43 pm

Oranga Tamariki Review

The Minister for Children Tracey Martin has announced the terms of reference for the Oranga Tamariki–Ministry for Children review into the case of the Hawkes Bay mother and her baby. The review will be led by the Chief Social Worker at Oranga Tamariki. A person appointed by Ngāti Kahungunu and with the relevant expertise, mana and connection will provide independent oversight. The Ministry is waiting for Ngāti Kahungunu to confirm who they wish to take on that role. The Children’s Commissioner will also provide input into the design, progress and findings. “I travelled to the Hawkes Bay over the weekend to meet with Ngāti Kahungunu and the Maori Council to listen to their concerns and to consider a pathway to do better, not just for Maori children, but for all children,” says Minister Martin. On Sunday Minister Martin announced the review, as well as the establishment of a partnership between Oranga Tamariki and Ngāti Kahungunu to reduce the number of children going care. “There are always lessons to be learned from difficult situations. If there are ways Oranga Tamariki can work better with whānau, iwi and everyone involved in the care of children, I know they’ll embrace that.” The review is limited to the period between 12 February 2019 and 9 May 2019. That is from the time Oranga Tamariki first became aware the mother was pregnant, until she and her baby were discharged from hospital. “I know many people have been deeply impacted by the recent events in the Hawkes Bay,” says Minister Martin. “The review will provide an opportunity for the voices of the mother, father and whānau to be heard and for their views to be considered.” As well as focusing on the engagement with whānau, iwi and other professionals and key stakeholders, the review will examine the quality of the assessment and planning, the manner and method of processes undertaken, and how Oranga Tamariki worked as part of a wider interagency group. “It is important to remember that Oranga Tamariki never works in isolation,” says Minister Martin. “Whenever a child is removed from their parents’ care a court order by a judge is required and the decision is made on the basis that the safety of the child is paramount.” The internal review will also consider whether the communication relating to the custody application was sufficient and whether it was appropriate for it to be made ‘without notice’. The three objectives of the review are: To understand what occurred from the perspective of the mother, father, whānau, Oranga Tamariki staff, iwi and other professionals To identify what can be learned from a local and national perspective To strengthen local relationships and ways of working together. The review is due to be completed by the end of July recognising however that the work will need to progress at a pace appropriate to the needs of the whānau, the Ministry’s partners and the community. The decision about whether its findings will be made public will be made in consultation with the whānau and Ngāti Kahungunu.

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 1:39 pm

Wellbeing at Work - Centenary Plenary Session of ILO

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa Mr President, fellow delegates. I bring you special greetings from New Zealand’s Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, on the centenary of the ILO. The ILO has been at the international forefront of promoting the wellbeing of the world’s working people. In 1919 it was a transformational concept, supported by New Zealand as a founding member, an organisation aspiring to bring universal and lasting peace through social justice. Just a few weeks ago, the New Zealand Government had the pleasure of announcing our nation’s first Wellbeing Budget. It is the first step in a transformation to the way we assess our progress and support our people. Rather than a focus on GDP and export growth our Budget is essentially intertwined with the wellbeing of the people of New Zealand. At the centre of our first Wellbeing Budget is a commitment to mental health. This was our most significant investment of all. We all need support through life, our colleagues our families and our friends. We need to show our humanity in everything we do. For our economy, for our workplaces and for society to be productive, it needs to be inclusive and supportive, we need to support each other. Our workplaces are no different. Workplace wellbeing needs to be a focus of our work. Like the ILO, we too are confronting the issues of maintaining meaningful employment and decent work in the face of technological, demographic and economic change. The future of work holds major changes over the coming decades. In the future the pace and scale of change in the workplace is likely to be greater than before, and existing inequalities may be exacerbated. My Government’s vision is to support people through the transitions that many people will be living through. We aim to improve the wellbeing and living standards of New Zealanders through productive, sustainable and inclusive growth. We want a highly skilled and innovative economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages, while boosting growth and productivity. We are ensuring that workplace changes we make will help those most vulnerable first, we are lifting minimum standards, supporting mental health at work, ensuring vulnerable workers have a voice in the workplace and are protected from exploitation. I met with a group of security guards just last week who shared with me their stories. How when on minimum wages they didn’t have time to spend with their children because they had to work such long hours to survive, how health and safety was compromised at work, and how they cut essentials to pay for rent. In a modern society you’d think that wasn’t an issue. But in New Zealand we’ve seen inequality rise over the last decade; when incomes rose, they didn’t rise for those on the bottom. We also had increasingly worsening health and wellbeing. We’re determined to tackle this. We clearly have a lot of work to do. As Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, I am leading the implementation of a package of measures to help us achieve our vision. We are lifting minimum wages, including mental health in our health and safety plans, we are focused on preventing harassment and bullying, expanding Paid Parental Leave, supporting victims of domestic violence, boosting pay equity, and restoring collective bargaining to workers who lost it during the previous government. To ensure this is sustainable, we need to ensure good employers are not disadvantaged by paying reasonable wages, and providing decent conditions. To achieve this, we are working on Fair Pay Agreements, a legislative system of bargaining to establish minimum conditions of employment across industries or occupations, preventing a race to the bottom. As Minister of Immigration, I am also concerned that the migrants who come to our shores to work should not be subject to exploitation. We already provide harsh penalties for exploitative employers of migrant workers, including cutting off their access to migrant labour, significant fines and jail terms. We are currently undertaking an extensive review of migrant exploitation in New Zealand, to better understand key drivers and identify effective proposals for change. We are committed to stamping out this blight on our labour market. In a similar vane, I’m very pleased to announce New Zealand’s intention to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol of 2014 later this year. In doing so, we are proud to stand with the ILO and the global community in seeking to combat and eradicate the scourge of forced labour and modern slavery, and promote a future for decent work. Kia ora. E noho rā (Thank you. Goodbye.) https://ilo.cetc.stream/108th-ilc/mr-lees-galloway-minister-for-workplace-relations-and-safety-new-zealand/

Source: Speeches | 18 Jun 2019 | 11:00 am



Nominations open for 2019 Biosecurity Awards

Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor says Kiwis can celebrate those helping to keep our flora, fauna and vital primary sectors safe by nominating them for New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. Mr O’Connor opened the award entries today. “The annual awards are a way to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions by individuals and organisations who are protecting Aotearoa – in our communities businesses, iwi and hapū, industry, universities and government agencies. “It’s time to shine a light on the incredible achievements of our biosecurity champions. There are people who are going above and beyond to ensure our country is safeguarded and that our biosecurity system remains world-class. Let’s give them the thanks and recognition they deserve”.  Mr O’Connor said to recognise the huge commitment from volunteer communities, there is an additional tier to the Community Biosecurity Award – the Pihinga Award for new projects and the Kahiwi Award for established projects.   “Biosecurity is up to all of us. Every New Zealander has a role to play in protecting Aotearoa against unwanted pests and diseases, whether that’s on-farm, on-orchard, in our communities or in our backyards. It’s one of the most important things we can do to protect our way of life”. Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 24 September. The winners will be announced on Monday 4 November at the award’s dinner in Auckland.   Visit www.thisisus.nz/biosecurity-awards to find out more and enter online.   

