Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy has announced additional support of $14.4 million for Kaikōura’s earthquake recovery efforts today.
“This new funding will help repair essential infrastructure and recognises that Kaikōura has a small council and ratepayer base,” says Mr Guy.
“The region suffered around $20 million of damage to assets such as water pipes and bore holes after the earthquake. The Government will pay its share of 60 per cent of repair costs upfront by providing cash advances of up to $12 million to the council.
“This is a change from the normal practice whereby councils usually pay upfront for repairs after emergencies like this and then the Government reimburses 60 percent of the costs.
“A small council like Kaikōura District simply does not have the cash reserves to pay upfront so it makes sense for the Government to help out.
“On top of this, another $2.4 million has been set aside to help the council upgrade damaged infrastructure, rather than just replacing or repairing it.
“This betterment funding means the council can build in extra capacity and extra resilience, and even add new assets to take into account the changing needs of the community, the growing economy and the ongoing seismic risks.
“The extra support for Kaikōura is needed because this is the second smallest council in New Zealand. For example, every extra $57,000 the council has to spend on repairs would mean a one percent increase in rates.
“This support package will help future proof the vital infrastructure that the local communities depend on.”
Mr Guy has also confirmed that national level powers to coordinate and control the recovery efforts are no longer necessary and will end at 1pm today.
“The issues that may have required powers of national direction, such as the restoration of the roading and rail network, have either been resolved or are being dealt with through other mechanisms,” says Mr Guy.
“We have managed to achieve great cooperation without needing to use the powers, however they were always a useful backstop.”
While these national level powers lapse today, the Kaikoura District Council will today put in place a local transition period so that they have powers to continue the recovery effort.
The Government remains committed to supporting the recovery of the region.
A wide range of support has already gone to local councils in the region including:$2.5 million funding to support their additional statutory functions after the earthquake, such as building consents, planning and hazard management. $2.6 million to help Hurunui and Kaikōura districts repair waste facilities, recycle earthquake debris and manage hazardous waste. $5.72 million to restore the council owned Harbour. $2 million to cover Council debt on Kaikōura Health Centre $11.4 million towards the repair and emergency works of local roads.
A full summary of Government support for the wider region is available at
Outstanding contributions to Civil Defence Emergency Management have been recognised tonight by the Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy.
One gold and three silver Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) awards were presented tonight at an event in Wellington, recognising outstanding contributions.
“Tonight’s recipients have served their country with superb skills and knowledge, and a genuine dedication to protect people’s lives and livelihoods,” says Mr Guy.
“They have made real sacrifices in order to serve their communities. They have helped to keep our communities safe and resilient, through planning, training, and education, and leadership. And in times of crisis, they step up and get stuck in.
“Emergency management is a cornerstone of New Zealand’s resilience to natural disasters. Tonight’s winners are a reflection of New Zealand’s strong community spirit, and amongst a sector already filled with exceptionally hardworking people, they set an excellent example for others to follow.”
The 2017 CDEM gold award is being presented to the Community Link Groups who are part of the Tairāwhiti CDEM Group.
“These Link Groups have set an excellent example on how to be prepared, take the right action at the right time, and to work as a community to look after each other.”
Silver award recipients are:David Scott who passed away unexpectedly in 2015 following a battle with cancer. This award is therefore made posthumously, recognising his generous and talented contributions as lead advisor for emergency communications for the Nelson/Tasman CDEM Group. Pat Dougherty for his outstanding contribution to Emergency Management over more than a decade, across a number of leadership roles. Rob Upton for his outstanding contribution to the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group over the past 25 years.
Tonight’s awards ceremony also recognised innovation in CDEM through the presentation of the Director’s Innovation Award. The award recognises exceptional innovation or creativity that has pushed the boundaries of current CDEM practice in New Zealand.
This year’s Innovation Award, presented by Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management Director Sarah Stuart-Black, went to Tauranga City Council and Tonkin + Taylor to mitigate tsunami risk for local communities.
The awards also saw the recognition of the dedication of a number of individuals for 20 and 30 years’ service to Civil Defence Emergency Management. Full details will be made available on the Civil Defence website (www.civildefence.govt.nz).
Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy has released the terms of reference for a review to identify improvements in New Zealand’s response to natural disasters and other emergencies today.
“In light of recent events such as the November 14 earthquake and fires in Christchurch, now is the right time for a fresh look at the civil defence legislation,” says Mr Guy.
