Local Government Minister Anne Tolley and Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy today announced Budget 2017 provides $6 million to part fund emergency water supplies in the Wellington region.
“The Government is committed to improving New Zealand’s resilience to natural hazards,” says Mrs Tolley.
“We’ve worked closely with the Mayors of Wellington, Porirua, Upper and Lower Hutt, as well as the Greater Wellington Regional Council, to develop a plan to improve the region’s water resilience.
“Wellington and Porirua are unique as our only cities without their own local water supplies. Budget 2017 invests $6 million to part fund 22 new community water stations throughout the four cities.
“The region’s councils will contribute $6 million to the project, and they will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the emergency water supplies.”
“Access to safe, healthy water is vital after a major disaster. Parts of the Wellington Region could be without tap water for up to 100 days following a major earthquake as a result of damage to the water supply network and potential access difficulties” says Mr Guy.
“Likely damage to roads, rail and the port would make it difficult to bring in sufficient quantities of emergency water to meet the needs of the population.
“This new work programme will ensure that temporary water supplies are available until the bulk supply is restored.
“A total of 22 new local bore and stream-fed emergency water hubs will be established.
“Drilling at three bore sites has already been completed, two of which are suitable as emergency supplies. Work is due to start at further sites in Porirua and Wellington shortly.
“In total 11 bores are planned that will supplement existing reservoir storage. More than 300 water bladders will also be purchased for storage and supply and supply at water stations that can be set up within communities as needed.
“At the same time, Wellingtonians should be prepared and have water stored at home. We normally use over 200 litres a day each, so the more you store, the better.”
Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced $1.6 million funding for two workstreams to promote the uptake of digital technology across Canterbury and to take advantage of new value-add market opportunities.
The Ministers are in Canterbury today to co-launch the refresh of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.
The digital connectivity workstream will partner with government to focus on gathering region-specific information on any gaps in coverage to see where efforts can be better focused and on promoting the uptake and use of digital technology across the region.
“Canterbury has identified connectivity as vital to economic growth and the digital connectivity workstream will actively complement the Government’s existing national broadband programmes and our Building a Digital Nation action plan,” Mr Bridges says.
“A key focus is around reducing the digital divide between town and country, particularly given rural Canterbury generates much of the prosperity of the region.
“We want to encourage businesses, particularly those in rural areas to get on board with faster broadband by sharing success stories of how it’s making a difference. For example, for farmers, improved connectivity helps them gather data to farm smarter – using technology for environmental monitoring, such as effluent and water control, and for online shopping.
“This workstream aims to have 95 per cent of farms accessing broadband by June 2019. We want a fully connected Canterbury where the whole region can thrive,” Mr Bridges says.
The government funding for this value-added production workstream will focus on:Working with central government to identify value-add opportunities, particularly in China and South-East Asia; Consulting and engaging with South Island economic development agencies on establishing an economic virtual policy unit; Connecting industry needs to research; and Accelerated knowledge transition to high-value production and manufacturing for export.
“Canterbury is one of the world’s great food baskets with a highly productive agriculture sector, and the refreshed Strategy highlights the importance of increasing the value of what we produce,” Mr Guy says.
“This new support will help us towards the Government’s goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025, along with our support for research and development, irrigation and water storage, skills and trade access.
“The Strategy also supports the uptake of digital technologies and smart use of irrigation and freshwater management. Irrigation has already helped increase land productivity, as well as providing opportunities for diversification into higher value production and processing,” Mr Guy says.
The Strategy also includes a programme to ensure local government manages planning and consenting processes, as well as infrastructure.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and other Government Ministers are in Christchurch today to co-launch the refresh of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.
The strategy aims to position the region so that economic growth can continue off the back of earthquake recovery and the rebuild to drive economic activity and employment.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, Government investment in Canterbury has been significant,” Mr Bridges says.
“By December 2016, the Government had spent $14.3 billion on Canterbury earthquake costs and in the six months post the November 2016 earthquake centred in Kaikoura, Government has contributed to date around $850 million towards the recovery and rebuild.
“As rebuild activity levels off, the strategy sets challenging targets that will need sustained collaboration with the telecommunications, primary industries, education, tourism and business sectors. Canterbury is well placed to drive the region onto the next phase of economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
The strategy’s implementation is led by the Canterbury Mayoral Forum with central government support. It includes strategic, high level proposals that advance work streams across the region as a whole.