Source: Releases | 18 Jun 2019 | 10:22 am

Te Whare Ohaoha – Action Plan Refresh

Te Whare Ohaoha – Action Plan Refresh Waikato Region Māori Economic Development Rāmere 14 Pipiri 2019, 11.20am Talking Points It is an honour to be here with you today to launch Te Whare Ohaoha, the Waikato Region Māori Economic Development Action Plan Refresh. I acknowledge the vision and collaboration of Waikato Regional Council and Waikato Tainui and the more recent work by Te Waka and Iwi of the Waikato Region that has led to this Action Plan Refresh. In an era of unprecedented technological advancement, disparity, globalisation, and localisation, there is no better time to be bold in our dreams of transformational change for our people and their communities. It is through these very examples of courageous and adaptive leadership that we are able to pursue a common agenda and be the role model for change. As agencies, organisations and institutions it is our role to ensure our systems and policies promote sustainable community-led economic development. Government investment into the Waikato Region has already spurred a range of economic activities, particularly through the Provincial Growth Fund and Whenua Māori. We are a government that recognises resilient whānau and communities are the backbone of our society.  This is reflected in our twelve priorities which are grouped under three main themes: Building a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy Improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families Ensuring new leadership by government The objectives of Te Whare Ohaoha contribute toward these priorities by: Encouraging a concerted approach for mobilising resources to improve the economic health and wellbeing of our people and communities Promoting bold and courageous actions that inspire us all to work together for the common benefit Leveraging the existing physical and financial assets across the region, and unlocking our human capital potential to realise individual and community wellbeing and productivity gains Shifting from deprivation to abundance with education and training as prioritised enablers necessary for accessing new experiences and opportunities whether they are starting businesses, accessing higher value jobs, building financial security and further investing in intergenerational whānau wellbeing; and  Taking on a values-based approach: Whanaungatanga Manaakitanga Mahitahi I am excited about the innovation emerging from Māori Collectives and Whanau Enterprise. As a people, we sit at the nexus of Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Hurihuri. This position is one of strength, diversity, aspiration and unrealised potential. Te Whare Ohaoha, through its ecological approach, makes explicit the connection between collective, whānau and rangatahi development. It also recognises the unique role each of these groups play in building a robust and resilient future for our region.   At the collective level, Te Whare Ohaoha is about creating and amplifying returns on investment; For whānau it is about harnessing enterprise opportunities in pursuit of whanau aspirations; And for rangatahi it is about preparing for a future of success and succession. The most exciting thing for me is the interconnected nature of the pou of Te Whare Ohaoha. These provide opportunities for social procurement and social impact investment that will support the mobilisation of our communities. The outcomes of Te Whare Ohaoha are inspirational and reflect the unique position and context of ngā pou o Te Whare Ohaoha. They are: Māori Collectives are mobilised and collaborating for common benefit Whānau are pursuing their aspirations for financial independence through enterprise Rangatahi Māori are contributing to their communities and developing their professional profile. Today we celebrate the progress you have made and promoting the plan for the year ahead. I am pleased to see that since the initial strategy was launched last year, a range of research, educational and networking initiatives, relationship building and multi-stakeholder projects within the technology and tourism sectors, have been achieved. I have no doubt that the next year will bring both challenges and successes but these are necessary for ensuring we develop and maintain healthy and connected communities across the region. It is my pleasure to launch and celebrate Te Whare Ohaoha. I wish you every success through its implementation. Tēnā koutou.  

Source: Speeches | 17 Jun 2019 | 3:46 pm

Mental health and AOD Post-Budget announcement speech

To everyone here from Corrections, PACT, other government agencies and community organisations– thank you for joining us this morning, and for your tireless mahi in our communities. I’d also like to acknowledge my ministerial colleagues, Health Minister Hon David Clark, Hon Chris Hipkins, MP for Rimutaka and Labour MP Ginny Andersen. Today’s announcement is part of this Government’s commitment to tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand and to taking mental health seriously. In the Wellbeing Budget, we announced a record $1.9 billion investment in mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders. All of us here know that a significant number of people come into the Corrections system with complex addiction and mental health needs. Ninety one per cent of people in prison have a lifetime diagnosis of a mental health or substance use disorder. People on a community sentence are five times more likely than the general population to have used a mental health service in the year before or after their time in the justice sector. Unless we address people’s mental health and addiction issues, we will always struggle to address re-offending. This Government is determined to do things differently to break the cycle of crime, see fewer victims, and keep our communities safe. That means investing in services where we know we can make the most difference. Because we’ve seen what can be achieved when we give people better access to mental health and alcohol and drug treatment. It makes it easier for them to gain an education, learn a trade, and take part in their rehabilitation programmes. It makes it easier for them to build positive, healthy relationships with their whānau and wider support networks. And it makes it easier for them to get their lives back on the right track. That’s why I am pleased to be here to officially announce that, as part of Budget 2019, we will be investing $128.3 million over four years to expand mental health and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services in prisons and the community. Once fully implemented, per year, this investment will provide the following: Expanded mental health services to support up to 2,310 additional offenders with mild to moderate mental health needs. A family/whānau service to support up to 275 families of offenders who need mental health services. Supported living accommodation for up to 30 offenders with intensive mental health needs who are transitioning to the community. Expanded social worker and trauma counselling services to help up to 800 prisoners reconnect with their whanau and children, address personal trauma, and transition back into the community. Expanded AOD testing and harm reduction support interventions in the community to provide AOD tests and alcohol detection anklets to ensure people avoid drink driving. AOD aftercare support services to help offenders access the relapse support prevention they need. The number of Aftercare workers will increase to ensure prisoners who have completed AOD treatment programmes are supported to maintain their treatment gains both while in prison and on their return to the community. Up to four additional alcohol and other drug treatment programmes will also be established and 11 existing AOD programmes will be enhanced, enabling up to 204 participants to access treatment per year. RecoverRing, an 0800 AOD counselling and support service for people and family/whānau needing lower level AOD support, will also continue to be available in both prison and the community. We know the path to helping people break away from crime is not easy and that we will face many challenges along the way. But if we remain focused on addressing the drivers of crime and giving people the treatment and support they need to improve their mental wellbeing and overcome addiction - then I genuinely believe we can improve not only their wellbeing but the wellbeing of all our whanau and communities. This investment is an important step in that journey, and I want to thank you all for being a part of that.

