The passage of the Point England Development Enabling Bill through Parliament this evening will benefit Auckland with additional housing, help resolve Ngāti Paoa’s Treaty claim and improve the local environment and recreation facilities, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The current Point England Reserve is not good use of public land, with 18 hectares fenced off for over 30 years for grazing cows, the Okura Creek being one of the most polluted in Auckland and old, rundown recreational facilities. The Bill requires the cows to be evicted, uses 12ha for housing, 2ha for a Ngāti Paoa marae and increases the recreational and amenity space by 4ha. All of the Crown proceeds from the housing development are to be invested in the local community, with enhanced recreational facilities, improved playing fields and for cleaning up the Okura Creek.
“The 300-home development on 12ha of the land is a significant contribution to Auckland’s housing needs. The next step will be finalising a development agreement with Ngāti Paoa that will require a minimum 20 per cent social housing and 20 per cent affordable housing. These new homes are particularly important because of their close proximity to the city and the role they can play in accelerating the redevelopment of thousands of new houses in the adjacent Tāmaki Redevelopment Project.
“I commend Ngāti Paoa in initiating this project in the negotiations of their Treaty settlement. This is ancestral land that had one of the largest Māori settlements anywhere in New Zealand in the early 19th century. It is quite appropriate that 2ha be provided for a marae on this iconic, central city, coastal site.
“The Government is keen to engage with the community, Auckland Council and Ngāti Paoa on the detailed plans for enhancing the recreational facilities, amenity and environment of the remaining reserve. The Bill specifically requires the current 8.4ha of playing fields is retained and the intention is that they be enhanced, with proper drainage and lighting. We also want to ensure areas are protected for coastal birds like the New Zealand dotterel.
“The primary solution to Auckland’s housing challenges is building more homes. We have made great progress in lifting the house build rate from 4000 a year to 10,000 a year. Practical initiatives like this partnership with Ngāti Paoa at Pt England will ensure we maintain this momentum.”
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is disappointed that a community group in Nelson, the Brook Valley Community Group, is legally challenging national regulations for pest control.
“Pests like rats, stoats and possums kill 25 million native birds a year and effective control is essential if we are to ensure the survival of iconic species like kiwi and kaka. The national pest control regulations for the use of 1080 and brodifacoum were introduced this year on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to ensure consistent and safe use of the poisons. The regulations provide strong safeguards to ensure the operations are done professionally and that the environment and public health are properly protected.
“These national regulations were publicly advertised in April 2016 and received 220 submissions, with 163 in support. The submissions strongly supported the view that the regulation of pest control was best done nationally rather than every council having different rules. The regulations were supported by Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and Local Government New Zealand. I announced the decision to proceed with the new national regulations in February this year.
“It is disingenuous of the Brook Valley Community Group to object to detail of the regulations when their position is that they totally oppose the use of 1080 and brodifacoum. Their submissions on the regulations describes the use of poisons as ‘a monstrosity and scientific fraud’. Their submission and request that communities needed at least 12 months’ notice of the date any pest control operation is impractical and unreasonable. The fact the group advised the media prior to lodging court papers suggests this legal challenge is a stunt.
“I am particularly disappointed for the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust, who have worked so hard for over a decade with thousands of volunteers and millions in fundraising to create a safe haven for our native birds in Nelson. This legal challenge will just push up their costs and make their job more difficult.
“The Government will be vigorously opposing this legal challenge, including the application for an injunction on current planned pest control operations.”
Millions of waste tyres each year are to be used to manufacture cement as part of a wider Government plan to address the environmental problems of end of life tyres, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced at the Golden Bay Cement works in Whangarei today.
“New Zealand has a long-standing problem, with five million waste tyres generated each year. We have dozens of tyre stockpiles around the country posing a fire risk, leaching contaminants, providing a breeding ground for rodents and insects, and blotting the landscape. This initiative proposes controls on new stockpiles, establishes a nationwide collection and shredding operation and provides a large scale end use by installing technology to enable waste tyres to be used in cement manufacture.
“The proposed National Environmental Standard will prohibit stockpiles of waste tyres of over 200m3 - 2500 car tyres - without a council consent dealing with the environmental issues of leachate, fire risk, vermin and insects, visual amenity and a bond for future disposal. These new restrictions are needed to protect the environment, prevent ratepayers having to pick up the bill of dealing with stockpiles and to help channel waste tyres into more sustainable recycling and disposal options.
