Two Bills that modernise electoral law have passed through Parliament and will be implemented before this year’s election, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.
“The Electoral Amendment Bill and the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill will help make the election process more efficient and fit for purpose,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Bills respond to recommendations made in a review by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee carried out after every election, and were heard together in Parliament as they are closely related.
“It is important New Zealand continues to have a fair and modern electoral system, and these Bills help simplify the election rules well in advance of this year’s election.
“The Electoral Amendment Bill makes a wide range of changes that will collectively improve services to voters, candidates, and parties.
“For example, the Electoral Commission can now begin counting advance votes earlier on election day, and will be able to send information to voters via email in addition to post.
“The changes also increase accountability in the way political parties use their funding. They now have to file an audited return of how their Broadcasting Act allocation was spent, just as they do for their other election expenses,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Broadcasting Amendment Bill modernises party election broadcasting rules by removing the requirement for parties to provide opening and closing addresses on television and radio, and allowing them to use their Broadcasting Act funding to advertise on the internet.
“Updating the election rules helps ensure parties are clear on their responsibilities and supports a smooth delivery of the election.”
Statistics Minister Mark Mitchell has welcomed the transfer of the Government’s open data programme to Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ), saying it will help boost the Government’s commitment to providing better and more freely available information.
“Stats NZ leads data analytics across Government, and as part of this has been tasked with managing the Open Data New Zealand programme,” Mr Mitchell says.
The programme was previously headed by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and is designed to help agencies make more information openly available.
“This will help improve decision-making across agencies and support the Government’s commitment to invest in better and more efficient public services.
“LINZ set a solid foundation and made great progress in encouraging Government agencies, Crown organisations, and local authorities to make their data more freely available.
“However, Stats NZ is a world-leader in data and analytics, and is best-placed to drive forward with the programme.
“It has expertise in maximising the value we get from data, and will continue working with agencies to raise awareness and increase transparency around their data use,” Mr Mitchell says.
Open Data NZ is also designed to strengthen New Zealand’s private sector and support our communities.
“Access to high-value, non-personal data in the most useful and usable formats helps businesses, families, and individuals make more informed decisions such as where to start a business or where to buy a house.”
Statistics Minister Mark Mitchell today announced Statistics New Zealand will team up with its Netherlands counterpart to strengthen the way both agencies gather and use data.
Statistics NZ and Statistics Netherlands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and will work together in an ongoing partnership.
“Both agencies are amongst the most modern and innovative institutions of their kind in the world, and this agreement will help ensure New Zealanders are getting the best possible value from data,” Mr Mitchell says.
“The partnership is a great opportunity to leverage off each other’s strengths and skills, and learn about new insights into the creation of statistics.”
Both agencies will share people through staff exchanges, and will consider ways to better analyse data and develop new approaches to producing statistics.
“The collaboration is not about sharing data, it is about improving methodologies and tools that help maximise the value of the statistics we produce,” Mr Mitchell says.
The partnership will also involve experts from businesses, science organisations, and education providers who will help find ways to deliver better official statistics, such as producing real-time data.
“It is important our communities, businesses, Government agencies, and individuals have access to real-time and quality data, and this agreement will help improve the way New Zealanders receive and use information.”
Our justice system has been improved and is now easier for New Zealanders to use, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.
“The Judicature Modernisation Bill is an important law reform that helps modernise our courts, with most of the changes coming into effect today,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Courts are a fundamental part of the justice system, and these changes will help provide a better service for witnesses, court staff, defendants, and our communities who use the courts.
“The changes focus on creating a more people-centred justice system by making it easier to understand and more efficient for people to use.”
One of the most significant improvements is combining the District Courts throughout the country to form the New Zealand District Court.
“This will make it the largest court in Australasia, spanning across 58 court sites and hearing more than 200,000 cases a year. The District Court can now hear cases worth up to $350,000, up from $200,000,” Mr Mitchell says.
“The reform also includes steps to enable the digitisation of court processes. For example, defendants can now appear by audio-visual links for criminal procedural appearances.
“This means fewer defendants will be transported from secure facilities to appear in court, increasing efficiency and improving the safety of witnesses and court staff.”
Other changes include giving judges a wider range of options to respond to meritless civil proceedings, and enabling people to apply to have their fees waived in the Employment Court from later this year.
For more information, visit: https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/modern...
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has developed a world leading tool for improving shipping safety in New Zealand, says Minister for Land Information Mark Mitchell.
“The Hydrographic Risk Assessment uses the latest technology to identify risks and help update navigation information,” Mr Mitchell says.
The tool combines data from a variety of sources to produce heat maps of New Zealand waters where risks are highest, ensuring updates are given where they are needed most.
“It is important New Zealanders are kept safe at sea, and the Risk Assessment will help ensure skippers have access to the latest and most accurate navigation information.”