Source: Speeches | 17 Jun 2019 | 10:00 am

Defence Capability Plan Launch

Release of the Defence Capability Plan 2019 Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa Ki a papatuanuku – tēnā koe Ki te whare - tēnā koe Tēnā koutou katoa Good morning, and welcome to the launch of the Coalition Government’s Defence Capability Plan 2019. Last year, as I launched the Strategic Defence Policy Statement, I acknowledged the efforts of the women and men of the New Zealand Defence Force. At that time, I made a commitment to ensure that those same women and men would be equipped with the capabilities they require in order to perform the demanding and vital roles we expect of them.   Back in October 2017, the coalition agreement included a commitment to review the Defence procurement programme. With the release of Defence Capability Plan 2019 we are setting out a plan to make good on that commitment. For me, this goal is a deeply personal one, and goes much further back than my time as Minister of Defence.   As a young man it was my honour to serve in the New Zealand Army. It is from my experiences then that, as Minister of Defence, I observe the Defence Force today, and look forward to its future. Through my service I grew familiar with many of the capabilities you have just witnessed – in black and white – from the Iroquois helicopter and the Steyr rifle, to HMNZS Manawanui and the P-3K2 Orion. But the Defence Force of today is full of a new generation of young New Zealanders. Their sense of purpose, motivation, skills and integrity are the beating heart of the New Zealand Defence Force. The common thread between the Defence Force’s engagement with the community, the nation, and the world is our people. From restoring access to Westland communities following this year’s devastating floods, to delivering disaster relief in the Pacific, and training security forces in Iraq. Every day, these service people represent the values of New Zealand at home and overseas.  I am proud to have them as my successors. And just as one generation has made way for another, we have a responsibility to prepare the future for these service people, and for the Defence of New Zealand’s interests. The Defence Capability Plan does this. It maintains the envelope of $20 billion of planned investment in the Defence Force out to 2030, and in doing so it represents no less than the total rejuvenation of the aging capabilities of the New Zealand Defence Force. We have already made significant strides in this direction.  HMNZS Manawanui, newly commissioned by the Prime Minister last week, represents a generational change for the Royal New Zealand Navy. Through this new ship, the Navy will be able to respond to a greater range of events, in conditions previously beyond the ship’s ability, with greater safety and confidence than ever before. The capabilities on-board Manawanui are now, truly, world class. So too with the decision to purchase the P-8A Poseidon. These aircraft will provide a highly valued and sought after capability, one that will ensure the New Zealand Defence Force, if needed, remains able to deploy to even the most challenging regions around the world. The sophistication of the P-8s means we can provide a contribution which is of equal value to our partners as it is to our nation. Once introduced, the P-8s will replace the P-3K2, which will come to the end of their service in 2023. The replacement of the five Hercules transport aircraft is the highest priority project within this Capability Plan. And today I can announce that the C-130J-30 Super Hercules has been selected as the preferred option for the replacement of our aging C-130 Hercules aircraft, with detailed costing information to be sought through the United States’ Foreign Military Sale process. The Hercules embody every aspect of the Strategic Defence Policy Statement and the Plan. Over the last 50 years they have responded to domestic environmental emergencies, they have supported New Zealand’s scientific community in Antarctica, they have provided fast response options in the South Pacific, delivering aid and relief, and they have deployed to theatres of operation in conflicts of global significance. In their versatility, they have transported Defence force personnel, evacuated at risk populations, transported emergency vehicles and military vehicles, assisted in firefighting and conservation efforts, and contributed to search and rescue operations at sea and overland. They have provided a platform for the training of countless individuals, from pilots to paratroopers, engineers and air crew. The C-130J is a proven aircraft, with more than 400 C-130Js having been delivered to over 21 nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. It is used by key defence partners and carries a greater payload faster and further than the current fleet, with no loss of ability to land where our current Hercules are deployed. We need a proven performer, and this aircraft is tried and tested. We cannot take risks with what is one of our most critical military capabilities. A Project Implementation Business Case is scheduled to be progressed to Cabinet next year, where platform numbers, detailed costs and funding implications will be considered. Other capability decisions this term have included the procurement of a flight simulator for the NH90 helicopters, a lease for four new King Air training aircraft, and additional funding for the Frigate Systems Upgrade. And HMNZS Aotearoa, the impressive new sustainment vessel, is continuing to be built in South Korea, and is on track to arrive in New Zealand next year. Yet while these advances are significant, we still have a lot more to achieve.  Importantly, the Defence Capability Plan has been developed to reflect the principles espoused through the Strategic Defence Policy Statement.   These principles include the need for Defence to embody and promote New Zealand’s values. These values are unique, and we have seen that demonstrated time and time again. As a nation we are compassionate, we act with integrity and loyalty, and we boldly address challenges as they confront us. This Plan reflects those values in the truest sense - at its heart it is a humanitarian plan, and readies New Zealand to lead in the assistance of our neighbours, and to contribute to the security of our friends.   I am proud that this Defence Capability Plan places climate change at the forefront of challenges our Defence Force is facing. Managing the impacts of any risk requires not only a reduction of its causes, but also a preparedness to respond to its eventuality. I needn’t reiterate to this audience the intense environmental impacts our region is already experiencing from climate change, and the flow-on economic, cultural and social consequences of these impacts. Over time there will be an increased requirement for our Defence and other security forces to respond with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, more search and rescue missions, and potentially stability operations. The challenges facing the Pacific are diverse, and stem not only from climate change, but also include increased trans-national crime and irregular migration. More significantly, the Pacific finds itself the stage of competition by nations, for presence, resources, and influence.  New Zealand is a Pacific nation through geography, identity, and values. Our nation’s security and wellbeing are intrinsically bound to the peace and stability of the Pacific. Supporting the Pacific Reset, the New Zealand Defence Force must be ready to lead operations in the Pacific, or indeed, to undertake them independently if required. This requirement, this obligation we have to our region, forms the foundation of the Force that will be delivered through the Defence Capability Plan. Specifically, the Defence Capability Plan 2019 responds to the Pacific Reset, and the impacts of climate change in the Pacific, by increasing both the capacity and concurrency with which the New Zealand Defence Force can respond in the region. Since Canterbury first deployed for humanitarian and disaster relief following the impact the 2009 earthquake and tsunami in Samoa, the ship has been a critical component of New Zealand Defence Force activities in the Pacific.   In response to cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015, over the course of 27 days the ship provided personnel, medical stores, construction materials, food and fresh water to local populations impacted by the cyclone. This feat was undertaken again in 2016, when Canterbury responded in Fiji following the damage inflicted by cyclone Winston. The importance of a strong sealift capability is inherent in the Pacific. As a Pacific nation, we are also a maritime nation. Indeed, these same capabilities provided by Canterbury to Pacific Island nations have also been deployed domestically, following both the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes.  Yet despite understanding its value, the New Zealand Defence Force has been limited through its reliance on Canterbury as the sole vessel of its type. As we find ourselves needing to do more in the future, reliance on single points of failure must be replaced with resilience through numbers. To this end, through the Capability Plan we intend to introduce a second, more capable sealift vessel, and to grow the size of the New Zealand Army to 6000 people by the year 2035. Increasing the size of the Army will provide for longer sustainment of operations, and a greater ability to contribute resources across our areas of responsibility, responding to events in multiple areas if necessary.  The enhanced sealift vessel will be brought into service in the late 2020s, and will operate alongside HMNZS Canterbury. This vessel will be able to move more vital stores and personnel, with greater ability to operate in adverse conditions than is currently available to Canterbury. These two vessels together will ensure that we have the capacity to respond in the Pacific and at home if necessary. And when Canterbury retires in the 2030s, the plan signals an intent to replace her, to maintain a fleet of two sealift vessels. The challenges which New Zealand faces as a maritime nation were recognised in the Strategic Defence Policy Statement. Over coming years New Zealand will likely face increasingly challenging requirements to identify, characterise and respond to activity in its expansive maritime domain. Capabilities have been included in the Defence Capability Plan that allow us to confront the sheer size of our maritime domain. Achieving this will require cooperation with other government agencies, and a distinction of this Capability Plan is the emphasis placed on such cooperation. In the Southern Ocean, a polar class patrol ship will provide dedicated services to other government agencies, allowing resource protection in the marine protection area and supporting the scientific community. Replacements for our crucial maritime helicopter and offshore patrol vessel fleets are also included in a Defence Capability Plan for the first time. Across New Zealand and the Pacific, new investments in enhanced maritime surveillance capabilities, satellite surveillance, and long range unmanned aerial vehicles will provide a breadth of awareness to New Zealand government agencies which has previously not been possible. To achieve this uplift, capability decisions will need to consider the fundamental changes to the ways in which militaries operate across the world. As the rate of technological change accelerates, so too will the complexity of our strategic environment. Staying in line with these technologies will be crucial to ensuring our Defence Force remains properly resourced and positioned. The Defence Capability Plan recognises this, and continues with investment in cyber and intelligence capabilities which will allow the Defence Force to exploit advances in technology, while protecting the information we value. Planned investment is also retained for strategic air transport, the Network Enabled Army programme, and Protected Mobility vehicles. As a small nation effective use of resources will continue to be a focus of ours. Capabilities which provide value across the community, the nation and the world must be taken advantage of. You will also note that the Plan shifts the replacement of the ANZAC frigates into the post-2030 period.  Governments have invested $970 million in upgrading the frigates since 2007. When their final refits are complete they will be technologically advanced and fit for purpose for the modern environment.  It stands to reason that we want to see value for money for that significant investment.  The successful implementation of the Defence Capability Plan can only be done in close partnership with industry. Defence currently spends over $900 million annually on goods and services ranging from the purchase of military equipment to long-term maintenance and infrastructure.  The size and value of this partnership will grow with the forecast investment in the Defence Capability Plan. New levels of transparency are essential to support that growth.  The Defence Capability Plan includes information on when we intend to start early engagement, and when we intend to go to market for proposals. Upon taking the Defence portfolio one of my priorities was to demonstrate with the highest assurance that the Defence capability portfolio could be delivered in a manner that met the expectations of the Coalition Government. This was to ensure that, not only would our Defence policy be aligned with the broader objectives of this Government, but also that the Government could have confidence in the Defence agencies to deliver investments successfully. In line with this priority, the investments in the Defence Capability Plan will be subject to considerable analysis, to ensure that both cost and capability are justified, that investments are appropriately situated with other priorities for public expenditure, and that these investments are in the public interest. As Ministers consider these investments, through business cases and the budget process, the improvements made over the last few years to the defence procurement system will help ensure Cabinet is fully informed and aware of all the implications of investment. Our confidence in these improvements was reinforced by last year’s independent review of the Defence Procurement System by Sir Brian Roche, which reflected the high quality of defence agencies procurement practices.  The outcome of the Investor Confidence Rating further built on this confidence across the public sector, with the Defence capability portfolio receiving an A rating. And I will continue to actively monitor procurement practices and performance, to ensure that this high standard is maintained. The launch of the Defence Capability Plan successfully concludes the initial Defence priorities of the Coalition Government, and establishes the basis for the next decade of investment in Defence. In recognising these achievements, I would also like to recognise the outgoing Secretary of Defence, Helene Quilter, for her vision, integrity and dedication to achieving lasting reform of the Defence procurement system. These qualities, instilled in the Defence sector through your leadership, have made a huge contribution to the successes I have enjoyed as Minister of Defence, and for that I thank you.  In closing, I would like to reflect on what this Plan means to our service people. This Plan is significant, in both depth, breadth and implication. This significance is a reflection of the confidence the New Zealand government has in you to accomplish the tasks you are assigned, and a recognition of the value you provide to New Zealand in doing so. And already the Coalition Government has shown the seriousness of its belief in the value of the New Zealand Defence Force through the procurement of the P-8A Poseidon, HMNZS Manawanui, and various other capabilities over the last two years.   And it has been backed up with new funding, with more than $2.5 billion allocated to Defence this term, across both Budget 2019 and Budget 2018. Launching this Plan today is the start of a long journey. It will require a responsive and innovative Defence industry, in partnership with Defence agencies. However, we have an obligation to ensure that New Zealand remains secure and prosperous, that we meet our commitments to our partners, uphold and represent our nation’s values globally, and that we are prepared to address the challenges that face our future generations. The Defence Capability Plan 2019 delivers on that obligation, and will ensure that the Defence Force is able to deliver value to the community, nation, and the world for decades to come. Personally I said on day one, there is no greater responsibility for a government than that which it accepts when deciding to send our women and men in uniform overseas. On that basis any Government must equip, prepare and train its Defence Force personnel the best they can possibly be so that they are able to deploy, undertake the missions we assign them, to complete them successfully, with distinction and come home safely.  The Coalition Government’s Defence Capability Plan is about exactly that.