“The Government has provided a grant of $3.8 million for Waste Management New Zealand to set up a nationwide tyre collection network and tyre shredding facilities in Auckland and Christchurch involving capital investment of $6.4 million. This is needed because the major barrier to re-use of waste tyres is their bulk, making transport and disposal uneconomic. The shredding machinery will be imported this year, operational in Auckland by the end of 2017 and in Christchurch in 2018.
“Golden Bay Cement, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, is being provided with a grant of $13.6 million towards the $18.1 million cost of new equipment that will dispose of 3.1 million shredded tyres per year. This technology is globally one of the most common and economically viable solutions to waste tyres. The high temperature incineration minimises pollutants, the steel in the tyres contributes to the iron requirements of cement and the rubber provides a fuel substitute for coal. The major environmental gain from this initiative is a solution for millions of waste tyres but there is also a benefit in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Golden Bay Cement is New Zealand’s fifth largest emitter and the substitution of rubber biofuel for coal reduces emissions by 13,000 tonnes per year, or the equivalent of 6000 cars.
“We are also providing grants of $1.2 million to another seven smaller tyre waste projects. Eco Rubber Industries Ltd is being provided with a grant of $600,000 towards $2.4 million of machinery to produce rubber granules for rubber underlay, with a capacity for 600,000 tyres per year. Nufuels Ltd is being provided a $90,000 grant for a $135,000 pilot pyrolysis plant for 150,000 tyres per year. Other grants to Scion and Fulton Hogan cover feasibility studies into using recycled rubber for sound proof building products, roading and cycleway construction that could develop into future end uses for New Zealand’s waste tyres.
“These Government grants of $19 million will enable $28 million of investment into tyre waste solutions. Combined with the new regulations restricting stockpiling, these measures will go a huge way towards a sustainable solution to New Zealand’s end of life tyre problem.”
More information on these of funded projects can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund-funded-projects
A Northland Regional Council project to improve water quality at Otuihau/Whangarei Falls has received a $258,000 Community Environment Fund grant, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
“This grant will enable the Council to continue to improve the water quality at this popular tourist spot and swimming hole by erecting fencing, riverside planting and stock water reticulation on farms in the upper Hātea catchment, which feeds into the falls. The project will erect nearly 40km of fencing and plant 30,000 native plants in the margins between the river and fences and in public areas during the next three years,” Dr Smith says.
“The funding will also contribute to community awareness activities, such as open days and planting days. New signage at the falls reserve will help educate the community on the cultural and ecological values of the water and what people can do to help.
“The project has a total cost of $575,000, with the Council contributing $150,000 and farmers expected to contribute the remaining $167,000.
“This is the sort of practical initiative we are going to need all over New Zealand to meet the Government’s target of 90 per cent of rivers and lakes being swimmable by 2040. This ambitious target will require the upgrade of 1000km of waterways every year for 23 years. This project is not only a positive contributor to this target but is also a good community example of how it can be achieved.”
The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. It support projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. The fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects since 2010.
The Otuihau/Whangarei Falls project’s first community planting day is on Saturday 24 June at Springs Flat Road Commercial Area from 11am to 3pm.
New Zealand is less exposed to the risks of fire as a result of combustible claddings on high-rise buildings due to these products being restricted earlier this year, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The Government amended Building Code provisions in January this year to restrict the use of combustible cladding systems in buildings following fires in Melbourne and Dubai. I am advised that these systems are not prevalent in New Zealand. I have asked the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to contact councils and check whether any high-rise buildings have been constructed with these materials prior to the amendments earlier this year.
“New Zealand’s style of housing is shifting, with more people living in high-rise apartments that carry greater risks from fire hazards. Our building regulations need to keep pace with this change in living styles and ensure that New Zealand never experiences what occurred at the Grenfell Tower in London.
“The Government is further tightening the fire safety requirements for high-rise buildings with proposals put out for consultation in May. These proposals clarify the responsibilities between structural and fire engineers, tighten the verification methods for claddings and fire-fighting provisions such as water supply and location of fire hydrants in the building and improve the process for the development of alternative solutions.
