National Party Spokesperson for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner has congratulated all those involved in the outstanding Special Olympics 2017 as the games draw to a close in Wellington today.
“The athletes involved have all shown great courage, strength and perseverance and are an inspiration to us all,” Ms Wagner says.
“These games are about competing to the best of your ability but also about fun, friendships and team spirit. They also provide a feeling of belonging to the athletes and volunteers, and ultimately help improve their quality of life.
“With one in four New Zealanders having some form of disability it is important that we support and encourage the families, friends, and communities that are affected by disabilities and ensure that they are included, visible and valued.
“We also celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. This day seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of integrating people with disabilities into every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
“We know that when barriers are removed and people with disabilities are able to participate fully in their communities then everyone benefits.
“The theme of this year’s day is ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all’. This theme is a reflection of positive but gradual changes for disabled New Zealanders in accessibility, employment and education and the need to do more.”
Christchurch organisations have made significant progress in advocating for those with disabilities by establishing the Accessibility Charter, National’s Disability Issues spokesperson Nicky Wagner says.
“It is important that public buildings and outdoor spaces are genuinely barrier free to ensure to ensure accessibility for our disabled community,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Accessibility Charter, established by the Barrier Free NZ Trust and the Earthquake Disability Leadership Group, gives organisations an opportunity to lead the implementation of best practice accessible design in their communities.
“The landmark document advocates for the universal design of public places and spaces. It goes beyond the minimum accessibility compliance expectations of the building code.
“Organisations in Christchurch have come together to support the charter. At the launch yesterday the Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch City Council, Development Christchurch Ltd, Otakaro Limited and Environment Canterbury all became signatories to the Charter.”
The opportunity to make Christchurch a fully inclusive and accessible city was highlighted in the City Council’s “Share an Idea” process and incorporated into the Canterbury Recovery Blueprint for the city.
All government and council rebuild work has aimed to ensure people of all ages and abilities can participate fully in the city’s activities.
“I congratulate the Barrier Free NZ Trust and the Earthquake Disability Leadership Group on their initiative and encourage other communities to take up the opportunity to create some of the world’s most accessible and liveable cities,” says Ms Wagner.
See the Accessibility Charter here.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming the start of preliminary work to reinstate ChristChurch Cathedral.
“It’s been less than a week since Synod voted in favour of the Government’s offer to support reinstatement, but we’re already making significant progress — Bishop Victoria Matthews and I have signed an agreement outlining the project’s commercial, financial and legal terms, and we have a name for the independent trust,” Ms Wagner says.
“The ChristChurch Cathedral Restoration Trust will be responsible for fundraising and managing the project, alongside the Church Property Trustees.
“Work is already underway to set up an establishment group to develop the joint venture structure and a project plan that reflects the recommendations of the ChristChurch Cathedral Working Group.
“This group will help determine who else should be involved, so I look forward to its recommendations.
“We’ve also begun looking into the legislation required to streamline consenting and approval processes.
“It’s important we get these structures and processes in place so we can begin work on site as quickly as possible.
“While I’m keen to maintain this momentum, the General Election is just around the corner, so there’s likely to be a settling in period, whatever the outcome.
“Even so, we’re fielding many queries about where to send donations and a bank account will be available from next week.”
Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner today announced a funding boost of more than $2 million for safety improvements on four Great Rides in Waikato, East Coast, Hawke’s Bay and West Coast.
The funding is part of a $25 million investment announced in Budget 2016 to further enhance and extend the Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
“The Great Rides are such a fantastic resource — not only are they a fun and healthy way for Kiwis to enjoy the outdoors, but they’re also a means of attracting high-value visitors to our regions,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Government is committed to continually improving the trails for everyone’s benefit. That’s why we’ve allocated this funding to seven safety projects across four trails.”
The trails are:Waikato River Trail: $553,000 to reroute a short section of trail for safety reasons Motu Trail: $59,500 for the installation of safety barriers Hawke’s Bay Trails: $597,000 for two safety enhancement projects Old Ghost Road: $847,500 for three safety enhancement projects.
