Putaruru, Turangi and more parts of Taupo will benefit from a boost to the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, Local MP Louise Upston says.
The Government yesterday announced it was investing $300 million to expand the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme to an additional 151 towns across New Zealand, plus 43 suburban fringe areas around the larger centres which were covered by the first phase of the programme.
“For our regions, this means the Taupo fringe and airport, Turangi and Putaruru will gain access to UFB,” Ms Upston says.
“High quality internet makes a difference to the way we run our local businesses, with access to the digital economy and greater commercial opportunities. In schools, students and teachers can benefit from online learning resources and explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning. It also brings convenience and efficiency to our everyday lives.
“The Government recognises the role of high quality internet in driving economic and social growth. We are working hard to deliver the best possible telecommunications infrastructure to all New Zealanders.”
Phase one of the UFB programme has already brought fibre access to more than a million households and businesses in 38 towns and cities across New Zealand including Taupo, Tokoroa and Cambridge.
“This expansion brings us closer to achieving our target of bringing faster broadband and better mobile coverage to 99 per cent of New Zealanders by 2025,” Ms Upston says.
Offenders across New Zealand completed more than 1.8 million hours of community work last year, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
A community work sentence requires offenders to complete a set number of hours of unpaid work which benefits the community.
“I am delighted to see those on community work sentences engaging in constructive activities aimed at positive change in themselves and helping their communities,” says Ms Upston.
“People sentenced to community work can use the opportunity to take responsibility for their offending and learn new skills and work habits.”
Offenders can be required to do between 40 and 400 hours of community work and can work up to 10 hours a day, or up to 40 hours in any one week. Sentences can include activities such as painting, gardening, building, graffiti-cleaning, restoration and recycling and the maintenance of public land.
“Community work can give offenders valuable skills and knowledge which may help them to gain paid employment later. We know stable employment can be a key to offenders maintaining crime-free lives. Community work is positive for offenders and for the communities they live and work in,” Ms Upston says.
Community work projects in 2016 included:
- Offenders from Ohakune, Raetihi and Taumarunui contributed around 720 hours to the development of the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park which opened last October.
- Community work parties in Nelson helped with the Department of Conservation refurbishment project at Albion Square and supported the Sports Fishing for Youth Trust with maintenance of the fishing ponds and surrounding area.
- Community-based offenders from west Auckland have been completing their community work sentences at the Green Bay New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust, helping injured birds receive a new lease on life.
- 40 Te Awamutu community work offenders have begun a restoration project to plant more than 3500 native plants along the Puniu River as part of a key initiative of Waikato Regional Council and Sustainable Coastlines.
Community work is one of nine community-based sentences and orders managed by the Department of Corrections. It is supervised and is done in groups or individually.