Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today launched a new strategy and action plan to better equip New Zealanders, especially children and young people, with the knowledge, skills and motivation to tackle environmental issues.
Mātauranga Whakauka Taio – Environment Education for Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan sets out how government agencies will work together over the next 10 years to better support the delivery of environmental education.
“New Zealanders are increasingly aware of how important it is to preserve and protect our stunning natural environment. This strategy is about boosting that awareness through collaboration, cooperation and practical, hands-on experiences,” Ms Wagner says.
“Knowledge and understanding is the first step, but this is also about inspiring people to take action. We want our children and young people to grow up with the skills and motivation to tackle big environmental issues such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity protection and waste.
“The Government already has a number of ambitious targets in place, including Predator Free 2050 and making 90 per cent of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. This strategy will further contribute to the protection of our natural environment and the creation of a sustainable future,” Dr Smith says.
“National is proud of our heritage in producing the first Environmental Education Strategy, in 1998, but we also recognise that it needed to be strengthened and updated.
“The new strategy puts more focus on hands-on environmental education and links to the science curriculum. It also provides a more inclusive approach, reflecting growth in Taha Maori and will drive better co-ordination between the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Education and schools.
“The Government provides funding of $1.9 million per year for delivery of the Enviroschools and Te Aho Tu Roa programmes. This covers more than 1000 schools, kura and early childhood centres,” Dr Smith says.
For more information, visit: http://www.doc.govt.nz/eefs
The number of women working in construction in Canterbury has more than doubled since the quakes, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
This week’s Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Women in Construction shows the number of women working in both residential and non-residential construction in Canterbury has increased from 3400 in March 2010 to 7600 in March 2017 — a 124 per cent increase.
“That’s 4200 more women employed in skilled trades such as carpentry, plumbing and gas fitting,” Ms Wagner says.
“More and more women are embracing rebuild opportunities by entering and succeeding in this traditionally male-dominated industry. Women can bring a fresh perspective, strengthen customer relations and improve business performance.
“The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), which was responsible for repairing Christchurch’s quake-damaged infrastructure, proactively encouraged women into its workforce through the SCIRT Women in Construction working group.
“Between 2014 and 2015, the number of women in crew roles at SCIRT doubled from 6 to 12 per cent.
“Women are also increasingly represented in trades training at organisations such as the Ara Institute in Christchurch, where the number of women in trade courses rose from 118 in 2011 to more than 300 in 2016.
“With a skills shortage around the country, it’s great to see more women in construction — it makes good business sense and benefits Christchurch and New Zealand economically.”
Note: Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Women in Construction is attached.
Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced three appointments and two reappointments to the Nature Heritage Fund Committee.
Jan Riddell (Winton) and Dr Gerry McSweeney (South Westland) have been reappointed to the Committee for two years.
“As a Committee member since 2001, Ms Riddell brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to table, so it’s my pleasure to announce she has also been appointed Chairperson,” Ms Wagner says.
Susan Yerex (Turangi), Gina Solomon (Kaikoura) and Christopher Severne (Auckland) have been appointed to the Committee for three years. All terms begin this month.
“The skills, attributes and geographic spread of the new members will ensure the Committee maintains a balance of expertise,” Ms Wagner says.
“I’d like to thank outgoing Committee members Dr Les Molley, Mike Lee and former Chairperson Di Lucas, who served on the committee for eight, 15 and 27 years respectively.”
The Nature Heritage Fund helps protect indigenous ecosystems on private land through acquisitions, covenanting and management plans. To date, it has protected over 350,000 hectares of high-value conservation land, including forests, wetlands, tussock lands and coastal ecosystems.
The habitats of threatened native species such as the long-tailed bat, North Island Brown Kiwi, mistletoe and ornate skinks have been protected with support from the Nature Heritage Fund.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming a lease agreement that will open up almost 70 hectares of land for key regeneration projects in Waimakariri.
Sixty eight hectares of Crown-owned residential red zone land, in the Kaiapoi and Pines Beach regeneration areas, will be leased to the Waimakariri District Council by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). The land was once home to about 900 properties.
“This lease agreement paves the way for the Council to continue its work promoting community wellbeing and supporting economic growth, as set out in the Recovery Plan for the district,” Ms Wagner says.