In addition, $469,000 has been granted through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund to help the Alps 2 Ocean and the Clutha Gold trails repair damage caused by the heavy rainfall and flooding in late July.
For more information, visit: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/nga-haerenga-new-zealand-cycle-trail
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner have presented traps to two community groups at a Predator Free 2050 event in Christchurch today.
The Little River Trap Library and Lyttleton Primary School were given more than 50 traps and bait worth about $8000 for their work to control rats, possums and stoats on Banks Peninsula and in Lyttelton, funded through the DOC Predator Free Rangers Enabling Fund of $300,000.
“The Little River Trap Library was the first of its kind in New Zealand and lends traps for free to people wanting to protect wildlife on their properties on Banks Peninsula. This community venture has successfully seeded many small-scale predator control projects that will together help achieve the Predator Free Banks Peninsula vision,” Ms Barry says.
“Lyttelton Primary School has plans to start trapping in an area the school has been helping to restore on Lyttelton Port Company land, near Lyttelton township. The easy-to-use traps will enable the school children to take their conservation work to the next level.”
“These two projects are examples of outstanding community leadership, collaboration and tireless dedication to eradicating predators from their own backyards and create pockets of safe habitat for our wildlife to flourish.”
Ms Wagner says there are many great examples of people working together to protect native species through predator control around Christchurch, on Banks Peninsula and in Canterbury.
“Tui are beginning to prosper on the peninsula again and the white-flippered penguin colony in Flea Bay/Pohatu has doubled in size since this work began,” Ms Wagner says.
“Eventually I believe these predator-free areas will expand to cover the whole of Lyttelton, Banks Peninsular, wider Christchurch and beyond. I’m confident that by 2050 we’ll have a rat, stoat and possum-free New Zealand.”
“Forty traps and bait were donated to the Little River Trap Library, while 15 traps were given to Lyttelton Primary School, including five possum traps from Lyttelton Port Company,’ Ms Wagner says.
DOC will allocate a further $22,000 in Canterbury with four other predator control projects being considered.
DOC provides support and advice to advance predator-free initiatives and has nine Predator Free Rangers, including one based in Christchurch, to help coordinate community predator control activities.
Cantabrians are a step closer to reconnecting with Residential Red Zone (RRZ) land thanks to a joint effort between the Government and a local trust, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
Ms Wagner today officially handed over 90,000m2 on Brooker Avenue in Burwood to the Life in Vacant Spaces Trust (LiVS).
“Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and LiVS have been working together for some time to create a space within the red zone for community projects,” Ms Wagner says.
“This area was once home to thousands of people and while about 30 private property owners remain, the land is largely vacant and underutilised.
“This is an opportunity to breathe life back into the area while encouraging the community to think more about how we use it in the long-run.
“It also ties in with work by Regenerate Christchurch to develop a regeneration plan for the area.”
LiVS, which uses vacant land to create exciting and entrepreneurial transitional projects, has been granted a year-long licence to use the site.
Projects will likely focus on community recreation, health and wellbeing, nature and conservation, and art.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says she’s delighted that ChristChurch Cathedral will be reinstated.
The Anglican Synod today voted in favour of the Government’s offer to support reinstatement.
“This is the best possible outcome for Christchurch. We finally have an agreed decision to reinstate the heart of our city,” Ms Wagner says.
“For many years the Cathedral has sat broken and neglected, detracting from all the amazing work taking place in Christchurch.
“This decision gives the Church, the community, businesses and tourism bodies the certainty they’ve been looking for.”
The 225 member Synod considered three options:Option A — reinstatement as per the Government offer, supported by Christchurch City Council; Option B — constructing a new cathedral on the existing site; and Option C — gifting the Cathedral building to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand.
“Option A has always been our best shot at moving forward so I’m absolutely delighted it has Synod’s support,” Ms Wagner says.
