Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today congratulates Robert Martin on becoming the first person with a learning disability to sit on the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Robert will soon be heading to Geneva, Switzerland to serve a four year term on the Committee. He will be working as an independent expert to monitor countries and their implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Ms Wagner says.
“Robert, having grown up in an institution and overcome much adversity, will be a unique voice at the table. His personal experiences and passion will go a long way toward promoting positive change for disabled people.
“Even before arriving in Geneva, Robert’s having a positive impact. He’s helped broaden the UN’s thinking about ‘reasonable accommodations’.”
Reasonable accommodations support a disabled person to participate on an equal basis, and can include things like allowing more time to look over material or providing a support person.
“I’m thrilled to hear the UN has agreed to provide Robert the support he needs. Now, he can think about the bigger things, like how to make his role on the Committee really count,” Ms Wagner says.
“Ensuring reasonable accommodations are available at the UN will open the door for other disabled people to represent and be represented within the organisation. This is another move toward achieving a non-disabling society — one where disabled people can have the support they need to live a good life in their workplace, home and community.”
Later this year, the Committee is expected to begin its second review of New Zealand’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The meetings can be viewed online at: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/
First of all, I’d like to thank Mr Lawrey for the introduction and Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand for the opportunity to speak today.
I’m thrilled to be here for my first formal speaking engagement as the Associate Minister of Tourism. What an incredible time it is right now for tourism in New Zealand. I’m excited to get involved and be a champion for the sector.
Tourism in New Zealand
The tourism sector is a critical part of New Zealand’s economy. It’s our largest export earner, contributing $14.5 billion to New Zealand’s total exports and $12.9 billion to our total GDP in the year to March 2016.
Tourism also contributes significantly to employment, with 330,000 people employed in tourism-related jobs. Unlike many other industries, tourism jobs are spread across the regions, not concentrated within the major centres.
The outlook for tourism is extremely positive. Visitor arrivals to New Zealand are expected to grow 5.4 per cent a year, reaching 4.5 million in 2022, up from 3.1 million in 2015.
Total international spend is expected to reach $16 billion in 2022, up 65.5 per cent from 2015. And China is expected to become New Zealand’s largest tourism market by spend come 2018.
The tourism sector in New Zealand is well-positioned to capture the benefits from this increase in growth. These benefits can be shared more widely by promoting tourism in different parts of New Zealand and by growing tourism sector employment.
For example, I was pleased to see in the latest monthly regional spending estimates published by MBIE that Nelson showed the greatest growth of any region, with an increase of 14 per cent to $344 million in the year to January 2017.
In December 2015, the Government agreed to a Tourism Strategy with the overall vision of increasing the net economic contribution made by tourism at a national and regional level.
The Strategy identified three main challenges that need to be addressed.
They are:Attracting the right visitor mix Responding to visitor demand; and Ensuring all regions benefit.
Challenge 1: Attracting the right mix
The Government invests about $115 million a year in Tourism New Zealand to help promote tourism activities.
In order to attract the right mix of visitors that will give us the biggest return on our marketing investment, we need to strike a balance between investing in established markets, new high-growth markets, and emerging markets.
To help address the industry’s seasonal nature, Tourism New Zealand recently shifted its focus to marketing New Zealand as a great place to visit outside the peak summer season. It now invests its entire budget in marketing shoulder season travel.
India and Indonesia are prime markets for shoulder season travel — holidaymakers from India tend to visit during autumn, while the peak season for Indonesian visitors is winter.
These two emerging markets present a really opportunity for growth and could help us achieve our goal of “seasonal dispersal”.
Another way we’re attracting high-value visitors at different times is through the Government’s support of major events.
Since 2013, we’ve invested $46 million in 58 events, including the FIFA under 20 World Cup and Cricket World Cup. And with the upcoming British Lions Tour, the sector is set to benefit further.
Tourism New Zealand is also targeting markets with strong economic growth prospects, especially ones with expanding middle classes.
The Chinese market is positioned to be the biggest spender in the next couple of years — providing significant opportunities for tourism operators.
Last year, in order to help operators cater to the growing Chinese visitor market, the Government commissioned ‘Forward Insight and Strategy’ to develop and deliver practical information about the needs, preferences and interests of Chinese visitors, especially those travelling independently.