“We need to make sure our approach to emergency response is world class, and fit for purpose for the events that New Zealand is likely to face in the future. Some of our experience from recent events shows there are things we could work on and potentially do better.”
The review will be undertaken by a technical advisory group drawn from current and former senior officials, and chaired by former MP and Minister Roger Sowry.
“It’s very important we have political consensus on issues of emergency management. That’s why we have set up a cross parliamentary reference group to support the work of the advisory group, and provide views on any recommendations they may make. This group has now met and endorsed the terms of reference.
“I also want to acknowledge the many professionals and volunteers who play a role in responding to natural disasters and emergencies. This review is not a criticism of the huge contribution of those on the ground - instead it’s about looking to see where we can make the system better.
“The scope of the review emphasises that an emergency response needs to prioritise the needs of the community, preventing death, injury and property damage. That means having clear authority and chains of command, good information and communications, and the right capability.”
Anyone can comment on the issues raised in the terms of reference and the group will also be looking to engage directly with key stakeholders, including local government, emergency services, relevant government departments, and iwi and Māori.
An interim report will be provided to the Minister of Civil Defence in late August.
The terms of reference are available on the DPMC website http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/review-better-responses-natural-disasters-other-emergencies. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical Advisory Group membersRoger Sowry, as Chair; Benesia Smith MNZM, independent consultant; Malcolm Alexander, Chief Executive, Local Government New Zealand; Assistant Commissioner Mike Rusbatch, New Zealand Police; Deputy National Commander Kerry Gregory, New Zealand Fire Service; Major General Tim Gall, New Zealand Defence Force; Sarah Stuart-Black, Director, Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
Tonight’s event is one of the best demonstrations possible of farmers caring for their land and wanting to leave it in a better state for future generations.
It’s an event I’m proud to support and champion loudly to as many New Zealanders as possible.
This year has seen tensions rise between farmers and your critics and this is likely to continue as we get closer to the election. Tonight I want to say a few words about how we can tackle this divide and tell our story.
Agriculture’s importance to New Zealand
There’s no doubt that agriculture has permanently changed New Zealand’s environment, and frankly, it’s indefensible to argue otherwise.
How else could you introduce ovines, bovines and countless other species to an ecosystem once only dominated by birds and expect nothing to happen? In fact, all human activity has had a massive impact on New Zealand’s environment.
However it is equally true that agriculture has become one of the enduring characters of New Zealand’s national psyche.
Alongside our well-known Number 8 wire mentality for finding practical solutions, it has also formed the backbone of our economy.
Farming has allowed us to build countless schools, hospitals and roads, and enjoy a standard of living envied across the globe.
And as the Budget last week showed, our economy is good health – and a strong primary sector is a critical part of that. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to afford the families income package, health increases, educations increases and everything else we announced.
In general, I think most New Zealanders know that and want farming to succeed and do well.
A few weeks ago I made a comment about not being able to double the amount of cows in New Zealand which attracted a bit of attention.
For some people, my comments were surprising and seen as a ‘flip-flop.’ That’s because many believe a myth that this Government somehow determines who farms what, and has a preference for dairy.
Of course, this myth ignores the role of regional councils in setting environmental limits and granting consents, and more importantly the role of the farmer who alone makes the decision and carries the risk associated with their business.
For any farmers reading those articles, my comments about not being able to double the number of cows was obvious. Farmers have a better understanding of their land and its limits than anyone else.
As I look around the room tonight, I can attest that farmers are environmentalists, and their land is their legacy.
An environmentally sustainable farming operation is not just a source of pride within the community; it’s an asset to pass down to future generations.
Some of the recent attacks on farmers are deeply unfair and it frustrates me that some people believe farmers are destroying their land and the country.
It was incredibly disheartening to read a recent article that showed some school children were being bullied for coming from a dairy farming family.
It’s also disappointing to hear calls to put a ‘cap’ on the number of dairy cows in the country. This is cynical politics for a number of reasons.
First, it deliberately isolates one particular farming type as the sole cause of water quality issues in New Zealand. These issues have built up over decades from a variety of land uses, both rural and urban, and will take decades to fix.
Second, it’s naïve to the yearly event of calving, where the population of cows almost doubles in a short space of time.
Finally, it ignores the process by which the impact of farming on our environment is regulated. That is, at a regional council level, managed on a catchment-by-catchment basis.
