Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the 2017 Green Ribbon Awards finalists, recognising exceptional environmental and conservation initiatives throughout New Zealand.
“These national awards, now in their 27th year, play an important role in celebrating and raising the profile of outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage New Zealand’s environment,” Dr Smith says.
“The standard of nominations this year was particularly high and it’s great to see so many people and organisations stepping up to care for our environment. We received close to 150 nominations, from all corners of the country.”
Ms Barry says the finalists are doing exceptional work to conserve New Zealand’s unique environment and species for generations to come.
“What particularly stands out from the stories of our finalists this year is the leadership they have shown to deliver significant, tangible outcomes for the environment and conservation,” Ms Barry says.
“Many of the finalists have achieved remarkable results through community involvement and collaboration with others. They are examples of New Zealanders working together for the common good.”
The Green Ribbon Awards will once again include the presentation of the Loder Cup, which was first awarded in 1929.
“This is one of the country’s oldest conservation awards and recognises outstanding work to protect our native plants. The Green Ribbon Awards is a fitting opportunity to congratulate the winner of this special award,” Ms Barry says.
All Green Ribbon Awards finalists will be invited to attend a ceremony at Parliament on 8 June. Winners will be announced for each category, including the overall supreme winner. Read the finalists’ stories on the Green Ribbon Awards website www.greenribbonawards.org.nz
Finalists for 2017:
Minimising Our Waste: Webstar | Xtreme Zero Waste | Department of Corrections
Resilience to Climate Change: New Zealand Post | Post Nelson Ltd | Sustainability Trust
Protecting our Coasts and Oceans: Whaingaroa Harbour Care | Moana New Zealand and Sanford Ltd | Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand | South Taranaki Underwater Club
Protecting our Biodiversity:
Gisborne District Council | QEII National Trust and its covenanters | Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society | Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust
Caring for our Water: Whangawehi Catchment Management Group | Discover Waitomo | Wharekopae Catchment Group
Business Leadership: Air New Zealand | Nelson Mail, Fairfax Media | Countdown (Progressive Enterprises)
Community Leadership: Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust | Polhill Protectors | Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust
Leadership in Communication and Education: The Project Crimson Trust | Zealandia | Dargaville Intermediate School
Kaitiaki Leadership: Para Kore Marae Inc. | Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu
Philanthropy and Partnership: Taranaki Mounga Project Ltd | Genesis Energy | The Project Crimson Trust
The Government is committing additional funding in Budget 2017 to implement some of its key environmental and infrastructure initiatives, Environment and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The new funding in Budget 2017 is focused on putting in place improvements to urban development, implementing the Housing Infrastructure Fund, providing additional funding to improve fresh water quality, and supporting marine-protected-area reform,” Dr Smith says.
Budget 2017 includes an extra $4.9 million operating over four years to implement the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC).
“The NPS-UDC requires councils to make sure plans provide plenty of opportunities for feasible housing and business development. It’s important that it is implemented as quickly and effectively as possible. Together with the second phase of the Resource Management Act reforms, it is one of our key initiatives to help address housing affordability.
“The $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund is another key initiative and is designed to assist high-growth councils in financing the necessary infrastructure – the water supply, storm water, waste water and roading – to open up new housing areas. Budget 2017 provides a further $3.5 million to administer this fund.
Budget 2017 also includes an extra $1 million in 2017/18 for the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund, to improve water quality of freshwater bodies (including lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and lagoons) that are important to local iwi/hapū.
“This is in addition to the initiatives announced in the Government’s Clean Water Package, consultation on which has recently closed. That package includes work in the areas of stock exclusion from waterways, changes to the National Policy Statement on fresh water management, and other initiatives,” Dr Smith says.
Budget 2017 includes $1.5 million in 2017/18 (including $250,000 in Vote Environment) to advance proposals for recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds. The funding will support engagement between key government agencies – the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation – iwi, communities and stakeholders to progress the fishing parks alongside other proposals for the use and protection of marine space in these areas.
Legislation enabling a housing development at Point England and progress on Ngāti Paoa’s historical Treaty settlement has passed its second reading by 62-43, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“It is poor use of Crown land just 10km from Auckland’s CBD to have 18 hectares fenced off for cattle grazing for more than 30 years.
