The top two most contaminated sites in New Zealand have been successfully remediated, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said today.
“The Prohibition and Alexander mines on the West Coast topped a list of the most contaminated sites in New Zealand,” Dr Smith says.
“They have been cleaned up during the past 18 months in projects jointly funded by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund. The two projects cost $3.6 million to complete.
“The Prohibition and Alexander mine sites were acutely toxic and a blight on New Zealand’s clean, green reputation. Their levels of arsenic were among the highest recorded anywhere in the world at 400,000 parts per million on land, or 500 times the safe level, and in water at 300 parts per million, or 33,000 times the safe limit for drinking water.
“The Prohibition mine site was contaminated from the operation of a roasting plant from 1935 to 1951, when arsenic bearing ore was roasted to release gold. The sites also have high levels of mercury and cyanide. The mining company has long gone and DOC inherited the site in 1987,” Ms Barry says.
“The Alexander processing plant that produced the high levels of arsenic operated between 1934 and 1936. The mine closed in 1943.
“These contaminated sites were the legacy of inadequate oversight and requirements of previous mining activities on the West Coast. We need to repair the environmental damage and clean up this site, but also ensure that we properly regulate mining activities today so as not to create more problems of this sort in the future,” Dr Smith concluded.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has paid tribute to the legacy of master carver Cliff Whiting, who has passed away at the age of 81.
“Cliff Whiting was an exceptional New Zealander, a master carver who helped develop a new era of Maori arts, and a leader in the early days of Te Papa, our national museum,” Ms Barry says.
“His works, such as Te Marae at Te Papa, are widely recognised as masterpieces of contemporary Maori carving, fusing together modern artistic sensibility with a deep understanding and respect for the past.”
Mr Whiting’s contribution to the arts was recognised in 1998, when he became one of only 20 members of the Order of New Zealand.
As Kaihautu of Te Papa from 1995, he helped to cement bicultural processes based on the Treaty of Waitangi, working closely with Te Papa staff and including local iwi in decision making.
Mr Whiting was also a founding Member and former Chairman of the Council for Maori and South Pacific Arts (now known as Te Waka Toi) and a Member and Deputy Chair of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. He was a Member of the Maori Advisory Board for the Historic Places Trust of New Zealand for more than 15 years, advocating for conservation work on marae around New Zealand.
The Government is contributing up to $3.2 million to help grow the West Coast visitor economy, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today.
“Growing the West Coast visitor economy is a priority of the action plan. The region has significant potential to increase the appeal of its natural and heritage assets, adventure-based attractions, and cycling and walking trails,” says Mrs Bennett.
“The Government wants to see our regions benefitting from tourism growth, but this funding is also about supporting the West Coast to respond to demand with quality facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Bridges says that while the West Coast is experiencing strong growth in international visitor numbers, growth in the domestic market could be stronger and more consistent.
“Challenges in growing the visitor economy include its distance from visitor markets, limited visitor awareness of the range of attractions, a high level of seasonality, infrastructure pressures, difficulty extracting value from many attractions, and a fragmented approach to promoting and developing tourism in the region,” says Mr Bridges.
The Action Plan has identified nine initiatives to support growth of the visitor economy.
“Four initiatives focus on developing and future proofing iconic visitor attractions. The objective is to extend visitors’ length of stay on the West Coast by improving the experience at less popular attractions, while also improving infrastructure at two established attractions – Punakaiki and Franz Josef,” says Ms Barry.
Government funding for the proposed initiatives is as follows:$90,000 for the development of the Oparara Arches near Karamea as an iconic attraction $850,000 for the extension of the Hokitika Gorge walking track and associated amenities, alongside safety improvements to the access road $1.8 million to future proof Punakaiki visitor and heritage infrastructure $225,000 to investigate future proofing Franz Josef infrastructure against flooding and earthquakes $40,000 toward a feasibility study for the upgrade of Croesus Road near Blackball for access to the Pike 29 Trail, which is part of the Paparoa Track Great Walk $50,000 toward a feasibility study for a Kawatiri (Charleston to Westport) Coastal Walking and Cycling Trail The Tai Poutini Māori Tourism Strategy and Action Plan – with $70,000 funding from Te Puni Kokiri subject to meeting the conditions of contestable funding.