That is how we are going to achieve our goal of having 90% of rivers swimmable by 2040.
Around three quarters of our waterways across the country are in good shape, and achieving our goal of 90% will be a long-term project that will cost the country around $2 billion – that’s taxpayers, ratepayers and farmers.
We are going to achieve it in a practical, realistic and sustainable way that doesn’t ruin our economy at the same time. This is a long term issue and we’re all in it together.
A huge amount of work has already gone in with new rules, standards and monitoring which simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. Around $450 million has been committed towards freshwater clean-up projects.
In recent years there has been a huge reduction in pollution entering our lakes and rivers from dairy sheds, factories and town effluent systems, and billions has been spent on upgrades.
There is also a huge investment in science and good ideas from both Government and industry looking for new technologies and ways to improve farming practices.
The benefits of irrigation
Another example of myths and mistruths is irrigation.
As part of this year’s Budget, we’ve announced additional $90 million of funding. This includes grant funding of $26.7 million over the next three years, plus a capital boost of $63 million towards irrigation investment.
Of course, there are many inconvenient truths about irrigation for critics.
A reliable water supply for growers and farmers has major potential to boost economic growth, creating jobs and exports in the regions. At the same time these schemes can deliver real environmental benefits by maintaining river flows and recharging groundwater aquifers.
Let’s have a look at the proposed Ruataniwha project. Groups like Greenpeace would have you believe this will lead to large swaths of the Hawkes Bay becoming dairy country.
In fact, dairy is only expected to account for 22 per cent of the water take from the scheme.
The new Hawkes Bay Regional Council commissioned a review of all the science and decisions behind the dam.
The report concluded that it’s more likely the local community would achieve the ambitious environmental objectives of the Plan Change 6 with the dam than without the dam.
I could give numerous other examples, like Central Plains Water which is taking pressure off groundwater sources and will improve water flows into Lake Ellesmere - Te Waihora, helping the long-term process of improving its water quality.
Or the Waimea Community Dam near Nelson which would reduce nitrate leaching by converting land from pasture to apples.
There’s also a strong contradiction from some critics who warn to expect more volatile weather from global warming such as droughts, but then would deny farmers an essential tool to help them mitigate the impacts of it.
Telling our story
While some of us might disagree with the views of those who are opposed to farming, there’s one thing we can’t disagree with: they are very effective at getting their views across.
As farmers, we tend to lie down too easily. Being humble is a source of pride.
It was recently pointed out to me in a letter that farmers were taking too much of an unfair kicking, and so as the Primary Industries Minister what the hell I was doing about it?
My answer was that I’ll continue working my butt off, but if we really want a message to change the public perception of farming, it can’t just come from a politician like me.
It's going to need to come straight from the woolsheds and dairy sheds.
It's going to need to be from someone in a swanndri, not a suit.
It’s going to need to come from the people in the room tonight.
Who else is going to explain that farmers have spent over $1 billion of their own money towards environmental measures on farm.
Who else is going to explain that farmers have fenced enough waterways to cover the distance from Auckland to Chicago and then back again.
And it’s also important to understand that while farming may not be the sexiest thing around, food is.
Maybe we stop calling ourselves farmers, and introduce ourselves as food producers?
My challenge to all of you here is to set yourself some goals of promoting your industry to your friends and family who might not know that much about it.
In the age of social media, everyone here has the ability to influence public opinion more than you’d think.
For example, this weekend I’m organising my family to plant trees on our farm. We need to Tweet or Facebook pictures of the work we are doing for our land.
You might think it’s nothing, but it’s one small way you can demonstrate the environmental progress we are making.
But just before you think there’ll be some point where we all live in harmony, remember this: this debate won’t end - it won’t go away.
Farmers and environmental activists will never fully agree.
If farmer agrees with the activist they have no cows. If the activist agrees with the farmers, the public have no reason to donate to them to advocate.
The answer is finding that balance in the middle ground.
We’re sometimes quick to dismiss criticism of our industries as coming from ’soft townies.’ We shouldn’t forget that ‘soft townies’ are the consumers buying all our products.
As I’ve always said, our goal is not to double the volume of our exports, but double the value of our exports.
We feed around 40 million people around the world – we’ll never be able to feed 80 million, so we need to feed 40 of the wealthiest million people.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. The wealthiest consumers are also the most aware. They want to know more detail about the products they eat.
They want to know how their food is produced in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.
They don’t just buy the food, they buy the story.