LINZ is focused on improving information for areas such as Queen Charlotte Sound, the Tory Channel, the Approaches to Auckland, and Tamaki Strait, which were identified to have higher levels of navigational risk than other shipping routes in New Zealand.
“The tool also helps LINZ provide navigation services for New Zealand’s four million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone, supporting our shipping, cruise, and tourism industries.
“As vessels get bigger and shipping routes get busier, it is important we continually map the sea floor and update charts and other information,” Mr Mitchell says.
LINZ is working with Maritime New Zealand, harbour masters, and others to assess results and plan other charting work.
Read the results of the New Zealand Hydrographic Risk Assessment on the LINZ website: http://www.linz.govt.nz/sea/charts/annual-work-programme/new-zealand-hydrographic-risk-assessment
Minister for Land Information Mark Mitchell will represent New Zealand at the World Government Summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 11 – 13.
“The World Government Summit provides a unique opportunity to showcase the New Zealand Government’s innovative approach in a range of areas,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Prominent world leaders from both the public and private sectors will be in attendance, and it provides a great opportunity to collaborate and exchange new ideas.
“It will also help strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with the UAE, which is our largest market in the Middle East and 14th largest trading partner.
“Annual bilateral trade between the two countries exceeds $1.6 billion, and the UAE is a strong supporter of the Gulf Cooperation Council-New Zealand FTA.”
The Summit, now in its fifth year, will be hosted by UAE’s Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It attracts over 3,000 participants, including senior government, business, international organisation, and civil society representatives.
“The Summit provides a forum to strengthen existing relationships, form new ones, and work together towards stronger global governance,” Mr Mitchell says.
MP for Rodney, Mark Mitchell, says a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme to make wool more profitable and sustainable will work to the advantage of Rodney farmers.
A seven-year partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and The New Zealand Merino Company, ‘Wool Unleashed’ (or W3) is expected to contribute $335 million to the country’s economy by 2025.
“A few years back, wool was one of the highest export earners we had, with the bulk of that being Strong Wool” Mark Mitchell says.
“Since the 1990s wool earnings have been in decline. The W3 PGP programme is a real mechanism to help turn that around.
“The programme will go about this by linking Strong Wool farmers with the right markets, developing new and niche products, and sharing best practice information across the industry.
“The end goal is to make New Zealand Strong Wool and wool products relevant to end users around the world. I look forward to the plusses of W3 finding their way back to wool producers right here in Rodney” Mark Mitchell says.
About the Primary Growth Partnership
- The PGP aims to boost the value, productivity and profitability of our primary sector through investment between government and industry.
- Government and industry are co-investing $746 million over time into 21 PGP programmes (2 completed, 19 underway).
- PGP programmes are generally long-run programmes of five to seven years’ duration and are subject to oversight and monitoring by an independent Investment Advisory Panel and MPI.
- More information is available here.
Mark Mitchell, MP for Rodney, has congratulated Alexia Hilbertidou for receiving a 2016 Youth Award for Leadership at Parliament last night.
“I am delighted that Alexia has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the community by demonstrating leadership in a project or organisation. Alexia founded GirlBossNZ, an organisation created to address issues of gender equality. It develops the leadership potential of young women aged 13-18 years. She also created MAP Youth - an online and face-to-face network of Maori and Pacific people who work with well know NZ leaders, and KaiShare - an online portal which allows commercial enterprise to log their food waste so that agencies who distribute food aid can be notified.
“These awards are a great initiative that recognises young people doing great things, and also those who support or champion young people,” says Mark Mitchell.
“All up there are nine award categories, which celebrate qualities such as leadership and the creation of positive change in areas from the arts and culture to sport and the environment.
“There are 45 award recipients from around New Zealand, so it was great to see the Rodney community represented in Parliament.
“A large number of nominations were received for this year’s awards, which shows there’s no shortage of young people out there doing great work, as well as others prepared to give young people the support they need to help them reach their goals,” says Mark Mitchell
Details of award recipients and more information about the 2016 Youth Awards are available on the Ministry of Youth Development’s website.
Last night I went over to the Backbenchers Pub to support my colleagues Alfred Ngaro, Kelvin Davis and David Seymour who were having their heads shaved for the Shave for a Cure campaign supporting those with Leukaemia and Blood Cancer.
As I walked in the door I was asked by reporter Dan Parker from TV3 if I would consider shaving my head also. At the end of the day it was an easy decision as it is such an important cause.
The problem is I didn't have time to warn my family with only 15 minutes before we went live on air. Yes they were watching the show.
Thank you to those who organised the event, Amy for doing such a great job of shaving my head, Dan for agreeing to turn out for the New Zealand Parliamentary Rugby Team and all those who have supported me so far by donating.