The Recovery Plan contains proposals such as new parks and reserves, walking and cycling tracks and a dog park. There is also provision for heritage and mahinga kai activities, mixed business use areas, roads and infrastructure sites, as well as rural activities.
“The lease is a concrete step toward realising the Council and community’s vision for the area,” Ms Wagner says.
“The land will eventually be divested to the Council, however, the lease will enable the rebuilding of infrastructure to get underway.”
LINZ, which manages residential red zone properties on behalf of the Crown, is working on the divestment plan to transfer the land into Council ownership by mid-2018. The Council will now be responsible for carrying out maintenance of the leased land.
Disability Issues and Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says a hard-working and talented group has produced a high-level design for the transformed disability support system.
“The co-design group, which includes disabled people, worked intensively over several months to create and shape the framework for this new system,” Ms Wagner says.
“Disabled people are experts in their own lives. They’ve been the driving force behind this transformation and instrumental in its design. This is a great example of ‘nothing about us, without us’.”
The new system will include:An information hub with a number of ways to make contact and be contacted; Capability funding for disabled people and whānau to build their skills; A new funding model which reduces assessment and provides opportunities for investment, as well as increasing choice and control; Support to expand peer and whānau networks; An easy to use information collection tool which tracks how things are going for disabled people, whānau, providers and the system; A personal information profile managed by disabled people and whanau; A monitoring approach which reduces compliance and is proportionate to the amount of funding people receive; and National and local governance groups with disabled people and whānau representatives.
“Disabled people will experience a real and meaningful difference with the new system. There will be a lot less red tape, more choice about the support on offer, and a range of easy ways to find information through peer or whānau networks and online,” Ms Wagner says.
Work will now begin on the detailed design, which will roll out first in Mid-Central — Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Otaki and Tararua districts — on July 1, 2018.
“There will be more opportunities for disabled people and others from the disability sector to contribute to the detailed design, and we’re looking at how to do that,” Ms Wagner says.
For more information, visit: http://www.enablinggoodlives.co.nz/system-transformation/
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is today releasing a strategy to transform the way people who care for a disabled family member are supported.
Transforming Respite is designed to give disabled people and their family members greater choice, control and flexibility when accessing and using respite services.
"Thousands of New Zealanders look after disabled loved ones in their homes. We know this care can put extra pressure on families and, for some, just leaving home can be a major logistical exercise,” Ms Wagner says. “Respite services enable carers to take regular breaks, which is incredibly important for the health and wellbeing of the whole family.”
Development of the strategy included a user survey, engagement with providers and sector groups, release of a draft strategy for disability sector feedback, public workshops, meeting the families of children with complex disabilities, and youth engagement.
"We’ve received some really positive feedback from disabled people and their families about the changes, which include more flexible personal budgets with fewer restrictions, easier administration and payment methods, better access to information about the options available and support to find and use those options."
The Ministry of Health spends about $61 million on disability respite annually.
The respite strategy aligns with the vision and principles of Enabling Good Lives, the Disability Support System transformation, the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the New Zealand Health Strategy, and will achieve key objectives in the NZ Carers’ Strategy Action Plan for 2014-2018.
For a copy of the strategy, visit: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/transforming-respite-disability-support-services-respite-strategy-2017-2022
The work of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) to repair Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged infrastructure is the focus of the latest dashboard released by Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner.
The Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Horizontal Infrastructure focuses on the construction activities of SCIRT over more than five and a half years.
“SCIRT construction officially wrapped at the end of June and its physical assets — including underground pipe networks, roads, bridges and pump stations — have been returned to Christchurch City Council,” Ms Wagner says.
“This was an absolutely enormous programme, worth about $2.2 billion (funded by Government and Council), and made up of more than 740 individual projects.
“So much of what SCIRT achieved now sits below ground and most people will never see it. There’s still more work to be done, we still have bumpy roads, detours and dug-up footpaths, but this dashboard highlights the sheer scale of the SCIRT programme.
“As a Christchurch resident, I was particularly impressed with the level of community engagement and communication. More than 1.7 million copies of work notices were delivered to residents and businesses, 225 e-newsletters were produced, and more than 41,000 face-to-face meetings were held.