I’m pleased to report that at the Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in Darwin two weeks ago, New Zealand shared some of this information with our Australian colleagues.
The overwhelming response was that we’re ahead of Australia in this regard. We’ve kindly offered to share our resources with the Australians, and needless to say, they’ve accepted the offer!
I encourage operators to use the information available on the NZCN Tourism website, and to apply the findings to generate value not only for their customers but for their business as well.
Challenge 2: Responding to visitor demand
The tourism sector needs to continue providing the quality experiences our high-value visitors expect.
While growth in the sector creates economic benefits for the country, it also brings with it a set of challenges. For example, growing tourist numbers are putting pressure on infrastructure in smaller centres. In some cases, peak tourist numbers can be up to 10 times the local population.
Growing tourism also has social impacts and possible environmental risks.
If these issues are not addressed, we may see some impact on the visitor experience.
The Government has initiated a range of measures to address these pressures, including ‘Project Palace’ to accelerate new private sector investment in New Zealand’s hotel infrastructure.
The project shows an additional 26 hotels will be needed over the next 10 years to meet expected tourism demand in our major tourist centres.
In Budget 2016, the Regional Mid-Sized Tourist Facilities Grant Fund was established to help alleviate some of the more immediate pressures on infrastructure.
The first round of funding attracted a great response and the fund was oversubscribed. The Government has committed further funding and a second round is likely to be announced very shortly.
In addition to infrastructure, the tourism sector also requires great people. A skilled and committed workforce is at the heart of a great visitor experience, and with the right staff, businesses can flourish and grow.
Getting more New Zealanders into tourism and hospitality jobs is something I’m very passionate about. A job in the hospitality industry can be a great training ground for young people, with opportunities to progress within the industry or by using those skills in the wider tourism sector.
Jobs in tourism can also be fantastic for older people — we see that already with lots of our tourism operators starting businesses later in life — and loving the experience! It’s really important that we as New Zealanders share our stories with visitors and see tourism as a great career.
Ensuring the availability of skilled people is a priority for the Government.
We’re working in close partnership with Hospitality New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa to commission more detailed research into the movement of people in and out of the tourism industry, with particular focus on education and training.
We want to understand the types of qualifications people are attaining before they enter the industry, and the usefulness of those qualifications while they’re working.
This research will provide some key insights into these issues and inform future work on where Government and the tourism industry should focus efforts to attract and retain great staff.
Challenge 3: Ensuring all regions benefit
As I mentioned, the third key challenge is how to make sure all regions throughout New Zealand are benefiting from increased visitor numbers.
We want all regions to realise their tourism potential and reap the benefits for local businesses and communities.
The Government recently introduced a new ‘Regional Stream’ to the Tourism Growth Partnership, which prioritises funding for initiatives outside the main centres.
In the Marlborough region, the TGP has supported the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre by providing $1.5 million for the expansion of its facilities and launch of a new exhibition featuring aircrafts and locations from World War Two.
The Kaikoura earthquake caused severe damage, especially for the upper South Island. The closure of State Highway 1 and the damage to infrastructure is undoubtedly having an impact on the tourism sector.
The Government is committed to assisting the people of Kaikoura and the top of the South Island through the difficult recovery process.
Last week, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett announced an $870,000 support package to help promote tourism in Kaikoura and other upper South Island districts impacted by the quake.
Of the $870,000 funding, $150,000 will be dedicated to helping reduce the impact of the State Highway’s closure by promoting the Marlborough region as a destination for domestic visitors.
$70,000 will be made available to promote common Top of the South touring routes — which have changed since the quake — to the international travel trade.
The Government will continue to support this region and keep a close eye on its recovery.
The tourism sector is heading for continued growth and is well positioned to reap the rewards.
While the success of the sector has raised some challenges, the Government will continue working with the tourism industry to address these concerns.
Attracting the visitors we want, making sure the sector has what it needs to deliver a great visitor experience, and enabling all regions to benefit will mean the sector is able to make an even bigger contribution in the future — benefiting all New Zealanders.
Thank you for having me here today and I wish you the best for the rest of the conference.
A new plan to improve outcomes for disabled Pasifika people is being welcomed by Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner.
Faiva Ora, which means Work for Life, is a five-year improvement plan developed by the Ministry of Health.