Source: Speeches | 11 Jun 2019 | 9:00 am

Te Hurihanganui – Post-Budget Announcement speech

"Racism exists – we feel little and bad." Those were the unprompted words of one student during an interview for a report produced by the Children’s Commissioner last year. And I want to acknowledge Judge Andrew Becroft, who is in the audience today. That study of nearly 2000 children - including 150 face-to-face interviews, with mostly Māori students – revealed more insights like this, with disturbing frequency. The Education Matters to Me report found many young people were subjected to racism at school and said they were treated unequally because of their culture. In 21st Century New Zealand that is disturbing, but to Māori whānau, not surprising. As Māori, we all have brothers, sisters, parents, children, or grandchildren who have experienced an education system where we have faced racism, unconscious bias, deficit-thinking and the self-fulfilling prophecies of low expectation. These experiences leave Māori learners and their whānau with the clear message that: You don’t belong; your culture, your identity isn’t valued; you’re invisible; you’re doomed to fail. These insights and experiences were borne out in a series of regional wānanga held by the Ministry of Education last year, to provide the opportunity for Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to contribute to the future of education in New Zealand. There were 36 hui held up and down the country, with over 2,000 participants. One of the common themes that emerged, was that racism and bias continue to impact Māori learner confidence, achievement, and outcomes. That efforts to recognise Māori can feel tokenistic sometimes. Participants also said that the system needs to better reflect and foster Māori identity, culture and values. And places of education need to be welcoming to and supportive of whānau.   We know that the education system has underserved Māori learners for a long time. We know we can do better for Māori learners and their whānau. That’s why I am pleased to be here with my colleague, the Hon Tracey Martin, to officially announce the Restart of Te Kotahitanga. Restarting Te Kotahitanga was one of the commitments we made in the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First. We are delivering on our commitments to support the wellbeing of New Zealanders. Last year, we invested in the design work to Restart Te Kotahitanga. I want to thank Professor Mere Berryman and the Mātanga group, many who are here today, for their commitment to this kaupapa.  One of the key drivers in our overall programme of work to transform the education system is to ensure it delivers for Māori - now and into the future. To do this we will need to work together in true partnership. We know that when we focus on our shared aspirations and form strong relationships we can do great things for our people and for our country. We need to transform the settings and the framework of the education system. But we must also support the people within the education system. That is what restarting Te Kotahitanga was about. Relationships and supporting people. Supporting learners, their parents, whānau and communities to develop and share their aspirations. How they can work together.  How schools will work with them to achieve those aspirations. It is also critical that we support teachers, leaders and governors to reflect on and strengthen their practice.  How they integrate this practice into the culture of their school, so they can better serve the needs of Māori learners and their whānau. Put simply, learners and whānau need to know what they should expect from the education system, how to ask for it and what to do if they don’t get those things. On the other side of the equation, education providers need the capacity and support to build powerful relationships with learners and whānau. We know that when these relationships have the right focus they work.  You told us we need to do more than simply restart Te Kotahitanga. You told us what was needed was transformational change and you created Te Hurihanganui – the Blueprint to guide the transformation of our education system. But we also know there were a lot of lessons learned from the previous phases of Te Kotahitanga which means we are not starting from scratch. I am pleased that the Wellbeing Budget is investing $42 million across three years to implement and test Te Hurihanganui. I want to acknowledge Minister Martin for her support of this important work. We will test and evaluate our work so that we learn as we go. We know that improving education outcomes for Māori learners means committing to a genuine partnership with Māori. And that is our starting point for Te Hurihanganui. The Ministry will support the programme but to get real change we need communities to lead the design and implementation - because they know what will work best for them.  We know racism exists in our education system. We now have a plan to rip it out and transform the learning experiences of our Māori students. Kia kaha ki a tātau.

Source: Speeches | 10 Jun 2019 | 9:30 am

Speech to WasteMINZ and RMLA meeting on recharging New Zealand's recycling system