Ms Barry added that it is particularly pleasing to note that Development West Coast is contributing a total of $150,000 to the funding of the Oparara, Kawatiri and Croesus Road initiatives.
Predator Free 2050’s arsenal is set to expand with funding for three projects to control stoats and rats.
“The funding gives that extra push to promising projects already in the pipeline to help make them safer, more cost effective or to enlarge their scale,” Ms Barry says.
“We know new tools and technology are needed to win the war against invasive predators, so we’ve funded the newly-formed company Predator Free 2050 Ltd to support breakthrough scientific research.”
“We also know our current tools and technology need to be improved and enhanced to make a difference in the short to medium-term as we head toward a predator-free New Zealand.”
“That’s why we are investing in these three multi-year projects which will receive a total of $1.24m support from the first round of a DOC-managed Tools to Market fund. I’m pleased to see successful proposals for predator-specific toxins and research to avoid harm to native birds.”
“These projects and the impressive groundswell of community groups joining the predator-free movement will be invaluable as we head towards our 2050 goal.”
The three multi-year projects to receive Tools to Market funding are:Landcare Research NZ Ltd project to extend a Norway rat-specific pesticide so that it also targets ship rats Victoria University of Wellington project to bring long-life rat lures to market Landcare Research project to evaluate the potential sensitivity of native birds to bait containing para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) to support the toxin’s development for aerial stoat control.
DOC put out a request for proposals last December and selected projects where additional investment would accelerate completion and implementation of new predator control tools.
The fund has $2.8 million to allocate over four years and another Tools to Market funding round is expected later this year.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says a project by 8 young New Zealand artists will spark new conversations on conscription and give us all a better understanding of its place in our history.
“100 years ago a marble drawn from a spinning barrel could determine whether a man was sent to war. It was a gamble, a lottery, it was the Luck of the Draw,” Ms Barry says.
“During the First World War, conscription forced almost 20,000 New Zealanders to fight overseas. Its introduction for military service had a profound effect on individuals, their families and communities.”
As part of the ‘Luck of the Draw’ project the eight young artists explore what conscription means to them.
“Historic film footage of the first conscription ballot in November 1916 was the catalyst for the creative works which explore this significant chapter of the First World War through dance, illustration, song, film and playwriting,” Ms Barry says.
“Young people can view Liam Hoffman’s animated video ‘Conscripted, 19,548’ online along with Bollywood hip hop dance artist Akshay Dongardive’s ‘The Fading Puppet’ or read Nathan Joe’s short play ‘Those Left Behind’ on the specially created interactive website www.lotd.nz.”
Luck of the Draw is a project by the First World War Centenary Programme – WW100 in partnership with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
Background:Conscription was introduced in August 2016 and the first ballot took place on 16 November 1916. The ballot was held at the Government Statistician’s Office where it was filmed by Government cinematographer Sydney Taylor for historical purposes. Today the film footage is housed at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and can be viewed by the public. Between 1916 and 1918, 134,393 men were ‘called up’ under the monthly ballot system. 32,270 of these men were sent to camp and of these, 19,548 embarked for service overseas. Almost 20% of New Zealand’s First World War soldiers who served abroad were conscripted.
A new multi-purpose community facility in Foxton will receive more than a million dollars in government funding from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF).
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry made the announcement today alongside MP for Otaki, Nathan Guy.
“The new community gallery, exhibition spaces, public library and Council community hub - which together make-up Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom - are a great example of a cross-cultural partnership achieving big things on a tight budget for a small, but energetic community,” Ms Barry says.