“We are going to use 12ha for new houses and 2ha for a marae, as part of a Treaty settlement with Ngāti Paoa. The remaining 4ha will be added to the 32 of public reserve space.
“This pragmatic response delivers much needed homes, assists in settling a long standing Treaty grievance, expands the area available for recreation and enables millions of dollars to be invested in improving the facilities and environment.
“The Government has taken on board the concerns of the local community in guaranteeing an increase in the accessible public space, retaining at least the same area of playing fields and committing to spending all of the Crown’s proceeds from the housing development in enhancing the local recreational facilities and environment.
“Labour’s opposition to this Bill is hypocritical. They demand more action on housing supply but then oppose major developments like Three Kings and Point England. It is also ironic that they are calling for reductions in cow numbers nationally but defend grazing on 18ha of prime central city land where land supply is the most significant barrier to housing.
“The Labour proposal of using land owned by the Tamaki Redevelopment Company is not a credible alternative because it is already committed to housing and does not add to supply. Ngāti Paoa has also made plain that this ancestral block of Point England is pivotal to their settlement.
“Auckland’s housing challenges will be resolved development by development. We are making good progress in growing supply over the past five years from the 4000 new homes being built a year to over 10,000 today. We need pragmatic initiatives like Point England to maintain this growth.”
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No. 2) introduced to Parliament today will provide better protections and clarity for tenants and landlords, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“This Bill makes three practical changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to help ensure our tenancy laws better manage methamphetamine contamination, liability for careless damage and the tenancy of unsuitable properties. It builds on the changes we made last year requiring smoke alarms and insulation, and establishing a Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team.
“This Bill recognises that meth contamination of properties has become a significant issue that needs clearer direction. We want homes to be safe but we also don’t want properties being vacated when the risks are low.
“Landlords will have easier access to test for meth and tenants will be able to terminate their tenancy if it presents at unsafe levels. Standards New Zealand is working on appropriate contamination thresholds and the Bill will enable these to be legally recognised and enforceable before the Tenancy Tribunal.
“The Bill also implements changes in respect of liability for careless damage arising from the Osaki decision last year. This court ruling means landlords cannot recover the costs of damage, including the excess charge on any insurance policy. The changes are needed to ensure tenants have an incentive to take good care of a property, and for the landlord to have appropriate insurance.
“Under the Bill, tenants will be liable for the cost of their landlord’s insurance excess up to a maximum of four weeks’ rent for each incident of damage caused by carelessness. A tenant remains fully liable where the damage is deliberate or a criminal act, and the landlord liable for fair wear and tear and damage beyond the control of the tenant, like a natural disaster.
“It also strengthens the law for prosecuting landlords who tenant unsuitable properties. The current jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tribunal is limited to residential buildings, meaning those who rent out unlawfully converted garages, warehouses or industrial buildings as living spaces can avoid accountability.
“These improvements to our tenancy laws will better protect responsible landlords and tenants and help our residential tenancy market function more effectively,” Dr Smith concluded.
A new Tasman Housing Accord aimed at boosting the district’s housing supply has been signed today by Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Richard Kempthorne.
“Tasman is a successful and growing region. Unemployment is the lowest in the country and our community is benefiting from this growth, but we need to ensure we keep pace with this growth by providing additional space for new housing,” Dr Smith says.
“Significant population growth is forecast in five of the Tasman District’s major settlements - Richmond, Mapua, Motueka, Brightwater and Wakefield – in the next 10 to 20 years. This Accord is about ensuring this growth is well managed and supported.
“The Accord signed today provides the basis for the Government and the Tasman District Council to continue working together to clear the red tape for developers and to free up land faster.”
The previous Housing Accord was entered into in May 2015. It set a goal of 260 additional sections and 620 new homes over two years, and these have been well exceeded, with 457 new sections and 693 new homes. The new targets for the period 2017-19 are for 800 sections and 1100 homes.
“The primary benefit of a new Housing Accord with Tasman is enabling new Special Housing Areas (SHAs) to be declared. The Government and Council are in discussions on several possible areas that will add hundreds of sections to supply. These will be considered in coming months alongside Council-lead policy on establishing future SHAs,” Dr Smith says.