New Zealanders are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of waste. The Ministry for the Environment’s environmental attitudes research shows that New Zealanders believe that dealing with waste is the second equal most pressing issue facing our country over the next 20 years. Poverty is number one. Incredibly, New Zealand is currently one of the highest producers of urban waste in the developed world per capita. The news is full of stories about plastic pollution in our oceans, stockpiling of low value plastic waste, illegal dumping, tyre mountains and occasional fires from waste stockpiles; and what happens when landfills are poorly sited and maintained. Once upon a time it was out of sight, out of mind. Our waste ‘indicators’ are generally heading in the wrong direction with more not less waste going to landfill. This situation challenges how we see ourselves as a country, how the world sees us, and the future we want for our children. As a country we need to turn around our rubbish record on waste. Government’s role is to set direction, provide leadership and put in place supporting regulations, incentives and investment. Business and industry have a critical role to play by looking closely at their supply chains, manufacturing and retail operations to reduce the waste they create, manage their own waste better, and offer consumers genuine choices of lower-impact packaging and goods. And of course consumers make important decisions about how they run their households, the products they buy, and what they do with those products at the end of their life. But even with everyone doing their individual best to reduce waste we still won’t crack the problem entirely. To effectively deal with waste we need some fundamental changes in how we think about and use nature and the resources that nature provides us and how we think about waste. Our existing economic model is essentially one of taking the resources we want from nature, making them into stuff we can use, and then throwing those items away when they break, go out of fashion or our wants change. And we package products unnecessarily for convenience and presentation – packaging that goes directly to landfill at best, or at worst pollutes the environment. Designers and manufacturers of products and packaging have typically taken very little care or responsibility for what happens to their products at the end of their life. Today, expectations are changing. If a business creates a product or packaging, it needs to give some thought to, and take increased responsibility for, what happens to it at the end of its life. Consumers are calling for this loud and clear, and many businesses are starting to make changes. We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift. The trajectory is that as a country we need to move away from the single-use, take, make and dispose model and towards a low emissions, circular economy where we take carefully from nature, make, use, then recover materials so they can be collected, remade or recycled, to keep valuable resources in our supply chains and out of landfills.  This is not just about mitigating the environmental impacts of waste. It is an important economic shift as well. The circular economy model is a system shift to a more efficient and resilient economy; one where there is less separation between people and planet. We have one planet and currently we humans are over using its biomass, its water, its capacity to absorb pollutants and its oceans. When we mine minerals, take resources such as sand for glass, oil for plastic we need to keep those resources in circulation and providing jobs and livelihoods for people, rather than let them literally go to waste. Until last year, China was the world’s largest importer of recyclable products. In February 2018 China enforced its ‘National Sword’ policy aimed at restricting the importation of low quality recyclable materials. The policy has resulted in an oversupply of some recyclable products to other overseas markets and a decline in international commodity prices – which is having significant impacts on New Zealand’s resource recovery industry. Mixed, low value plastics and mixed fibre commodities, such as paper and card were particularly hard hit and this represents a significant challenge for many Councils and businesses. Ten councils have stopped, or are about to stop, collecting plastics 3-7. On the fibre issue, two of New Zealand’s largest councils have had to bail out their recyclers. The need to take more responsibility for the waste we create has been highlighted by recent international negotiations. New Zealand and about 180 other countries, have agreed to amend the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. This means that exporters of contaminated or hard-to-recycle types of plastic waste will need a consent from the governments of the countries they are exporting to, before shipping.  The amendment to the Basel Convention will make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated, while also ensuring its management is safer for human health and the environment. China’s National Sword has highlight the vulnerability of our recycling system to the volatility of the international markets. The need to concentrate on developing onshore recycling infrastructure has never been more in focus. We can no longer expect to send our waste away and have others to deal with it (including more than 40,000 tonnes annually of plastics from New Zealand, the majority of which went to China before National Sword). We need to invest in more onshore innovation, infrastructure and reprocessing capacity here in New Zealand to recover and re-use materials. Last month I announced our plan to help recharge New Zealand’s resource recovery and recycling sector as part of our response to China’s National Sword. Many of you have and are working closely with the Ministry for Environment team on this programme of work. Government does not have all the solutions but from July the Ministry will be implementing all of the recommendations from the taskforce on resource recovery which was established last year. Currently there is no standardised template contract across councils and recycling and materials recovery operations. This has contributed to the plethora of systems, inconsistency in what materials are recovered, and what level of contamination is acceptable. So even something as simple as developing model contracts for the sector should help reduce contamination, increase transparency and ensure recyclables are separated so they can get better market prices. There is a high level review of kerbside collection and processing systems to identify how to increase the quality of recyclables to ensure more materials can be recovered and recycled instead of going to landfill. I am well aware that more action is needed by Government to reduce waste to landfill and help shift New Zealand towards a low emission, circular economy.  That’s why I was very pleased that Budget 2019 provides an additional $4 million in new funding over four years for the Ministry for the Environment to increase its policy work on waste. Extended producer responsibility or stewardship is one tool available under the Waste Minimisation Act to help design waste out of our economy and shift the costs of minimising harm, away from nature, councils and the wider community and onto product designers, producers and users. Product stewardship, voluntary or regulated, means participants take responsibility for life-cycle impacts of products. Participants include producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers, collectors, and re-processors.   Industry and community groups operating voluntary product stewardship schemes have regularly told Government over the last decade that a ‘level playing field’ and better incentives for diversion are required to achieve significant waste minimisation. There is strong industry support for Government to play a more significant role in product stewardship.   Government is working with industry to co-design regulated product stewardship for problem products like tyres, lithium-ion batteries, agrichemicals and refrigerants.   There will be public consultation on proposed products for regulated or mandatory product stewardship and proposed criteria for accreditation of such schemes in the next couple of months, subject to Cabinet approval. Another of my priorities is to ensure that more landfills are covered by the waste disposal levy, not just the current estimated 11 per cent of them, taking municipal waste.  We also need to increase the levy charged at landfills, which currently sits at just $10 per tonne and is too low to incentivise waste minimisation. In 2017, the Ministry for the Environment reviewed the landfill levy’s effectiveness. The review recommended expanding the levy across additional classes of landfills; potentially raising the levy rate to incentivise waste minimisation and recognise the costs of disposal; and improve waste data. And so I have asked officials to develop options to expand the waste disposal levy for the Government to consider. I expect consultation to occur later this year, subject to Cabinet approval. Officials are considering which additional landfills should be made subject to a levy; whether a differential levy rate should apply to different disposal facilities and/or types of waste; and what rate or rates the levy should be set at. , and how revenue generated is best recycled through the Waste Minimisation Fund. Putting a realistic price on what goes to landfill should help incentivise innovation and change.  Increasing the cost of waste disposal could affect consumers, ratepayers, and businesses. How much they will be affected depends on the new levy rate, and how effectively businesses and communities change their practices to reduce waste production. We need to make sure we support this transformation through spending of levy funds. I would like to emphasise that revenue from the levy does not go into the government’s purse. It is all recycled to help minimise waste by going to councils or into the Waste Mininimisation Fund to assist progressive businesses and community organisations through grants from the Fund. Officials are working on an investment strategy to ensure levy funds are spent effectively, and to better understand the infrastructure necessary for national resource recovery and where investment is potentially best directed, which is something I know many WasteMINZ are concerned about. I’m aware that impacts of waste disposal are also managed through the Resource Management Act. Landfills operate under consent conditions such as requirements to control noise, odour and leachate that are produced by landfills. These conditions mitigate and manage any impacts on land and water (eg, landfills that accept active waste need to be lined, and any discharges are collected and managed). WasteMINZ, with support from the Ministry for the Environment and local authorities, are working hard on updated landfill disposal guidelines. These guidelines will assist in the work around levy consultation so that is clear what types of waste, landfills are able to accept. In time, the guidelines (expressed through Regional and Local Authorities along with landfill operators), will become the standard for all landfill sites across New Zealand. While the Government can set direction, make rules and invest in change, this on its own will not be enough. Government intervention can be slow, and in many cases is best used to set a minimum standard. Industry can be far more effective at leadership and innovation. Businesses have resources, ideas and you understand your customers. There are also opportunities for business to collaborate across industries, to look at end-of-life solutions for products and by-products. Like the old adage, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”, the waste products of one industry can be valuable inputs for another. We’ve seen some great examples of this thinking in action in New Zealand such as the Flight Plastics plant to reprocess PET plastic bottles into packaging.  With genuinely circular design this process may be repeated at least eight times reducing the need to extract natural resources. The consumer-led demand to prevent waste in the environment is growing rapidly, and retailers are paying attention.  It was customers who drove retailers to begin to remove single-use plastics bags from their checkouts which Government ensured across a level playing field with regulations banning single use supermarket bags coming into effect in 1 July. Consumers are now asking businesses to provide products that can be repaired, re-used, remanufactured, recycled or safely returned to nature. New Zealanders also have a responsibility to choose sustainable or zero waste products when they shop, if these options are available to them, to think more about the amount of waste they are individually creating and to support their local recycling schemes.  There are now businesses making money from providing services, such as Lime scooters, so that people pay for the service they need, instead of the product itself. Concepts like the ‘sharing’ economy can increase efficiency and reduce the impact on resources.   The transition towards a circular economy allows New Zealand to build onshore capability and capacity to tackle the current trend of an increase in waste to landfill. This is particularly noticeable with the international pressures placed on New Zealand’s resource recovery sector and local government following China’s National Sword policy and similar policies in other countries. New Zealand is now on the path to a low emission, climate resilient future. Last month the Government introduced its Zero Carbon Bill to Parliament. The Bill provides a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies that contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Bill will set a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to: firstly, reduce all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to net zero by 2050. And secondly, reduce emissions of biogenic methane within the range of 24–47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050 including to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030. There will be a series of emissions budgets to act as stepping stones towards the long-term target. The target provides a signal to the economy of the change needed. This will be matched against a series of emissions budgets. These will have impacts for all sectors of the economy, including waste. The biogenic methane gross emissions are to reduce between 24 – 47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050. An intermediate requirement is to reduce gross biogenic methane by 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030. Biogenic methane is defined as all emissions from the Waste and Agriculture sector as these are reported in the NZ GHG emissions inventory. You may be aware that for the waste sector the methane emissions come from the breakdown of organic matter such as food waste and green waste. The Bill has had its first reading and is now open for public submissions. New Zealand’s future prosperity depends on us making a transition to a sustainable, low emissions circular economy. This is a significant shift. It is as much an economic one as it is an environmental one. It comes with opportunity, and challenge. Some of the challenges may seem insurmountable to start with. Some will require system-wide rethinking.  However, we have a range of initiatives heading us in the right direction. And importantly these are and will be more successful because of input from your sector. Thank you to WasteMINZ, Resource Management Law Association and your members for contributing to the work programme. Your input and work means these initiatives will be more successful. 