“We will be watching the detailed inquiries into the London disaster to see whether there are any issues relevant to New Zealand’s building and fire regulations. We always need to be on the lookout for ways to improve public safety.”
See the amendments to the Building Code cladding provisions here: https://www.building.govt.nz/about-building-performance/news-and-updates/codewords/codewords-issue-77/changes-fire-safety-external-cladding/
An agreement between appellant parties for a development of up to 1500 homes at Auckland’s Three Kings, proposed by owners Fletcher Residential, has been welcomed by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.
“This agreement is great news for Auckland. It will provide up to 1500 homes close to the city on well-established transport links. It will transform the eyesore of a derelict quarry into a modern, integrated, inner-city community with a town centre, high-quality public spaces and playing fields. The $1.2 billion investment will provide hundreds of jobs and help maintain the momentum of Auckland’s largest-ever building boom.”
Dr Smith joined the proceedings over the Three Kings development in February last year out of concern that the urgent need for increased housing supply in the inner city was not being given sufficient weight and that resolution of the local issues was taking too long.
“A central part of Auckland’s housing solution is large scale inner city redevelopment projects like Fletcher Residential’s project for the Three Kings quarry. These projects offer the advantage over green fields developments on the city outskirts of putting less pressure on infrastructure.
“It is also possible to achieve better urban design than with many smaller one-off intensification projects adding multiple homes on to a single section. The Government is taking the lead with these large-scale urban development projects with Hobsonville, Tamaki and Northcote, but we also need private sector initiatives like Three Kings to meet future demand.
“Fletcher Residential has shown their capacity to build quality intensive housing on the adjacent 1.4 hectare Special Housing Area, where work is well advanced on 99 homes. I welcome their plans to advance this project, with earthworks next summer and the first homes being completed in 2019.
“This significant development was proposed more than five years ago and has been subject to over 100 consultation meetings and dozens of High Court, Environment Court and commissioner hearings. These types of delays are at the core of Auckland’s housing woes in that the building sector is not able to respond more quickly to changes in population. The Government is developing new urban development legislation to streamline these processes for projects of this type in the future.”
Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith and Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese today signed a three-year extension to the Nelson Housing Accord to help grow the city’s housing supply.
“The Accord signed today provides the basis for the Government and the Nelson City Council to continue working together to ensure sufficient sections and homes come on stream to match the region’s strong economic and population growth. The answer to Nelson’s housing issues is helping get more homes built,” Dr Smith says.
“We’ve increased our targets in the renewed Accord. Over the next three years – 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 – we’re aiming for 450 sections and 900 homes. We need 300 homes per year to be constructed to be meeting the projected population growth of 500 per year. It’s a 50 per cent increase over the current rate and will help address the extraordinary growth in the Nelson region. Average house prices in Nelson have increased 16 per cent in the past year and the most effective tool to constraining price rises is increasing supply.”
Ms Reese says the renewed Housing Accord will enable new Special Housing Areas (SHAs) to be created.
“Nelson City Council recently approved 13 additional SHAs for recommendation, doubling the number of SHAs in Nelson and potentially adding about 410 dwellings to Nelson city. The Council has also committed to appointing a new SHA co-ordinator to ensure these new targets are achieved,” she says.
The Housing Accord was first entered into in June 2015, setting a goal of 200 additional sections and 480 new homes over two years. In the first year of the Accord (2015-16) 125 new sections were issued with titles and 180 dwellings consented. The final figures for 2016-17 are not yet known with one month of data to come but are on track to be well up on 2015-16. This growth has been assisted by the 13 new SHAs that have been established in this year. Of these, 11 have started granting consents, with a projected yield of 470 dwellings.
“Nelson and Tasman are enjoying a record building boom, with $350 million of work consented in the past year. This renewed Accord with Nelson will ensure we keep up this pace of strong investment and growth,” Dr Smith concluded.
Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith has granted Hunter Downs Water Limited requiring authority status to develop and operate the Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme in South Canterbury.
“The irrigation scheme will take water from the Waitaki River to irrigate land between Waimate and Timaru. Hunter Downs Water has previously obtained water-take consent from Environment Canterbury and a development grant from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited. This scheme has the potential to irrigate 40,000 hectares, bringing benefits to 200 farmers. The economic benefits to the region are estimated at an increase in output of $830 million per year, and 1840 jobs in South Canterbury.