“Nelson and Tasman are enjoying a record building boom, with $350 million of work consented in the past year. This new Accord with Tasman will ensure we keep up this pace of strong investment and growth.”
Temporary homes will be moved on to the Whakatāne Holiday Park and next to flood-damaged homes while properties in the Edgecumbe area are repaired, Lead Minister for Edgecumbe Anne Tolley and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith said today.
The Ministers visited the holiday park to see the region’s recovery first-hand, and visit the site where a number of temporary homes will be built to increase accommodation options in the area.
“More than 250 homes were damaged when the Rangitāiki River broke its banks last month. MBIE’s Temporary Accommodation Service has had more than 90 registrations from people with damaged homes who need support to find temporary accommodation,” Mrs Tolley says.
“The Government remains committed to ensuring that locals have the support they need to get back on their feet as soon as possible.
“We’ve provided $500,000 of Enhanced Taskforce Green funding to employ people to assist the Council with the clean-up, and the first work crews got under way this week.
“Over 2800 Civil Defence payments, totalling more than $722,000, have been made to help people with food, clothing and bedding, and there’s also been over 230 other emergency related payments, totalling about $41,000.”
Dr Smith says: “The temporary housing to be built on Whakatāne Holiday Park and, where suitable, adjacent to flood-damaged homes will enable people to stay connected to their community while their homes are repaired. These are to complement the other housing options available through the private market, including holiday accommodation and social housing. The total initiative will include about 30 temporary homes.
“These solutions have proved very effective in supporting the recovery in the Christchurch and Kāikoura earthquakes and are an appropriate response to the difficulties faced by Edgecumbe flood victims. The first homes arrived this week and we are working with the Council to have the temporary village operational next month.
“These temporary accommodation options have been developed in partnership with the Whakatāne District Council, with the costs being shared. Households registered with the service will be able to access these homes while their own is repaired.”
Mrs Tolley and Dr Smith also visited a property in one of Edgecumbe’s most flood-affected streets, Rata Avenue, where the first portable unit was recently delivered and installed by the service.
“This is the first of a number of portable homes to be made available to homeowners who wish to stay on their own land. They will be connected to existing services where possible,” Dr Smith says.
Households affected by flooding who need support to find temporary accommodation should register at www.temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz or call 0800 779 997 to discuss your requirements.
The Government and the Hurunui District Council are establishing a temporary accommodation village in Waiau to help the town’s recovery from the Kaikōura Earthquake, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“Waiau was hit hardest of any community by the 14 November quake. The village suffered a higher proportion of damaged homes than any community affected by recent disasters. Recovery is best supported by people being able to stay in their community and that is why the Government is investing with the Council in this temporary accommodation village.
“The Council has purchased a central site from the Presbyterian Church, on the corner of Leslie and Clarence streets, and come to an agreement with the Government to take four of the houses from Rawhiti. The Government is contributing by selling them at a discounted price of $24,510 each and meeting the cost of transporting them to the site.”
Dr Smith and Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley today visited the site.
“The establishment of a temporary accommodation village is an important step in the region’s recovery, as it allows Hurunui residents to stay in the area and continue to be part of the community while they rebuild and repair their homes,” Mr Dalley says.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s temporary accommodation service will manage the register of interest to stay, eligibility checks and allocation of houses before handing over clients to the Council, which will manage the tenancies, repairs maintenance, disputes, rent.
Dr Smith had announced earlier this year the 20 Canterbury earthquake temporary accommodation houses at Rawhiti would be made available for farmers to purchase at residual value, so they could live and work on their land while their home was repaired or rebuilt.
“The greatest need for these homes was for the displaced farmers, who have opted to purchase 16 of them. It makes great sense to use the remaining four to support the Council with the new temporary accommodation village,” Dr Smith says.
He and Mr Dalley also visited the first of these units to be up and running as on-farm accommodation, at Mendip Hills Station in Parnassus.
“More of these homes will arrive on farms around the Hurunui, Kaikōura and Marlborough districts in the next few weeks,” Dr Smith says.
“The Government and the Council are working closely together to support the recovery from the devastating Kaikōura quake. This practical step around temporary accommodation is an important part of the recovery effort.”