Mr Guy says the primary industries are a cornerstone of the region’s economic development.
“Canterbury has a highly productive and diverse primary sector - strong in beef, dairy and lamb exports, with the arable, forestry and horticulture sectors also very important,” Mr Guy says.
“The refreshed strategy highlights the importance of adding value to what we produce. This is why the Government has a goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025 and is supporting this through research and development, irrigation, water storage, trade access and developing skills.”
The strategy has seven work programmes including:Integrated regional transport planning and infrastructure investment Digital connectivity – extension and uptake of fast broadband in rural areas Freshwater management and irrigation infrastructure Education and training for a skilled workforce Newcomer and migrant settlement – skilled workers, cohesive communities Value-added production Regional visitor strategy.
Border sector Ministers have welcomed a new report by the Office of the Auditor-General published today on the use of information at New Zealand’s ports, and say their agencies will continue to work closely to protect our borders.
“This is a positive report which recognises good collaboration between the three border agencies. It finds there are strong relationships and effective processing of passengers,” says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.
“The agencies are already working on the report’s recommendations, including briefings for new staff on the different agencies’ roles and for an updated Border Sector strategy.”
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the report shows staff are working effectively and recently updated training programmes are a particular strength.
“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister so it is pleasing to see another good report card. This follows a positive Office of the Auditor General report in 2015 showing the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has made very good progress in biosecurity responses and preparedness.
“In this year’s Budget we boosted biosecurity funding to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. This has helped MPI employ 50 new biosecurity staff and 20 extra biosecurity detector dog teams, along with new x-ray machines, a border clearance levy and the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement.”
Customs Minister Tim Macindoe says it is pleasing to see Customs and MPI staff are working together effectively.
“The report acknowledges the recently updated frontline training programmes as a particular strength, and notes improved collaboration between Border Sector Agencies in recent years.
“Initial scoping is underway between Customs and MPI to look at opportunities for joint Border Sector training and recruitment. This will help to improve awareness of and understanding between frontline staff at the two agencies.”
China has approved formal access for New Zealand bovine blood products into the Chinese market, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
Access has been approved by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China (AQSIQ) for New Zealand premises to export bovine blood products, such as bovine protein and serum, to China. This follows successful negotiations by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
“Formal access for New Zealand bovine blood products opens up enormous opportunities for our producers. These products represent a valuable market and we expect our exports will be in significant demand in China,” says Mr Guy.
“New Zealand now has market access for both finished and semi-finished products, which will mean exporters can attract a price-premium for these higher-value products. This is likely to be worth at least $50 million per year.
“We have an enviable disease status compared with many countries, which means our bovine blood products are widely sought after by a range of markets across the globe.”
Bovine serum and protein products are used in the animal pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing vaccines, diagnostic kits, laboratory testing media, and a range of specialised products.
New Zealand exported some bovine blood products to China prior to 2015, however formal access has now been negotiated providing more certainty.
Mr Guy made the announcement while visiting Proliant’s cattle blood product manufacturing plant in Feilding today.
Currently 16 premises have been registered by AQSIQ to export bovine blood products to China.
“This new access is a real bonus for the wider meat industry, the regions and our wider economy.”
A trial project to recharge the Makauri aquifer near Gisborne and deliver an economic boost to the region has been officially started by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today.
“This aquifer is crucial to the local economy but water availability is a major issue. Lack of water is holding back the further development of arable and horticultural industries which would mean more jobs and exports,” says Mr Guy.
“The injection and monitoring phase of this project begins today with the pumping of high flow water from the Waipaoa River through the pilot bore into the Makauri Aquifer, which has had declining water levels for decades.
“This is another great example of how smart water storage projects can deliver economic and environmental benefits.
“The technology to recharge aquifers has been successfully used overseas and we are starting to invest in this in New Zealand, such as the Hinds/Hekeao MAR project in Mid-Canterbury.”
The Makauri MAR scheme will receive funding of up to $250,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF). It is also co-funded by the Gisborne District Council with $230,000 and has received $200,000 in funding from the Eastland Community Trust.