“Now we can focus on appointing members to an independent trust and setting up a joint venture to manage the project.
“More details will be released in the coming weeks and months, but whether or not you’re interested in seeing ChristChurch Cathedral reinstated, this is a breakthrough for Christchurch and will have positive flow-on effects for the rest of the country.”
For more information on the Government offer and reinstatement, visit: http://www.ccwg.org.nz
Abel Tasman and Kahurangi national parks are now connected by a 169-hectare block of land purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund, Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner announced today.
The land, purchased for $275,000, has high ecological value and will be added to Abel Tasman National Park.
“The purchase of this land completes a chain of legally-protected natural areas linking Abel Tasman National Park with Kahurangi National Park. These protected areas form a scenic skyline of continuous native forest on the crest of the Pikikiruna Range and Takaka Hill,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Nature Heritage Fund is also purchasing an adjoining 43-hectare block from the same landowner. This block needs to be surveyed before being transferred to the Department of Conservation (DOC), but it too will be added to Abel Tasman National Park.
“These parcels of land contain diverse and rare ecosystems. Nearly half the land is covered in original forest and vegetation, and more than 200 native plant species grow there, including species only found locally or in the wider north-west Nelson area.
“Birdlife on the land includes the threatened bush falcon/kārearea, and populations of tūī, kererū and bellbird.”
The 169-hectare block borders Abel Tasman National Park to its north and its southern boundary adjoins Takaka Hill Scenic Reserve. It is being managed by DOC as scenic reserve while the process of adding it to Abel Tasman National Park is completed.
Since 1990 the Nature Heritage Fund has protected over 341,880 hectares of indigenous ecosystem through legal and physical protection.
The Crown will settle litigation with a group known as the Quake Outcasts, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The Quake Outcasts challenged the Government’s offer for their uninsured properties in Greater Christchurch's Residential Red Zones. The Court of Appeal released an interim decision in the group’s favour last month.
“As soon as we had the Court’s decision, we moved swiftly to provide certainty,” Ms Wagner says.
“In saying that, the decision to settle was not taken lightly. The Government carefully considered a range of factors, including fairness, financial responsibility, protecting the value of insurance and the litigants’ wellbeing.
“Cabinet has agreed to pay each of the 16 litigants 80 per cent of the pre-earthquake (2007/08) rateable value of uninsured property improvements, as well as a one-off payment to account for the Court’s decision and extra uncertainties and costs.”
Each of the former property owners has already been paid 100 per cent of the pre-earthquake value of their land.
“The Christchurch quakes were like nothing we’ve ever experienced. The Crown purchased over 7700 properties, based on their pre-earthquake value, to help people move on with their lives. All decisions were made in good faith, with the best available information at the time,” Ms Wagner says.
Any other decisions in response to the Court of Appeal’s judgment will be made by the Government after the general election.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming the updated Faiva Ora — National Pasifika Disability Plan.
“This update will help reduce stigma, enhance access and improve the quality of services for Pasifika disabled people,” Ms Wagner says.
“It sets out priority outcomes and actions that will contribute to achieving the plan’s vision — that Pasifika disabled people and their families can live in their homes and take part in their communities just as other New Zealanders do.”
Research into New Zealand’s disability population shows Pasifika disabled people are historically low users of disability support services. They often access services late and present with high support needs.
“Faiva Ora is designed to ensure Pasifika people are aware of, understand and know how to access disability services,” Ms Wagner says.
“It aims to improve the cultural responsiveness of disability support services used by Pasifika people, and ensure family members and carers are adequately supported.”
Implementation of the plan is supported by Pacific health provider Le Va.
“With Le Va’s involvement there was a 13 per cent increase in Pasifika people accessing and receiving Ministry of Health funded disability support services from September 2013 to September 2016.
“This updated plan will help ensure more Pasifika disabled people receive the support they need.”
For more information, visit: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/faiva-ora-2016-2021-national-pasifika-disability-plan