“Pasifika people are not accessing disability support services as much as expected. Faiva Ora considers why that is and what can be done about it,” Ms Wagner says.
“Since 2010, we’ve made significant progress on issues such as the delivery of advice, providing information in Pasifika languages, and Pasifika responsiveness training and guidelines for disability service providers.
“Faiva Ora 2016-2021 builds on feedback from disabled Pasifika people and their families, research done in 2015, and past experience to help further improve the quality and uptake of services.
“Faiva Ora encourages all interested parties to work together to solve the challenges experienced by Pasifika disabled people and their families.”
Last week, Ms Wagner announced a three month co-design process for the nationwide transformation of the disability support system.
“This change, based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles, is about ensuring all disabled people and their families have greater control over their lives as well as the support they receive from government.”
For more information on Faiva Ora, visit: https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/faiva-ora-2016-2021-national-pasifika-disability-plan
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says it is encouraging to see such a high level of interest in the proposed Healthy Ageing Strategy.
“It’s incredibly heartening to know so many people have taken the time to engage in the Healthy Ageing Strategy consultation process — it gives us a great chance of delivering what New Zealanders want,” Ms Wagner says.
About 2000 people took part in strategy discussions and workshops and a summary of more than 200 submissions was recently released on the Ministry of Health website.
“The high level of public and sector engagement led to positive changes in the strategy’s direction. For example, the name was changed to better reflect what people were telling us — that this is about maximising health and wellbeing through New Zealanders’ older years,” Ms Wagner says.
“It recognises that we’re ageing at different times and in different ways, and our needs are not the same. Healthy ageing is a life-long process.”
Ms Wagner says there was strong support for the strategy’s goals and plans to achieve them.
“I look forward to seeing how the health and social sectors work to implement the strategy and improve health and social outcomes for our older people.”
The Healthy Ageing Strategy is expected to be finalised later this year.
For more information, visit:http://www.health.govt.nz
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner is today congratulating border agencies on the five-millionth transaction through a key trade system.
The Trade Single Window, developed by Customs and the Ministry for Primary Industries as part of the $104 million Joint Border Management System, was launched in 2013 to streamline the clearance of goods and craft.
“The simplicity of submitting border clearance information in one place has been a real boon for importers and exporters — leading to time savings, elimination of data duplication, a reduction in transaction costs and improved response times,” Ms Wagner says.
“Internationally, we’ve been at the forefront of adopting the single window concept and it’s pleasing to see how well the system is benefiting New Zealand.
“Traders will benefit further once the final piece of the system goes live in a matter of weeks.”
Four new lodgement types will be added to the Trade Single Window, with functionality also enhanced across the system.
Associate Health and Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today announced a three month co-design process with the disability sector to begin a nationwide transformation of the disability support system.
“The current system does not work well for all disabled people. What we are working toward is a new system, based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision and principles, including individualised funding,” Ms Wagner says.
The transformation will build on lessons learnt from EGL demonstrations in Waikato and Christchurch, as well as evidence from here and overseas.
“Input from the disability sector will be vital throughout the transformation process, particularly during the design phase. This change is about ensuring disabled people and their families have greater control over their lives as well as the support they receive from government.”
The new system will include:Access to independent facilitation to assist people to be aspirational and feel connected to their community A strengths-based assessment process A personal budget for disability support (made up of funding from multiple government agencies) Flexibility and choice about how to use the personal budget, and a range of options to assist its management Capacity building opportunities for disabled people and their families Referrals to other agencies for additional services including learning and income support.
“The new system will incorporate a social investment approach to improve outcomes for individuals and achieve savings over the long term. Additional funding has been allocated to run the co-design process, establish a change leadership team and collect baseline data,” Ms Wagner says.
The transformation will initially focus on those receiving support from Disability Support Services in the Mid-Central region.
The Waikato demonstration will continue, as will the arrangements put place in Christchurch when that demonstration finished.
“Rolling out this new way of working will require a significant culture change in all parts of the disability support system, including Needs Assessment Coordination Services, providers and government agencies,” Ms Wagner says.
“To date, the disability support system has been more about the system than disabled people. The EGL approach makes it about the person, their strengths and the kind of life they want to live.”
Cabinet is expected to consider the system design in mid-2017.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming the findings of an independent review into a world-leading assessment tool to enhance the quality of care in residential aged care facilities.