“A requiring authority has the ability to set aside land for infrastructure, such as road, rail, energy or water, and I am satisfied Hunter Downs Water meets the criteria to become one. This authority status is necessary to enable the scheme to be developed.
“This decision is an important milestone for the Hunter Downs Water project. It will give Hunter Downs Water Ltd the authority to apply to the Timaru and Waimate councils and Environment Canterbury for the necessary designations to implement the scheme.
“The approval of this requiring authority status to Hunter Downs Water Ltd reaffirms this Government’s commitment to supporting well-designed water augmentation schemes. We reject the simplistic view held by opposition parties that all water storage for irrigation is bad and will continue to support projects that meet high environmental standards,” Dr Smith concluded.
An application for a Water Conservation Order (WCO) for the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand has been accepted and referred to a special tribunal, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
“The Waikoropupū Springs are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand and contain the clearest water measured anywhere in the world. These iconic waters are well deserving of consideration for a WCO - the highest protection possible for a water body,” Dr Smith says.
WCOs are the equivalent of National Park status for a water body. There are 15 WCOs nationwide covering 13 rivers and two lakes. This is the first application advanced for a springs. A WCO overrides any other planning instrument and requires the identified features or characteristics to be protected in perpetuity.
“I commend the applicants, Ngāti Tama Ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Andrew Yuill, on their application. The Waikoropupū Springs are a widely treasured and unique water body that attracts 90,000 visitors each year. The uniquely purple-blue water has a clarity of 63m due to the confined Mt Arthur karst aquifer through which it passes. These springs are part of what gives Golden Bay, Nelson and New Zealand a strong environmental reputation, and we must ensure they are protected for future generations.”
The original application for a Water Conservation Order was received in December 2013 but had insufficient information. Dr Smith earlier this year encouraged the applicants to resubmit the application with additional information, and this was received in April. Dr Smith advised Cabinet of his decision to accept the revised application last Monday, and the applicants and community were advised today.
“There is controversy in the region over the potential impacts of water abstraction and nutrient run-off on these precious springs. The advantage of a WCO is that any decisions made in future by the Council or the Environment Court on any resource plans or consents would have to be within the bounds of the protective covenant provided by the WCO.
“My decision to accept this application and refer it to a special tribunal will give an opportunity for the public both locally and nationally to have a say on the future of these important springs. The issue is not just whether there is a WCO but in ensuring the detail provides an appropriate level of protection.
“I am also having discussions with the Tasman District Council on how we can ensure the processes for the WCO can be aligned with their proposed changes to their water management plans in the catchment,” Dr Smith concluded.
Public submissions on the WCO application will be called after the Minister has appointed the special tribunal. The tribunal hears submissions and makes a recommendation to the Minister for the Environment, which can be appealed to the Environment Court. The Minister makes the final decision on the WCO.
For more information about Water Conservation Orders visit: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/fresh-water/water-conservation-orders/about-water-conservation-orders
Geotechnical guidance developed as a result of the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission will ensure better building performance and response to earthquakes, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“MBIE has today released new geotechnical modules on methods of improving ground conditions and retaining wall design, and a new field guide to help geotechnical professionals assess and categorise land instability after an earthquake,” Dr Smith says.
“The geotechnical component of the rapid building assessment process following an event is important for the safety of the public. It provides engineers assessing the ground after a significant event with an agreed process to follow to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Dr Smith says the modules and field guide are the latest in a series of geotechnical tools in response to recommendations made by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.
“Understanding ground behaviour is critical to building performance. This is why MBIE has been working with the New Zealand Geotechnical Society to develop ongoing geotechnical engineering guidance.
“The Christchurch experience has made New Zealand a world leader in the geotechnical field, and we work closely with international experts to ensure we raise the bar for building performance here and internationally.
“This is the first time there has been comprehensive guidance for geotechnical practice in New Zealand. To support the release of the modules an education programme with online resources has been launched to assist geotechnical practitioners.”
More information about the new modules and field guide is available at: https://www.building.govt.nz/about-building-performance/news-and-updates/all-news-and-updates/bc-update-216