And if we don’t come out of our shells, someone else will tell that story for you.
As a Government we are firm believers we can grow the economy and improve the economy at the same time.
It’s not enough to say that we can have both operating in unison - in fact, for the sake of the country, we must.
Finally, congratulations again to all the Regional Winners tonight and to the National winner and recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy for 2017 – Peter and Nicole Carver from Taranaki. They are passionate about the sustainability of their land and will be fantastic ambassadors for the primary sector.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Minister Louise Upston have announced $3.3 million in new funding for eight climate change research projects in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors.
The research projects were approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries under its Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.
“This funding plays an important part in helping our primary industries prepare for the future challenges of climate change,” says Mr Guy.
“The information we obtain through these research projects help us better understand the effects that climate change has on our primary sectors, and to make informed decisions for the future.
“There is a high calibre of research projects approved for funding. For example, AgResearch will be looking at the energy efficiency of livestock agrifood products through their lifecycle to overseas markets. Another project will look at the potential impact of climate change on where different horticultural industries are based.”
Four of the eight projects involve the forestry industry.
“In one of these projects, Landcare Research New Zealand will be looking at the best options for land use following radiata pine harvesting in the Gisborne District, and looking at the potential of less common forest species for off-setting greenhouse gas emissions,” Ms Upston says.
“Forestry is one of New Zealand’s largest and cheapest forms of carbon storage and will play a major role in adapting to climate change. These projects have an important role in building our knowledge and preparing for the future.”
A full list of successful projects receiving funding through SLMACC is available at http://mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/forestry/sustainable-land-management-and-climate-change-research-programme/.
The wine industry has become the fourteenth industry sector to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“It’s very good news to have New Zealand Winegrowers working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners on biosecurity,” says Mr Guy.
“It means we can work together on preventing, managing and responding to the most important risks like Pierce’s Disease and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.
“This shows the wine industry takes biosecurity seriously and wants to work collaboratively with MPI on preparedness and responses.
“As the recent Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement outlines, biosecurity is a shared responsibility. We need everyone working together sharing their expertise and experience.
“Last week I was proud to announce an $18 million boost to biosecurity in Budget 2017, meaning the total biosecurity budget is now just under a quarter of a billion – the highest ever.”
The signing of the agreement was attended by Mr Guy at a ceremony in Parliament tonight.
New Zealand’s wine exports are worth around $1.6 billion a year.
Other signatories to the GIA include:Vegetables NZ TomatoesNZ Kiwifruit Vine Health Pipfruit New Zealand New Zealand Pork New Zealand Equine Health Association Onions New Zealand Forestry Owners Association New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated Potatoes New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries
A boost of $18.4 million of operating funding over four years from Budget 2017 will help further strengthen the biosecurity system and protect our borders, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.
“Biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister because the primary sector is the backbone of our economy. Unwanted pests and diseases have the potential to cause major damage to our producers,” Mr Guy says.
“There are increasing demands on our biosecurity system because a growing economy means more people are travelling here and trade volumes are increasing.
“These new initiatives will help us prepare for this challenge and implement the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement, which was publicly released last year and sets out a long-term vision for protecting New Zealand.
“Part of the new funding will be used to manage biosecurity risk off-shore so fewer pests and diseases make it to New Zealand. Import Health Standards (IHS) will be reviewed to ensure the rules around importing goods are strong and up to date,” Mr Guy says.
“A major focus will also go on lifting public awareness and participation because biosecurity is the responsibility of all New Zealanders. This will involve targeted programmes to drive awareness and behaviour changes, and to meet our goal of having 90 per cent of relevant businesses actively managing pest and disease risks.
“The funding will also be used to accelerate the development and uptake of new tools to detect and eradicate pests, including sonar scanning of vessel hulls and automatic acoustic traps for use in pest surveillance and eradication.
“This follows steps in recent years which has seen MPI employ 50 new biosecurity staff and 20 extra biosecurity detector dog teams, and introduce new x-ray scanning machines, including mobile units that can be moved around the country.”
A significant boost of $30.5 million of operating funding over the next four years in Budget 2017 will upgrade and modernise the fisheries management system, including the roll-out of cameras, monitoring, and electronic reporting on all commercial vessels, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.
“This funding will help introduce the world-leading Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), which will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” Mr Guy says.