Source: Speeches | 6 Jun 2019 | 6:00 pm

Kōhanga Reo Post-Budget Announcement Speech

“Kara Puketapu began to call iwi representatives to Wellington: Tribal leaders, old and young, men and women, from each of the ten districts of Māoridom … We got into what I call organic policies—policies that actually came up from the people … Out of all that dynamic was born Te Kōhanga Reo.“ Those are the words of Dame Iritana recounting a hui that would start a movement. “Policies that actually came up from the people”. The birth of the kōhanga reo, its longevity, and its success is proof that when Māori come together and design their own solutions – they work. They work because our people make them work. I am here today to first and foremost say: Thank you. Thank you for taking care of our tamariki. For helping to grow generations of Reo speakers. To all our kaiako and kaimahi, thank you for the many hours of blood, sweat and tears you have given to support the kaupapa. To the founders of the movement, the leaders, the nannies, the aunties, the mothers, fathers and cousins – thank you all. You kept true to the movement and we, as Māori, are better today, than we were yesterday because of your commitment. Establishing a strong relationship with Te Kōhanga Reo and working to address the many pressing needs facing the movement was one of my first priorities when I was given the Māori Crown Relations portfolio - even before we had a team, an office or even a job description. Because I knew you had waited long enough to be heard. In 2011 Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal that basically said the Crown had been neglectful, and had effectively assimilated the kōhanga reo movement into its early childhood education regime under the Ministry of Education, stifling its vital role in saving and promoting the Māori language, which led to a decline in the number of Māori children participating in early childhood immersion in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. To me, kōhanga reo are not early childhood centres, nor are they kindergartens – they should not have to fit a mould designed for non- Māori organisations. They are kōhanga reo. Unapologetically Māori. They do not need to be compared to something else to gain recognition, because there is nothing else that can compare. Today’s announcement is one of the first pieces of work Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti undertook alongside the Ministry of Education – and it is proof that when we focus on our shared aspirations, when we rebuild our relationships, stick it out at the table, use the levers of Government to put in place change – we can do great things for our people. Today I am announcing that through Budget 2019, we will be looking after the wellbeing of our kōhanga reo and starting to address some of their pressing needs by providing the following: $2.5 million for making urgent improvements to the Trust’s and ngā kōhanga reo ICT capacity and capability. $8.5 million to assess the state of kōhanga reo buildings. The Ministry of Education will work with TKRNT to identify the extent of the issues. But the most pressing need is staff costs. Minimum wage increases have disproportionately impacted kōhanga reo. Budget 2019 funding will provide a further $21.484 million to: Increase existing pay rates for kaiako and kaimahi to the Government’s stated 2021 minimum wage rate; Maintain a level of existing relative pay rates for kaiako and kaimahi already above the minimum wage; and Pay kaiako and kaimahi currently working as volunteers in roles that would normally be remunerated. That is a total of just over $32 million dollars for our kōhanga, our kaiako, our kaimahi and our tamariki. Our commitment to the Kaupapa does not end today. We, Te Kōhanga Reo and the Government, together have still much more work to do. But today – let’s celebrate this milestone together. Māori have shown their commitment to kōhanga for many, many years. Today I hope I have made a start in showing our Government’s commitment to you.

Source: Speeches | 4 Jun 2019 | 9:30 am

Speech to the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue, on Ensuring a Resilient and Stable Region

Tuhia ki te rangi                                Tuhia ki te whenua                            Tuhia ki te ngakau                             O nga tangata                                  Ko te mea nui                                     Ko te aroha                                                  Tihei (wa) Mauri Ora!                                                    E nga tangata whenua                                Tena koutou                                     E te iwi o te Moana nui a Kiwa                           Tena koutou                                     Apiti hono, tatai hono                       Ratou kua wehe atu kit e po             Apiti hono, tatai hono                       Tatou e tu ana ki te ao                         Greetings colleagues, fellow panellists, ladies and gentlemen, friends, whanau. Firstly, thank you to our Singaporean hosts for your warm hospitality, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies for the invitation to speak on a topic very important to New Zealand. As with my esteemed colleagues on the panel today, I will share with you my nation’s perspectives on how to assure long-term stability in relations among states with vital interests in the security of the region. The greatest challenges confronting our nations at present are global, but in order for us to address them, we need to act local. We must create better links between our communities and our nations because together we are stronger in the face of the many challenges facing our region and world. In New Zealand that thinking manifests itself through our Community, Nation, and World framework that guides our work and engagement. Today I wish to put forward New Zealand’s view on this topic, across four themes: tackling global challenges; understanding our individual motivations; forging genuine people-to-people links; and maintaining agile and contemporary security architecture. Tackling global challenges Our international rules based order is under pressure. Strategic competition and territorial disputes threaten to compromise our national interests. Our defence forces are increasingly responding to more frequent and powerful natural disasters. Transnational crime and violent extremism threaten our social fabric, and cyber-attacks compromise our financial, communications and political integrity. During this period of turbulence, we must always remember the small nations who are particularly susceptible to these complex and compounding challenges. We are particularly seeing this dynamic play out in areas where our national interests converge, such as the busy maritime trade routes of this region.   We all want a safe, secure and prosperous region, regardless of any of our geographic locations. And one clear global challenge that requires a collective response, including from our militaries – is the climate crisis. New Zealand’s 2018 Defence Assessment on climate change and security, laid out the very real security implications of climate change. When the effects of climate change intersect with a complex array of environmental and social issues, they threaten to undermine human and social development. They will likely be a significant contributor to both low-level instability and more violent conflict. Climate migration has the potential to heighten security concerns, in the Pacific, and extend into both maritime South East Asia and South Asia. Militaries are a key player in our response to this. Because we are involved in both ends of the scenario. We bring enviable resources and value, specifically in HADR responses and in stabilisation activities. But we are also some of the heaviest consumers of fossil fuels and polluters through carbon emissions. This is where collective action comes in, and real work has already begun on this issue.  Through strong honest relationships we have a better chance to address these challenges. Our combined efforts will be pivotal in maintaining resilience and achieving long-term stability in the region and more globally. Understanding individual motivations But to meet these challenges, we must all be clear and transparent in communicating our individual motivations. How New Zealand articulates our motivations and views our strategic environment is set out in our Strategic Defence Policy Statement. It reinforces how we see the world, and the fundamental principles underpinning our Defence policy, It reflects New Zealand’s longstanding interests and deeply held values. And it proudly states how our military delivers value for Community, Nation, and World. As you all know, New Zealand is a Pacific country. We are linked by history, culture, politics, and demographics – we are in and of the Pacific. It is personal – we are family. And our own prosperity and security is intrinsically linked to that of the Pacific. On that note I want to thank Dr John Chipman and the IISS for hosting the first special session on the South Pacific, and look forward to this being a fixed part of the Shangri-La Dialogue. In February 2018, my Government announced a Pacific Reset. The Reset is both a vision, and a commitment to lift our ambition as part of the Pacific community. It is about changing our mind-set to address the increasingly complex issues in our region. It emphasises both what we are doing in the region, as well as how we operate. Foremost, it is about genuine partnership and mutual respect.  In many ways the Pacific region is where New Zealand matters most and can have a more positive impact. It is our neighbourhood, and where we most certainly act locally. Through our Strategic Defence Policy Statement, we raised the priority placed on our Defence Force’s ability to operate in the Pacific to the same level as New Zealand’s territory, the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Later this month I will unveil a plan to grow our Defence Force capability and capacity to project and sustain operations throughout the Pacific region.  This is crucial – because our maritime area of responsibility spans nine percent of the Earth’s surface. Stretching from the Antarctic to the equator. Yet we are a nation of just 4.8 million people. Our ability to respond to challenges across this vast area is an issue of foremost importance, as we face concurrent threats across the region. By communicating our motivations openly in this way, it means you, our international partners, can clearly see what we stand for, and where we are prepared to take action. If we are all transparent in our motivations, we reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations. Forging genuine people-to-people links The next step is getting to know each other. Genuinely. It is our shared motivation for a safe, secure, and prosperous region that brings our community together. And at the heart of our efforts in the Pacific is a focus on building deeper, more mature political partnerships with Pacific Island countries and institutions. On that note I would like to acknowledge the presence of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Dame Meg Taylor. The Boe Declaration, issued last year, calls for additional collective Pacific action to address new and non-traditional security challenges, including climate change. It is one of the most significant statements on regional security by Pacific leaders in a generation. It is a clear articulation from the Pacific of our security needs. It gives us a compass for action and we must follow it – and I urge all other nations to heed the same call. Maintaining agile and contemporary security architecture For collective action to be effective we need a set of common rules. In the Pacific The Pacific’s peak body, the Pacific Islands Forum, is supported by many existing regional architectures, such as the South Pacific Defence Ministers' Meeting. I attended the most recent engagement with regional Defence Ministers last month in Fiji, where we agreed to adopt ten recommendations aimed to promote information sharing and collaboration on Defence, climate change and security. In the Pacific, New Zealand is also a key member of an agreement between France, Australia and New Zealand to coordinate disaster reconnaissance and relief assistance in the Pacific. This is vital as we have seen increasingly harsh weather events, happening more frequently and affecting more people. We underpin our relationships with exercises – including TROPIC TWILIGHT, SOUTHERN KATIPO and SKY TRAIN – which we use to build confidence and develop practical military to military cooperation for the benefit of our work in the Pacific. These exercises often include a range of partner militaries – including both the United States and China. We are also building partnership programmes with the Pacific militaries and security forces to increase their capacity and capabilities in areas of mutual interest, including leadership development, gender integration, and peacekeeping training. In the Indo-Pacific But the Pacific is not alone in facing this tapestry of global challenges. In the Indo-Pacific, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus has gone from strength to strength over the past nine years. Supporting and continuing to strengthen ASEAN is vital to promoting regional resilience, and the ADMM-Plus remains New Zealand’s principal forum for multilateral defence engagement in Asia. Reviewing and energising But our security architecture is only useful, if it remains relevant. It cannot descend into dialogue for dialogue’s sake. To maintain relevance we must continuously adjust and adapt to new challenges, working together to ensure our security architecture remains fit for purpose - and energised. Conclusion Today, I ask all states with interests in the security of the region: To resolve to come together collectively to tackle global challenges; To be clear on their individual motivations; To forge genuine understanding and people-to-people links; and To maintain agile and contemporary security architecture. Environmental security concerns - including the intensifying impacts of climate change - is one that, especially as Defence Ministers, we should not ignore. From my perspective, the best chance we have to maintain resilience and enjoy long‑term stability in the region, is for all countries to embrace ASEAN’s “One Community” vision and commit to collective action globally and to stand strong together. A famous chief and leader of my Ngati Porou tribe, Sir Apirana Ngata, once said: He aha te mea nui o te ao He tangata, he tangata, he tangata What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people We owe it to our people to be successful, because ultimately all they want is to live in a safe and secure world. And we can do that, if we work together. No reira Tena koutou Tena koutou Tena tatou katoa