The Poverty Bay Flats comprises 18,000 hectares of New Zealand’s most productive horticulture land. There is currently 3,000 hectares of irrigated land on the Flats producing $160 million in regional GDP annually and employing 1100 people - about 10% of the Tairāwhiti workforce.
Increasing sustainable production through irrigation is one of the four key themes of the Gisborne/Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the National Fieldays Society for another successful event at Mystery Creek in Waikato.
“This year’s Fieldays was another success thanks to hard work from Peter Nation and his team, but also in part due to the positive outlook for the primary sector,” says Mr Guy.
“Many farmers and growers have dealt with some challenging past seasons, so it was great to feel a really positive mood across the many thousands who entered the gates. There’s a strong sense that many will be looking to use their extra forecast revenue to reinvest in their businesses.
“This will have flow on effects for the wider economy, and particularly for all those rural businesses that support the primary sector. That includes those offering direct support services, right through to those who operate general retail businesses in our regions,” says Mr Guy.
133,588 people came through the gates over the course of the Fieldays – this is the biggest number in the history of the four day event.
The Fieldays event kicked off on Tuesday night with an event celebrating the 1000th Sustainable Farming Fund project, and the launch of the Primary Sector Science Roadmap with Ministers Guy, Upston, and Goldsmith.
On Wednesday, Acting Prime Minister Paula Bennett formally opened the Fieldays and Ministers Coleman and Guy opened the Rural Mental Health Hub and announced $500,000 in more funding for 20 rural health workshops.
A red meat showcase and BBQ cook off was held on Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate how the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) is helping create opportunities for the red meat sector.
On Thursday, Minister Guy spoke at the Innovation Awards breakfast and congratulated entrants for their ideas that will help drive growth in the primary sector.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) also released its Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) forecasting export receipts will increase over 9 percent to $41.6 billion in the year to June 2018.
“The Fieldays is the largest agribusiness exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere and is regarded internationally as a world class agribusiness expo,” says Mr Guy.
“There is now a large international delegation, including media, in attendance every year. The benefits of having our premium food, services, and agri-technology showcased and then broadcast around the globe is invaluable.
A wide range of Ministers and MPs attended the Fieldays including Acting Prime Minister Paula Bennett and Ministers Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges, Jonathan Coleman, Paul Goldsmith, Louise Upston, and David Bennett.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the primary sector is forecast for a bumper year ahead after some challenging past seasons of wet conditions, earthquakes, cyclones, and volatile global commodity prices.
Mr Guy’s comments come as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) releases its latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) at the National Fieldays.
“MPI are forecasting that primary sector exports will grow to $41.6 billion in the year to June 2018 – this is an increase of 9.1 percent and would be the highest level ever,” says Mr Guy.
“Strong forestry and dairy prices, combined with increasing production of apples, wine, and kiwifruit have underpinned growth for the year ending June 2017.
“Dairy prices for most products are forecast to remain at or near current levels as global demand and supply rebalance, while high forestry prices will continue to encourage record harvest levels.
“Horticulture exports are also forecast to continue their strong growth across a range of wine, fruit, and vegetable products. Meat and wool exports are forecast to recover to $8.5 billion following an almost 10 percent fall in export values for the year ending June 2017,” says Mr Guy.
Mr Guy says that new market opportunities and diversification into higher value products such as chilled meat, retail ready products, and nutraceuticals will help to further increase the value of our primary sector exports.
“This week’s National Fieldays is a great showcase of the range of innovative and world-leading kiwi food producers who are really helping underpin the performance of our economy,” says Mr Guy.
“The Government will continue to back the sector and support our exporters on-farm, such as through the Primary Growth Partnership and the Sustainable Farming Fund.
“The Government is also supporting our exporters in-market by investing $134 million over the next four years to achieve the objectives in Trade Agenda 2030.
“This strategy provides more support to primary sector exporters to diversify, greater resource to government to tackling non-tariff barriers, and aims to have 90 percent of our goods exports covered by free trade agreements (FTAs) by 2030,” says Mr Guy.
Link to SOPI (June 2017) - http://www.mpi.govt.nz/document-vault/18443
A proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture to make re-consenting existing marine farms more consistent and efficient has been released today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.