“It’s the result of collaboration between the Horowhenua District Council, Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust and the Dutch Connection Museum Trust.”
The Government’s $1,026,450 contribution to the $9.5m project is for the capital construction costs for the whare taonga, museum and gallery parts of the new facility, due to open in October.
Otaki MP Nathan Guy says he’s delighted the project has secured funding.
“I’ve lobbied hard for this project and I know it will be a fantastic local asset that will encourage more tourists to visit Foxton, a town that is rich in culture and history,” says Mr Guy.
“The RCHF is a fund of last resort designed to help smart, cost-effective projects in smaller communities. I think the Horowhenua District Council has got the scale and flexibility of this project right for its community,” Ms Barry says.
“The exhibition spaces will preserve and promote the art, stories and cultural heritage of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and the region’s Dutch settlers, as well as those of the wider Foxton community.”
The RCHF was established in 2016 with $29.5m for allocation over three years to qualifying capital projects benefitting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.
“This announcement follows recent allocations of $4m for seismic strengthening of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings and $3m for the Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei,” Ms Barry says.
Further information about the RCHF: www.mch.govt.nz/RegionalCultureHeritageFund
Previous recipients from the fund were:$10 million to Wanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery - tagged towards the redevelopment and seismic strengthening of its heritage-listed Queen’s Park building; $400,000 to the Whanganui Museum for its redevelopment; $368,000 towards Hamilton’s Meteor Theatre redevelopment; $1.5 million towards the restoration of the Nelson School of Music’s auditorium; $1.5 million towards Whakatane’s Museum and Research Centre redevelopment; $110,000 towards Gore’s Eastern Southland Gallery project to establish a Muka Studio Wing for its arts centre
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have applauded the successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series after the final test last night at Eden Park.
“Last night’s dramatic stalemate capped off a hugely successful ten-match tour that has taken the British and Irish Lions the length of New Zealand and had a significant impact on our economy,” says Mr Bridges.
“The series has further reinforced New Zealand’s capability in hosting world-class major events. The Government has been proud to contribute $3 million through its Major Events Development Fund to help host cities deliver the Rugby 2017 Festival.
“Events like these showcase our country internationally. The series was expected to attract around 20,000 international visitors to New Zealand and the matches have been broadcast to an estimated audience of 200 million.”
“The series was full of spectacular moments and the excitement and entertainment, both on and off the field, has captivated the nation and tens of thousands of international visitors,” says Dr Coleman.
“Last night’s game was an epic thriller in the best traditions of the great Lions tours with the series ultimately ending in a draw. Both sides played some great rugby over the series and it will live long in the memories of New Zealanders.
“It was also fantastic to have over 20,000 British and Irish fans here in New Zealand. Their good humour and enthusiasm really made the tour.
“Everyone involved, from the tournament organisers and host cities to the various Government agencies who played a role, are to be commended for delivering such a high calibre, world class series.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival provided a programme that included around 90 events and experiences across the seven host cities. This was a hugely successful opportunity to celebrate New Zealand’s rich culture and showcase our world-renowned Kiwi hospitality,” says Ms Barry.
“The festival events brought out pride in our host cities. I believe New Zealanders felt a real sense of manaakitanga – providing our own unique way of hosting international visitors.”
More detailed information about the numbers of attendees at festival events and the economic benefits the series has reaped will be available later in the year once analysis has been completed.
The Government will consider the implications of today’s Supreme Court decision on conservation land swaps, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
“The 84-page decision deals with a number of very complex issues with far reaching implications which will take some time to work through,” Minister Barry says.
“The appeal to the Supreme Court was not about whether the Ruataniwha Dam should go ahead – it was about obtaining clarity after differing and split decisions from the High Court and the Court of Appeal.”
“For the past 30 years we all believed that the legislation allowed the swap of a low value piece of conservation land for a piece of land with higher conservation values.”
“The Supreme Court finding that the Director General cannot consider that broader picture has far reaching implications and we will now be working through the effects of that.”