Source: Speeches | 2 Jun 2019 | 4:05 pm



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Forest and Bird Post-Budget Breakfast

[Speaking notes may vary from speech given] Good morning, thank you for being here today. It is always a pleasure to speak to an audience of people actively involved in caring for our environment. I particularly want to acknowledge the members of our freshwater advisory groups – Kāhui Wai Māori, Freshwater Leaders Group, the Science and Technical Advisory Group, and Regional Councils – who are here today. They are all working very hard under tight timeframes, and are making a valuable contribution to the Government’s freshwater reform programme, Essential Freshwater. That is complex work. I believe it is going pretty well. Yesterday’s Wellbeing Budget included important funding announcements that will assist farmers and councils to make the improvements to land use practices needed to improve water quality. These changes will also assist to reduce climate change emissions and protect biodiversity. The Government is delivering on what people care about It’s my experience that more and more New Zealanders are stepping up and acting as environmental kaitiaki, or guardians. From the students who took to the streets over climate change, to the iwi and hapū who are managing resources in innovative and meaningful ways as part of Treaty settlements; to the farmers who are investing in measures to reduce water pollution and setting aside land to support biodiversity – all across New Zealand, people are taking action. The momentum is growing fast. I’m pleased to say that through the Wellbeing Budget, and our ongoing policy work, this Government is delivering on public expectations that we will protect and restore our environment for future generations. Because we can’t carry on as we are. Environment Aotearoa 2019 shows the need to act It seems that every week there is more bad news internationally on environmental matters – climate change, insect and other species extinctions, water pollution, fisheries depletion, plastics. The recently released report, Environment Aotearoa 2019, had some bad news about New Zealand too. It showed the way we live and make a living is having a serious impact on our environment. In New Zealand, thousands of our native species are currently threatened with, or at risk of extinction. Waterways in urban and rural areas are polluted by excess nutrients, pathogens and sediment. 80 percent of monitored river sites in pastoral farming areas, and 90 percent in urban areas, are not suitable for swimming. Climate change is already having an impact. Four of the past six years were among the warmest on record. The average annual temperature has not been this high in the past 10,000 years. Coastal sea levels measured at New Zealand ports have risen 14 to 22 centimetres from 1916 to 2016, which is consistent with global trends. Wetlands are being lost. Soils are being compacted, and highly productive soils lost to urbanisation. There is good news on air quality, but much work to be done in other domains. The Environment Aotearoa report showed us where we should focus our efforts. Business as usual won’t achieve what we need We have to take a holistic view of the environment and economy as a system. This will be good for the economy as well as the environment, because the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the reverse. Wellbeing means putting the environment at the centre of our thinking This Government’s wellbeing approach signals a fundamental shift looking beyond the economic growth rate, to measuring success by how well we improve the living standards and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. That means putting the state of the environment at the centre of our thinking. In water we are applying the concept of Te Mana o te Wai – the mana of the water. This says that the health of our people, our environment and our economy depends on the health of our water, and so we must put the water first in our decision making. The importance of this to the wellbeing of New Zealanders is reflected in one of our priorities in the Wellbeing Budget – to create opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy. Productive and Sustainable Land Use package The Productive and Sustainable Land Use Package is one of the key Budget initiatives. We are committing $229 million over four years. This will help us all tackle the environmental issues that New Zealanders in rural and urban areas care about.  It will support the primary sector cornerstone of our economy to both transition and increase the value of its exports. It will help us reverse the trend of degradation, and manage the transition as efficiently as possible. This package provides investment in three broad areas: to put the right framework in place to manage our environment in the interests of all New Zealanders; to provide on the ground, practical support and advice to the land and water users who are at the forefront of this transition; and to make sure all people, including farmers and councils, have the right information and tools to support informed decisions about reducing climate emissions and discharges to waterways. Getting the framework right Our water, our land and our climate are all under pressure. This year the Government is making significant decisions on the framework for addressing these issues. These decisions include: establishing an independent climate change commission to help New Zealand mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change; a Zero Carbon bill, which requires New Zealand to be making no contribution to global warming by 2050; planned new systems and regulations to protect freshwater quality from both urban and rural pollution; developing a new national biodiversity strategy; and commencing a significant reform of the main law setting out how we should manage our environment, the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). The Wellbeing Budget invests in that framework. We’re allocating $54.2 million over 4 years in climate-related measures including setting up the Climate Change Commission, preparing a national adaptation plan, and implementing legislation. Freshwater focus As you know, my Ministerial responsibilities include water, and I am personally committed to improving water quality and ecosystem health.   It is more cost effective to stop catchments deteriorating than to restore them once they are degraded.  Many communities are ready to protect waterways, but some need help to make this possible. The Wellbeing Budget invests $12 million in supporting initiatives in lakes, rivers and wetlands that are most at risk. I want to be clear, this funding is about funding people on the ground to facilitate, leverage and accelerate community-led action. This funding is not for grants to plant trees – there are other local and central government funds already available for that.  This funding is focused on trying new approaches and overcoming hurdles that are preventing action. Supporting land use improvements Improving the way we use land can have significant benefits for the health of our waterways and contribute to our climate change goals, while supporting our communities and businesses. Reducing polluting outputs can also reduce the waste of costly inputs. My colleague Damien O’Connor and I agree that the future for the primary sector in New Zealand lies in more value rather than more volume. Many in the primary sector are already responding to market signals and meeting consumer and public demand for more sustainable, high-value products. For those progressive farmers and growers, the transition to sustainable land use is already underway. The Wellbeing Budget provides more support to make that transition. We are building on what we know works, and it’s not all regulation. Farm planning Managing the environmental impact of agriculture and horticulture requires different actions depending on the type of operation, the location and type of land, the stock and crops being grown, and other local circumstances. Many farmers and growers, agri-businesses and primary sector industry organisations have already adopted the concept of farm environment planning as a useful way to decide what practices and changes are required in their particular circumstances. Through the Good Farming Practice Governance Group, primary sector organisations have set their own target of every farmer and grower having a farm environment plan by 2030. To support the farm planning approach, the Government is investing $17 million to develop good practice standards, and ensure farm advisors are trained and qualified to support effective environmental planning. Shifting to high-value products with strong environmental credentials We are also investing $35 million in improving advisory and ‘extension’ services to provide on the ground support for adapting farming operations, building on services and approaches that are already known to work. This is needed to disseminate the science and farm practices we know will make a difference. We have set aside $11.9 million for tailored services for Māori landowners and agribusinesses, recognising the challenges and opportunities in unutilised or underdeveloped Māori land. And there is $9.8 million to invest in improving pathways to market for high-value products. Beyond good practice Getting every farmer and grower operating at good practice, which can be demonstrated to customers, is a major and significant step forward. Assistance to farmers will go hand-in-hand with the new rules that will have to be met, and will be enforced. As you all know, the Essential Freshwater package has three objectives at its core: to stop further degradation; to reverse past damage; and to address allocation issues. And we are working on a package of national direction – updating the National Policy Statement for Freshwater and introducing a new National Environmental Standard. That package will signal clearly where improvement is needed, and over what period. I anticipate that we will be releasing this package for consultation in the next few months, likely late July or August.  The Productive and Sustainable Land Use package will support the implementation of these stronger new rules for freshwater. It includes $12 million investment in supporting councils to develop and implement freshwater plans to give effect to the new national direction. Regional councils want this. One of the lessons learned by both central and local government is that implementation of national direction requires cooperation between central and local government. This budget package will also fund ongoing policy work on nitrogen allowances and Māori rights and interest in freshwater, with $16 million set aside over four years. This is difficult, complex work. Some of it is controversial, but we are determined to see it through. Information and tools For us to make informed decisions, we need the right information and tools. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment reported that OVERSEER nutrient budgeting software is an imperfect tool for modelling outputs, but it is the best tool we have. To maximise its usefulness for farmers and regulators it needs to be improved. We are investing $59.6 million over four years in strengthening decision support tools and improving environmental data and monitoring in the primary sector. External input As my colleague Grant Robertson has talked about, this year multiple agencies and ministers have been expected to contribute towards the Budget priorities. The Productive and Sustainable Land Use package has seen the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry for Primary Industries working closely together. Ministers Eugenie Sage, Damien O’Connor, Shane Jones, James Shaw, Nanaia Mahuta and I worked together to develop the package. We have all been listening to a wide range of New Zealanders about where practical interventions are working and could be further supported. We will continue to work with representatives from across the board – the Climate Change Commission, the Freshwater Leaders Group, Kāhui Wai Māori, the Science and Technical Advisory Group, ENGOs, primary sector NGOs, scientists and councils. We want to keep working with you all to ensure both the regulation and the transitional support are fit-for-purpose, and meet sustainability initiatives, as well as public and customer expectations. Conservation, and other environmental priorities While I’ve focussed on sustainable land use outside the DOC estate, that’s not the only environmental challenge facing New Zealand. Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is here today and I will leave her to talk about the gains for conservation in the Wellbeing Budget. As an Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage is also leading work to reduce waste going to landfill and the transition to a circular economy.  The Wellbeing Budget puts $4 million towards that work. The Wellbeing Budget includes $30 million to strengthen the integrity of the environmental management system, including improving our science and data. The Environment Aotearoa 2019 report showed us the need for this investment. The Wellbeing Budget also funds sustainable low carbon economic development via the Green Growth Fund, and a $300 million injection in early stage capital markets. These will complement the Provincial Growth Fund, which is investing in trees and many other initiatives. Our responsibility for the future In conclusion, environmental issues are key to the wellbeing of New Zealanders. We were elected to do better. And we are. The efforts are grounded in the belief that if, with all our advantages, New Zealand can’t overcome its environmental problems, then the world won’t. I am pleased that the Wellbeing Budget takes us a further step towards showing the world that New Zealand can and will.