“The aquaculture industry is an important part of New Zealand’s diversified primary industry, earning $500 million a year and employing over 3000 people. This proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture is needed to increase certainty and industry confidence, improve biosecurity management and reduce compliance costs,” Mr Guy says.
“The problem this new environmental standard addresses is the bow wave of 750 nationwide marine farms, or about 64 per cent of the industry, coming up for reconsenting in the next seven years. This is compounded by each council having different processes and rules and these processes and rules being changed with plan updates. This new environmental standard will save marine farmers tens of millions of dollars in consent renewals and ensure a more consistent approach to regulation of the industry.”
“This new environmental standard for aquaculture is part of the Government’s plan for improving New Zealand’s resource management system by taking a more consistent national approach. It follows other national regulations for telecommunications, electricity transmission, contamination of soil, pest control, water metering, forestry and stock exclusion from waterways. These national regulations enable better environmental outcomes, greater certainty and less cost for industry,” Dr Smith says.
“The particular gains from this aquaculture environment standard are the consistent regulations for biosecurity, greater flexibility for changes of species and enabling most replacement consents to be processed by councils as non-notified restricted discretionary activities.
“We encourage the public, industry and iwi to consider these proposals and give feedback to help us get this single set of rules right.”
The final proposals will incorporate feedback from submissions and, if progressed, the National Environmental Standard would come into effect in 2018.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will host a series of public meetings and hui where people can learn more about the proposed standard and ask questions directly of those involved.
Further information, including the meeting schedule, the proposal, and on how to make a submission, is available at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/proposed-national-environmental-standard-for-marine-aquaculture/
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have committed another joint funding boost to rural mental health.
The Ministers committed $500,000 for Rural Mental Wellness at the opening of the Fieldays Rural Health Hub earlier today.
It will go towards 20 workshops for rural health professionals treating people at risk of suicide, continued support for the rural Clinical Champions and Medical Director, as well as support aimed at younger rural workers.
“The Government recognises that rural life goes in cycles, and we want to support our rural communities through the ups and downs,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Rural Mental Wellness initiative is administered by Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and Rural Support Trusts.
“It’s the right mix of further raising awareness of mental health issues within rural communities, coupled with practical help to improve the skills of the health professionals who work alongside the rural sector.
“This additional funding will help maintain the momentum and builds on the investment the Government has made in previous years.
“Cabinet will soon consider a new mental health strategy, which will take into account the needs of our rural communities.”
Minister Guy says farmers tend to be self-reliant and don’t always like asking for help.
“Farmers are really good at looking after the land, animals and machinery, but they aren’t traditionally as good at looking after themselves,” says Mr Guy.
“Due to its very nature, farming can be a very isolated occupation. Farmers often spend long hours on the farm, and aren’t easily able to socialise regularly with others compared to those who live in built-up areas.
“It’s important that farmers and their families know they aren’t alone if they need someone to talk to. There is a wide range of good advice and support from organisations like Rural Support Trusts, Farmstrong, and Dairy NZ.”
Notes to Editors:
Dr Coleman and Mr Guy have made a joint funding announcement for Rural Mental Wellness in 2016 and 2015.
At Fieldays 2015, the $500,000 was split between Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHÂNZ) and the Rural Support Trusts and was used for strengthening capabilities in the rural sector which included:Recruiting almost 80 new facilitators for the Rural Support Trusts; Ensuring most Rural Support Trusts have designated rural mental health coordinators; Providing mental health training to the facilitators and coordinators; Appointing 15 mental health clinical champions to help improve referral pathways and; Enabling RHÂNZ to deliver 42 suicide prevention workshops across rural New Zealand. Around 900 people attended and have been trained, including health professionals, police, social workers, and school counsellors.
In 2016 the funding was extended for another year. The second phase of the Rural Mental Wellness initiative was $600,000 and went towards:Ten more suicide prevention workshops in rural areas not yet covered; The development of a new workshop programme focused on managing suicidal patients in a rural setting; Funding the Medical Director; RHÂNZ starting work on a longer-term approach to improving rural mental health outcomes; Upskilling 0800 operators so they are better equipped to respond to distressed farmers and their families; Two coordinators (North Island and South Island) to work in partnership with Rural Support Trusts to strengthen referral networks; Ensure the majority of Rural Support Trusts have designated rural mental health coordinators and; Providing mental health training to the facilitators and coordinators.