“My concern is to manage public conservation land in a way that will achieve the best possible outcomes for conservation.”
“We will now look at changing the law to ensure we can continue to improve conservation outcomes by having the ability to make land swaps where the outcome would be a win for conservation.”
“Having that ability is particularly important for regional New Zealand where most of the DOC estate is located. Swapping lower value land for higher value land is sensible and a win-win for the regions,” Ms Barry says.
A new Threat Management Plan released today will help protect endangered New Zealand sea lions, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan sets out a five-year programme of engagement, targeted research, direct mitigation, and regular monitoring at all known breeding sites.
The New Zealand sea lion is classified as “Nationally Critical” and there are fewer than 12,000 left. Ninety eight per cent of breeding occurs on Campbell and the Auckland Islands, but there are also small populations on the lower South Island and Stewart Island.
“This plan, supported by a government funding package of $2.8 million announced last month, sets out practical actions and measures to mitigate threats to sea lions and will help their recovery,” says Mr Guy.
“The threats to sea lions are varied and no single factor is solely responsible for the decline in sea lion numbers.
“While disease and commercial fishing are the greatest threats for sea lions at the Auckland Islands, incidents involving humans, such as shootings, are a greater threat to sea lions on New Zealand’s South Island and Stewart Island. Poor habitat and pups getting stuck in holes are the greatest threats on Campbell Island.
“Management of commercial fishing interactions with sea lions will remain a key focus for MPI. A new Technical Advisory Group has made recommendations on the Operational Plan for the Southern Squid fishery which is currently being reviewed.
“Fishers are keen to do the right thing and avoid bycatch. Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs) have been effective in reducing sea lion captures and there will be further research into their operation.”
Ms Barry says a community liaison officer will be employed to help address the human threats, facilitate growth of the population and foster a positive reaction to having more sea lions on the New Zealand coastline.
“This officer will develop and implement a community education campaign to help prepare people for more sea lions returning to the South Island, and help them appreciate how precious and vulnerable sea lions are.
“Another key action of the Plan will be to carry out more research into the disease Klebsiella pneumoniae, and work out ways of mitigating the effects of this disease.
“We already have a fine example of kiwi No: 8 wire ingenuity in ‘Planks for Pups’ – a simple but effective measure to save pups that fall into holes at breeding sites on the subantarctic islands. The holes are deep and steep sided and without the planks to climb out on the pups can’t feed and either starve to death or drown.
“Other practical steps will include regular monitoring of all four breeding sites including more frequent monitoring on Campbell Island - the second largest breeding colony - and developing more solutions to reduce pup mortality on Campbell Island,” Ms Barry says.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan will continue to involve partnership with Ngāi Tahu as a Treaty Partner and stakeholder groups.
New mechanisms to weave mātauranga Māori throughout each workstream will be developed in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi, something which has been absent from recovery plans in the past.
A New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and an Advisory Group have been established to aid in prioritisation of the annual work plan to support the NZSL TMP.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced two new appointments to the New Zealand Film Commission Board.
“The New Zealand Film Commission is successfully bringing our stories to New Zealanders and people overseas and these two new appointments will help ensure the ongoing strength of the industry,” Ms Barry says.
“Paula Jalfon from Queenstown and Aucklander Brett O’Riley bring considerable experience in film, new technologies and innovation to the board.”
“Paula has 24 years’ experience in the business spending much of her career overseas including time as an executive producer and commercial manager for BBC Films (2007-2010) and lecturing at the London International Film School.”
Brett O’Riley has had more than three decades of experience in public and private sector governance.
“In September he steps down as chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and was formerly deputy chief executive of the Ministry of Science and Innovation,” Ms Barry says.
“He’s also been a board member of the Manaiakalani Education Trust which delivers world leading e-learning programmes.”
“I want to thank outgoing members Ross McRobie and Chris Hampson for their valuable contribution to the commission,” Ms Barry says.