The return of Kaiapoi Domain to the Waimakariri District Council marks the start of a new chapter for the area, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
Dr Smith attended a ceremony today with Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers to formally hand back the remediated Kaiapoi Domain site.
“The Government built three temporary accommodation villages on reserve land in Christchurch and Waimakariri following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010/11. These villages – Linwood Park, Rawhiti Domain and Kaiapoi Doman – had a total of 84 homes and were built at a cost of $15 million to house people who needed somewhere to stay while their home was repaired or rebuilt,” Dr Smith says.
“The Kaiapoi Domain village closed in April 2016 due to easing demand and the 22 houses were sold. They had housed 180 households, who stayed five months on average. The three villages collectively housed more than 815 households.
“The villages have been run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service (CETAS). CETAS has helped more than 6500 households find temporary accommodation, which is a significant level of support contributing to Canterbury’s residential recovery and regeneration.
“Over the past couple years, the need for temporary accommodation support has reduced, to the point that the three villages on reserve land are no longer needed. The return of Kaiapoi Domain to the Waimakariri District Council today means the reserve can be repurposed for new community use initiatives and general recreational enjoyment.”
Queenstown is well on its way to hitting the target laid out in the Queenstown-Lakes Housing Accord, with six months of the original accord still to run, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith and Queenstown-Lakes Mayor Jim Boult announced today.
“We are confident we will meet the ambitious target of 1750 new residential sections and homes in the three years to October 2017. The monitoring reports released today show 1634 consents have been issued to date and, with six months to go, the target is likely to be exceeded.
“Residential building activity has more than doubled since the Accord was signed in 2014, with the latest figures showing $512 million in investment in the year to March 2017 compared with $256 million in 2014. This growth is not confined to the residential sector, with total construction growing from $285m to $683m over the same period.”
The Queenstown-Lakes Housing Accord increases the supply of housing in the district by speeding up the consenting process for developments and freeing up new areas of land for housing. The Council is required to monitor the number of sections and buildings consented against targets agreed between the Minister and the Mayor.
“We know from the experience in Christchurch that freeing up additional land is the single most important step Government and councils can take towards increasing housing supply and affordability. We have made progress, with seven Special Housing Areas with capacity for 950 additional homes being approved in Queenstown. We need to do more given the strong tourism sector and ongoing population growth in the district,” Dr Smith said after meeting Mr Boult today.
“We are planning to extend the scope of the Accord to support improved housing supply across the wider Queenstown-Lakes District, including Wanaka, and are working on new targets for the next three years to support growth. Our discussions today also included how the Government can support the Council’s infrastructure and opportunities for using surplus Crown land to support growth in housing.”
Mr Boult says the demand for housing across the district is stronger than ever, and he is supportive of any measures that can help local families get into their own homes.
“The cost of housing is a serious issue in our district and something this Council is working hard to address, both through the Special Housing Accord and the Mayoral Housing Taskforce. An extension of this legislation will lead more affordable housing stock being available for those who need it and, as such, I will recommend that our Council supports the Government initiative.”
Building can start on a $300 million, 600-home development at Riccarton Racecourse after the Government approved the final step for the Christchurch Racecourse Reserve Trustees and Ngāi Tahu Property initiative, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
Yesterday Cabinet approved the Riccarton Racecourse Development Enabling Order 2017, which lifts the land’s reserve status and allows the development to start. The housing development has been facilitated by legislation passed by Parliament last June.
“The benefits for Canterbury of freeing up this significant block of land are an increase in the supply of housing and a financial boost for the racing industry,” Dr Smith says.
“The key to improving affordability is increasing supply, and this development will do that while helping first home buyers into a new, high-quality home.
“Tremendous goodwill and vision by both Ngāi Tahu Property and the Board of Trustees of the Riccarton Racecourse has got us to this point and I congratulate them both. Together they have worked towards the release of this restricted use land so close to existing community redevelopment.
“This development, alongside those at Awatea, and Colombo and Welles streets, is the final phase of the Government’s housing response to the Christchurch Earthquakes. These Government interventions since the earthquakes in the planning and supply side of housing now position the region as one of the most affordable in the country. It provides a model of how we can resolve issues in other centres and a competitive advantage for the Canterbury region in attracting new industry and people.”