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
A significant kōhatu pounamu installation has been placed near the entrance to the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, Associate Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regenetation Nicky Wagner says.
“There is an established Māori tradition of placing pounamu at important entranceways, and the ritual of touching the stone connects visitors back to the land and all those who have been there before them,” Ms Wagner says.
“The 265-kilogram pounamu has been sourced from a remote South Westland valley and gifted by Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, a Ngāi Tahu sub-tribe. It’s a special contribution to an area that will mean a lot to Cantabrians and the families of those affected by the earthquakes.
“The pounamu has been mounted onto a plinth with a Carrara marble base. A water feature representing the mauri of wai (spiritual energy of water) will spray water across the pounamu. The water will also accentuate the rich green colour of the pounamu.
“Ōtākaro Limited, Christchurch City Council, Matapopore Charitable Trust (manawhenua representative), Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage have worked closely with families, those who were severely injured and first responders through the development of the design for the Memorial,” Ms Wagner says.
The Memorial will be dedicated on 22 February, in a joint event with the annual Civic commemorative ceremony to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed plans by the Kiwis for Kiwi Trust to boost the number of kiwi chicks captured in the wild for later release in to predator free habitats.
“Through Operation Nest Egg the Trust will use kiwi crèches or kōhanga kiwi sites to raise chicks to 1 kilogram in weight so they are big enough to fend for themselves in the wild,” Ms Barry says.
“Juveniles will be relocated every year into predator controlled areas that currently have few or no kiwi. We will stock the safe havens we have with kiwi.
“It links closely with the Department’s Kiwi Recovery Plan and forms part of the Government’s $11.2 million Budget 2015 investment in kiwi conservation. $3.5M of that fund will go to community and Maōri-led projects via Kiwis for kiwi.”
“In areas where we have been able to manage kiwi we have achieved a 2% population growth. The hard work of DOC and community organisations such as Kiwis for kiwi, is having a real impact. The challenge is in scaling up those efforts and that is what this new strategy aims to do.
“The community effort through Kiwis for kiwi of trapping predators and intensively managing kiwi eggs and chicks complements the DOC strategy for large-scale predator control to create safe habitat for kiwi.
Wild kiwi numbers currently sit just below 70,000.
“Kiwis for kiwi coordinates more than 100 community and Maōri led kiwi conservation projects and this community support is essential if we are to achieve our goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030,” Ms Barry says.
“The Kiwis for Kiwi Trust has been working with community and iwi groups for decades. They are our trusted partners in kiwi conservation.”
Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today attended the launch of the strategy on Motutapu Island on behalf of Minister Barry. “The strategy is bold; it’s ambitious, but it’s doable. It has identified a way to get us all closer to our goal far more quickly,” Minister Wagner says.
Four ambitious conservation projects in Canterbury have received $137,000 in support from the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner have announced.
The projects range from wilding conifer control to protecting and promoting indigenous vegetation, the Ministers say.
“Each of the groups is playing an important role in eliminating weeds and restoring biodiversity in the Canterbury region,” Ms Barry says.
“If we are going to achieve our Predator Free vision by 2050, supporting community conservation work of this kind is absolutely vital. We need the whole country to get behind the effort and it’s excellent to see so much going on at a local level.
Minister Wagner says the projects will be a great boost to Canterbury’s conservation efforts.
“It’s exciting to see local communities and organisations take on these bold projects to protect indigenous shrublands and control weeds. Projects like these and across the country will help to encourage other local groups to start conservation efforts,” Ms Wagner says.
The four projects are:
- Waimakariri Ecological Landscape and Restoration Alliance (WELRA) - $95,758 to remove seeding source conifers from around the Craigieburn control area and outlier seeding sources to the north and south of Flock Hill station.
- The Ohau Conservation Trust - $28,565 to remove cotoneaster within the project area to protect indigenous shrublands and promote indigenous regeneration.
- Mt Somers Walkway Society - $4,000 to keep the area free of these weeds, while the task is still achievable to retain the open Grass-lands.
- The Ohau Conservation Trust - $8,677 for the removal of Russell lupin and other woody weeds, such as crack willow along the lower western and southern lakeshore of Lake Ohau.
In total, the DOC Community Fund will distribute more than $4 million in 2016-17 to organisations ranging from small community groups working across a single site to national partnerships.
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says new regulations that take effect on 1 February 2017 will streamline the collection of excise and reduce costs for businesses.
“Alcohol manufacturers have told us the current remissions process creates unnecessary administration costs. After working closely with industry representatives, we are introducing practical improvements that will save alcohol manufacturers time and money,” Ms Wagner says.
“Improvements to the processes and requirements for offsite storage, remissions, and payment periods will reduce costs and barriers for businesses.
“Offsite storage is being extended to all alcohol manufacturers, which currently only happens with wine. This is great news, particularly for the growing craft beer industry, many of whom have small storage capacities.
“Most businesses have modern data collection systems that can be used in conjunction with Customs auditing so there is no longer a need for additional bureaucracy to ensure compliance.
“Some of the changes will improve assurance over the excise regime. Customs is also looking to introduce electronic excise entries from mid-2017,” Ms Wagner says.