Megan Woods appears to have contradicted her Prime Minister in walking back her promise to Christchurch of $300 million being readily accessible for the city’s rebuild, National’s Spokesperson for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Nicky Wagner says.
“Before the election Jacinda Ardern committed that ‘Labour would be putting $300 million on the table, readily accessible for projects’ but in Parliament today the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration said that the funding was not readily accessible, but may be included in the Budget,” Mrs Wagner says.
“A Budget bid does not mean the funding is guaranteed as we were promised.
“I asked Megan Woods whether she could confirm the funding so that it can be included in the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan, which is currently being drafted. This is the exact time that the Council needs certainty of funding so they can make informed choices about where to invest.
“If the Government is serious about the fund they should come out and guarantee it so that the Council can plan for it now, otherwise they risk delays with its roll out in the months or years ahead.
“Megan Woods has been very vocal about Labour’s commitments to providing certainty and transparency for Christchurch, and Christchurch residents voted for Labour based on those promises. Now Ms Woods is the Minister responsible for the regeneration of our city, she has to deliver them,” Mrs Wagner says.
It is time for the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods to stop deliberate holdups and political engineering and just get the Metro Sports Facility underway, National’s spokesperson for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
“Media reports that official information being sent to the Minister showing her politically-motivated search for cost cutting measures may take the whole thing back to the drawing board are deeply troubling.
“Every day the clock and the dollars are ticking over on the Metro Sports Facility project. The delay is now the Minister’s, and I urge her to act now,” Ms Wagner says.
“Christchurch residents have put too much time and energy into this project for the Minister to dither. A lot of time has already been spent identifying community needs, ensuring that the project fulfilled a wide range of needs, and designing the facility for construction.
“The building, if it follows the current design, will be fit-for-purpose and it is expected to be one of the best sporting complexes in the Southern Hemisphere.
“However, I am concerned that ‘cost saving measures’ that are reportedly being considered by the Government will not only downsize this project but also trigger substantial delays.
“It is appalling that this important project may fall victim to Labour’s over-promising in other areas. If money is stripped away from the project it will have huge implications on the facility.
“As is often the case with such big projects, potential risks were identified in the middle of 2017 but a peer reviewed solution was requested and delivered to the Minster. Instead of following this advice, the Minister ordered yet another report that confirmed the previous advice that this is the right option.
“The only reason the next phase in August 2017 wasn’t signed off was because it was within the election period, and if authorised, the project would be proceeding by now.
“This facility will boost our community health, continue the revitalisation of the central city and provide our high-performance athletes and sports clubs the facilities they need.
“The people of Christchurch, our children and families, along with our sports people are all waiting to see progress on this project and there is no reason for the continued delay,” Mrs Wagner says.
Census day has dawned with a Minister missing in action as the raft of unresolved issues pile up, National’s former Minister of Statistics Scott Simpson says.
“James Shaw is new to Government and he needs to get his priorities right,” Mr Simpson says.
“The Census is the most important public interaction that Statistics NZ carry out.
“It’s unbelievable that in light of the multitude of problems being reported by those grappling with the country’s first online census, he has chosen to be swanning around the Pacific on a junket while his officials at Statistics NZ are left to carry the can.
“There are real concerns around New Zealanders not receiving their code letters, some are struggling with online access and many are reporting a lack of response to queries and calls for help.
“It’s obvious that officials are really struggling to land a credible result for the 2018 Census and, so far, the most interest their Minister has shown was to berate them for not asking more questions about gender and the LGBTQI community.
“It is deeply ironic that the Minister, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are all overseas this evening, and won’t be counted in this important snapshot of our society,” Mr Simpson says.
National’s disabilities spokesperson Nicky Wagner says reports that Kiwis with disabilities are especially struggling to complete this year’s Census online are extremely disappointing.
“Not only does it exclude them from the opportunity to take part, but it’s likely the results will be skewed because so many people from this sector of society won’t be represented.
“It would be good to see the Minister step up and take a lead on this issue – even at the 11th hour – instead of focussing on his other interests,” Mrs Wagner says.
National Party List MP based on Christchurch Nicky Wagner has welcomed the passing of the Christ Church Cathedral Bill which will allow for the rebuild of Christ Church Cathedral.
“This Bill is an important step in the reinstatement of this Canterbury icon and part of the National-led Government’s package agreed in September. Christchurch can now move forward with the restoration of the building.
“It has taken a lot of work to get to this moment and this milestone in the city’s rebuild could not have been reached without a huge amount of work from a number of parties including the Christchurch City Council, the Anglican Synod, Church Property Trust, the Greater Christchurch Buildings Trust, and other community and heritage groups.
“It has been a long and difficult process from the original Miriam Dean report and the Cathedral Working Group report, through to the Government reinstatement offer and commitment from Christchurch City Council, and finally to this legislation.
“The Christchurch City Council has also confirmed its $10 million donation which is important to support the rebuild.
“I would also like to thank everyone who supported this process. Now that we are on track to reinstate the Cathedral it will be something that every person in Christchurch can be proud of.”
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.