Vessel position monitoring and electronic catch reporting will begin on 1 October this year. This will be followed by cameras on every vessel phased in from 1 October next year. This means that every fishing vessel can be monitored at all times, no matter where they are, and any illegal activity dealt with.
“This ‘Future of Fisheries’ funding will also allow fine-scale management of fish stocks, using the better information provided by the IEMRS system to focus on smaller geographic areas so that more precise and effective management decisions can be made. For example, this could look at specific bays of concern,” Mr Guy says.
“The new investment will also support more detailed scientific research to improve our knowledge of the marine environment, enabling management of fish stocks as well as the ecosystems that support them.
“New approaches will also develop new information about the state of our fisheries using biological indicators of stock status. This is a key focus of the Future of Fisheries.
“While the commercial industry will be paying to have the cameras and other new technology on their vessels, the new fisheries management system will also be partly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries,” Mr Guy says.
“Our fisheries management has long been recognised as world-leading, but we now need to invest in the latest technologies so we can stay world-leading in the high quality management of our fisheries.”
Additional grant funding of $26.7 million over the next three years plus a capital boost of $63 million towards irrigation investments in Budget 2017 will deliver economic and environmental benefits through better use of water, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
“A reliable water supply for growers and farmers has major potential to boost economic growth, creating jobs and exports in the regions. At the same time these schemes can deliver real environmental benefits by maintaining river flows and recharging groundwater aquifers,” says Mr Guy.
“The importance of water storage has been reinforced over the last few years with severe droughts in places like the east coast of the South Island and Northland. The funding we are providing in this budget will help develop new private sector schemes which will reduce the impacts of droughts on rural communities.”
Mr Guy says new irrigation schemes must meet stringent environmental tests. “It’s important to note that any new developments or conversions must farm within environmental limits set by regional and local councils.”
Of the new funding, $26.7 million over the next three years provides matched grant funding to regional scale irrigation schemes, helping them progress through the phases of development to reach construction.
$63 million of new capital funding will support investment in the construction of regional irrigation infrastructure. Both initiatives are administered by Crown Irrigations Investment Limited (CIIL).
“Capital investments made by CIIL are usually in the form of secured loans, as in the case of the Central Plains Water Scheme where CIIL invested $6.5 million in the first stage – since repaid – and is now investing $65 million in Stage 2.
“CIIL’s role is to be an early-in, early-out investor to kick-start projects that otherwise wouldn’t get off the ground. The investment is important because research by NZIER has found that irrigation contributes $2.2 billion to the national economy and this has the potential to increase further.”
“In the next few years there are a number of potential projects likely to need investment, including the Waimea community dam near Nelson, Flaxbourne community Water Project, Hunter Downs Water and the Hurunui water project. These would support a wide variety of land uses, including horticulture, sheep, beef and arable.
“Importantly, the water can also be used for urban supply and improving environmental, recreational and social outcomes.
“This Government is committed to improving the quality of our waterways while maintaining the livelihood of our regional communities. The Government’s investment in improving water storage helps achieve both goals.”
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the latest progress report of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, showing dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.
“The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. This Year Three update shows a range of targets have been achieved, including stock exclusion from 26,197 km of measured waterways which is the equivalent of Auckland to Chicago and back again,” says Mr Guy.
“99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes.
“9,517 nutrient budgets were processed and nitrogen information provided to farmers, representing 83% of the industry.
“Dairy farmers deserve credit for the leadership they have shown in recent years. There has been a major reduction in pollution entering our lakes and rivers from dairy sheds, factories and town effluent systems.
“From the Government side, a huge amount of work has generated new rules, standards and monitoring which simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. This includes new regulations to keep livestock out of waterways to reduce E.coli and improve water quality.
“Achieving our goal of 90% swimmability by 2040 will be a long-term project. It will take decades because water quality issues have built up over decades and there is no quick fix.
“There are still challenges ahead but we are going to achieve it in a practical, realistic and sustainable way that doesn’t ruin our economy at the same time. This is a long term issue and we’re all in it together.”
The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in July 2013 setting out the dairy industry’s commitment to New Zealand and improving water quality.
It includes a set of national good management practice benchmarks aimed at lifting environmental performance on dairy farms, along with commitments to targeted riparian planting plans, effluent management, comprehensive standards for new dairy farms and measures to improve the efficiency of water and nutrient use on farms.
It has been developed with the input of farmers, dairy companies, central Government, regional councils and the Federation of Māori Authorities.