“I’d like to pay tribute to everyone involved in the SCIRT programme, particularly those on the ground, working to fix our horizontal infrastructure and manage relationships with residents.
“It’s important to note that the Council will continue its work to maintain, repair and improve the city’s roads.”
SCIRT was an alliance made up of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (formerly CERA); the NZ Transport Agency; the Christchurch City Council; and five major contractors responsible for the repairs — City Care, Downer, Fletcher, Fulton Hogan and McConnell Dowell.
SCIRT Executive General Manager Ian Campbell says more than $1.5 billion has been spent on the wastewater network alone.
“Key challenges included keeping the network operational while being repaired and minimising the considerable impacts on the community, and we thank everyone for their patience,” Mr Campbell says.
“We now have an infrastructure network that is stronger and better able to cope as a result of the modern materials, new technology and the latest construction.”
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming the release of a report summarising regeneration progress.
The Monitoring Greater Christchurch Regeneration June 2017 report collates and analyses data in six key areas — demographics, the economy, infrastructure, wellbeing, housing and tourism.
“I’ve made a commitment to keeping the community as up to date as possible by regularly and proactively releasing information,” Ms Wagner says.
“This report is part of that commitment and provides a clear and comprehensive overview of our regeneration to date.
“Monitoring our progress in this way ensures all critical issues are noted and addressed by the relevant agencies in a timely manner.
“It also lets us know if we’re heading in the right direction and helps us plan ahead or make any necessary changes.
“As a city and a region we’ve faced many challenges over the last six and half years, but much of the data shows we’re making progress and, slowly but surely, getting back to where we want to be.”
The data is collated from a range of sources, including organisations working on the regeneration; Statistics NZ; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; and the Ministry of Health/Canterbury District Health Board.
The full report is available at: https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/publications/monitoring-greater-christchurch-regeneration
A cross-party letter included in the Government offer of reinstatement for ChristChurch Cathedral shows significant support for a prompt decision, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The letter — signed by the leaders of National, United Future, the Maori Party, ACT, Labour and the Greens — is an in principle agreement to support legislation streamlining the consenting and approval process for reinstatement.
“The Government offer, presented to Bishop Victoria Matthews on Sunday, has been well received and a number of organisations have come out in support,” Ms Wagner says.
“I’d like to thank my parliamentary colleagues for taking the time to attend cross-party meetings and for their public support with the legislative process.
“I believe this letter carries a lot of weight and strengthens the Government offer.
“As well as being a place of worship, ChristChurch Cathedral is a significant category one heritage building, a community facility and a tourist attraction. We need an agreed solution on its future and we need it sooner rather than later.”
For more information on the Government offer, visit: http://www.ccwg.org.nz/
Note: the cross-party letter is attached.
A new video promoting the Healthy Ageing Strategy is all about maximising the health and wellbeing of older New Zealanders, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.
Ms Wagner released the video today to mark the start of the Strategy’s implementation process.
“I’m really pleased with national and international feedback on the Strategy since it launched in December. Implementation is now underway, and we’re already seeing progress,” Ms Wagner says.
The video captures a variety of people involved in implementing the Strategy, including medical professionals and the leader of a Māori trust.
“The Strategy brings policies, agencies, services and funding together in a new way to ensure older people have the opportunity to live a good life,” Ms Wagner says.
District Health Boards are implementing strength and balance programmes to prevent injuries from falls, and mobility programmes to improve functionality and resilience of people with musculoskeletal conditions.
A Palliative Care Action Plan has also been released to improve adult palliative care services and help ensure a respectful end of life.
“Healthy ageing is not just about health services though — it’s also about being connected. It’s about everybody in the wider community working together to create age-friendly environments and support older people,” Ms Wagner says.
“Older people and local government authorities are developing or implementing action plans for age-friendly communities. We want our older people to be respected and to maintain the best possible quality of life, for as long as possible.
“This strategy gives us all an agreed vision and common goals.”
The video and further details on the strategy can be found at: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/health-older-people/healthy-ageing-strategy-update/healthy-ageing-strategy-implementing-strategy