The interRAI computer-based clinical assessment tool enables registered nurses to create tailor-made care plans for residents. It became mandatory in New Zealand aged care facilities in July 2015.
“The review, which looks at the rollout over five years, shows the tool has led to more consistent clinical and care planning assessments, helping to raise the quality of care for older people,” Ms Wagner says.
The review also shows the rollout exceeded its target of training 2370 registered nurses in more than 600 facilities, and needs assessment and service coordination managers indicated it has improved their relationship with facilities.
“Like any rollout on this scale, there will always be teething issues, but this review identifies challenges and makes recommendations to improve sustainability and efficiency,” Ms Wagner says.
“It’s important that InterRAI collaborates with the aged care sector to ensure assessments are efficiently integrated into care planning processes. To achieve this, more training is being provided for managers and registered nurses. InterRAI will also work with facilities to embed the tool into their systems.
“I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of staff throughout the sector during this rollout and encourage them to continue providing feedback to further improve their experience, and the quality of care in residential aged care facilities.”
The independent review undertaken by Evaluation Consult and can be found at: http://www.interrai.co.nz/news/
The restoration of earthquake-damaged Victoria Square is now underway, Associate Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The Canterbury earthquakes left the square in poor condition, with significant damage to the ground, river walls and paved surfaces, creating trip hazards and leading to surface flooding in the rain.
More than 150,000 new pavers will be laid in the square and many of the old ones will be reused in The Commons on the corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.
“Keeping the existing layout and using high-quality materials and lighting will ensure Victoria Square complements the wider precinct while retaining its iconic look and feel,” Ms Wagner says.
“The restoration plan also retains existing features such as the Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues as well as the floral clock. The illuminated Bowker Fountain, which has not been operational since well before the quakes, will be restored.
“The popular site’s significance to Ngai Tahu will be recognised through a new artwork — Mana Motuhake.
Ms Wagner says sections of Colombo and Armagh streets bordering Victoria Square will also be upgraded as part of An Accessible City to include slow speed zones and shared pedestrian cycle paths.
The restoration is expected to be completed by March 2018.
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner is today congratulating Customs on a record number of drug seizures in 2016.
“Customs made 4165 seizures last year, including over 413 kilograms of methamphetamine and 1.1 tonne of its precursors — mainly ephedrine that could have yielded up to 809kg of meth,” Ms Wagner says.
“Smugglers have all sorts of elaborate and creative ways of attempting to smuggle drugs into New Zealand. Whether it’s on passengers, in cargo or through the mail, Customs is committed to keeping these harmful substances off our streets.”
Customs received $2.78 million under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act last October to continue its clamp down on illegal activity.
“This funding will help further boost Customs’ ability to target and seize drugs both here and overseas,” Ms Wagner says.
“More than $730,000 will be used to disrupt the supply of meth and its precursors into New Zealand through collaboration and intelligence operations with other border agencies around the world.
“Another $568,000 will improve Customs’ drug examination and exhibiting facilities at key locations for higher quality evidence and intelligence recording, as well as improved health and safety for officers.”
Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner announced applications will open tomorrow for further funding to maintain and enhance Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
This is the sixth round of funding through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, part of the Government’s $8 million investment over four years.
“The Great Rides are a significant asset, showcasing the best of New Zealand’s stunning and diverse landscapes. This funding ensures the trails are maintained to their current world-class standards, so that riders continue to have a safe and enjoyable experience,” Ms Wagner says.
“The trails draw both domestic and international visitors to our regions and are a key part of the Government’s tourism strategy, helping attract high-value visitors and spread the benefits of tourism across the country.
“An evaluation last year carried out by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment showed that over a million people are using the Great Rides annually, and in 2015 the trails generated an estimated $37.4 million for local communities from the Far North to Southland.”
“To date, $4.2 million has been approved from the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund for 46 projects across 19 Great Rides. Successful projects include surface enhancements, safety barriers, an underpass installation, track re-routing and storm damage repairs,” Ms Wagner says.
Budget 2016 included additional funding of $25 million over four years for the extension and enhancement of the trails, bringing the total investment in the New Zealand Cycle Trail since its inception in 2009 to $75 million.
Applications are open to Great Rides governance organisations and close on 31 March 2017. For more information, visit: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/nga-haerenga-new-zealand-cycle-trail