Source: Speeches | 31 May 2019 | 4:42 pm

Rail is back on track

 “Rail is back on track”   Grow Northland Rail Documentary Showing Opening Remarks: (check against delivery at 5.15pm)  Good evening, It is a pleasure to be here tonight to make a small announcement which plays a part in what was a very large announcement made in the Budget yesterday. In summary the message is this – rail is back on track. This is not an empty statement, or hollow words. But a statement of facts, figures, and more importantly, the dollars to back it all up. And it is a massive forward step for regional development and economic growth, especially for Northland. First to a small but significant piece to the revitalisation of rail plan. It’s a pleasure today to confirm that the geo-technical and engineering investigation into the Marsden Point spur line is fully complete, and KiwiRail is making progress with plans to revitalise rail in Northland. In Oakleigh last January we marked the last of drill required for the geo-technical survey. And now KiwiRail has a far better understanding of the ground conditions on the route to Marsden Point and Northport. In conclusion, the survey found that the improvements needed to bring the 100 year-old year Northland line up to standard are relatively straight-forward.  The survey also found that the engineering work on the route will need care in certain areas, but is well within the normal range of expertise held by local domestic design and construction firms. This means the work on the spur line and the Northland line can be done by KiwiRail and other New Zealand companies. Completing this investigation - giving us a clear idea of where we stand - is important for when the Upper North Island Supply Chain Study and the Ministry of Transport’s plan for rail investment are finalised around September. From there the Government will be making decisions about rail investment in Northland. As KiwiRail’s Chief Executive Greg Miller likes to tell people – 30,000 container loads leave Northland by road each year for the ports of Auckland and Tauranga – and rail is missing a huge opportunity to take some of that freight. And in yesterday’s Budget the Government made a very large announcement and has secured the big picture for rail. It secured more than a billion dollar investment in KiwiRail. It is a milestone moment towards rebuilding the rail system New Zealander’s deserve. Through Budget 2019 the Government is investing $742 million over two years and has earmarked a further $300 million for regional rail initiatives through the Provincial Growth Fund. This is about setting up KiwiRail to deliver effective rail services. It’s about addressing the appalling history of under-investment in our rail system over the last three decades, and enabling growth that will ensure rail is sustainable. The one billion dollar package includes: $331m to go towards addressing legacy issues. That’s much needed investment in existing tracks, signals, bridges, tunnels and maintenance facilities to ensure rail is reliable and resilient; $375m to go towards replacing the 40 to 50 year-old South Island locomotives and 900 aging container wagons; and improving the layout at the major maintenance depots to set the right conditions for growth; $35m for progressing procurement of two new, rail enabled ferries that will replace Interislander’s aging Aratere, Kaitiaki, and Kaiarihi ferries; and $300m earmarked for potential investment through the Provincial Growth Fund, allowing for even greater rail growth and supporting economic development and greater connections in our regions.  The Government has already committed more than $260 million through the Provincial Growth Fund. Projects include improved tourism services in the South Island; reopening the Napier-Wairoa line for forestry and upgrading the Whanganui Line; and funding towards establishing a new, hi-tech road-rail freight hub near Palmerston North to help manage increasing North Island freight volumes over the coming decades. We know there is a lot more potential for rail in our regions. We have secured the funding base – and now we need to roll out the plan. Our Government has a bold vision for rail to be seen in our New Zealand Rail Plan, which will be released later this year. The plan will lay out our vision for rail over the next decade and the level of investment needed to get there. It will look at how rail fits into national and regional transport planning, and how rail infrastructure can be funded sustainably. Through the Budget, the Ministry of Transport is receiving $1m to lead the implementation the necessary changes across the transport agencies. The fact is we need to get past over-thinking roads as the solution to everything. Our Government is thinking about the transport network in a strategic and integrated way that will see us well into the future. We want to see “mode-neutrality” – how you can have the right combination of roads, rail, shipping and the like that works for business and makes people’s lives easier. So, for Northland the good news is that we are “on-track”. You might just stay the planets are about to be in alignment. There are opportunities arriving. You will be aware the Coalition Agreement signals a significant investment in regional rail The next steps require KiwiRail’s effort. It now needs to prepare its application to the Provincial Growth Fund to get the Northland rail line properly back up and running. And there is not a moment to be lost. We know that without investment, the Northland rail line would have to close in three to five years. KiwiRail needs to show that making the necessary improvements to the rail line will translate into regional growth, better connectivity with New Zealand’s largest city, and more jobs.  But we started this process, and signed the Coalition Agreement, because we know the case is compelling in places such as Northland. And while difficult to prejudge an application to the PGF it is hard to see a contrary argument on developing the Marsden Point link, or even a future when the rail links are entrenched to further North to Otiria or through to Dargaville. The Government looks forward to receiving Kiwirail’s PGF application.

Source: Speeches | 31 May 2019 | 4:12 pm

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