Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming the extension of the Residential Advisory Service (RAS).
The Government has approved $600,000 to extend the service until the end of December 2017.
“The Residential Advisory Service was set up in 2013 to help greater Christchurch residents navigate their earthquake insurance claims. It has since evolved from a free legal advice service to one that helps broker solutions with insurance companies,” Ms Wagner says.
“While the service has done an exceptional job of closing over 4300 difficult claims, there are still some residents stuck in insurance limbo.
“The extension of the service will mean those people will continue to be supported. Exit surveys show 76 per cent of RAS clients feel better informed about their situation, 72 per cent are more confident about their next steps, and 82 per cent would recommend the service to others,” Ms Wagner says.
RAS moves to being fully-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) this week.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is today reiterating her commitment to finding an agreed solution for the ChristChurch Cathedral by releasing an offer of reinstatement.
“The Cathedral sits at the very heart of Christchurch — it’s the city’s namesake, an icon, a place of worship, a community facility, a tourist attraction and a beloved heritage building,” Ms Wagner says.
“This offer builds on the Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report, released last month, which recommended reinstatement at an estimated cost of $104 million.
“This not about favouring reinstatement over restoration or a contemporary new-build. It’s about finding a way forward that doesn’t leave everyone tied up in court for five to 10 years.
“I’ve presented the offer to Bishop Victoria Matthews and she’s agreed to take it to the Synod in September.”
The offer includes:Crown cash contribution of $10 million; Crown-funded interest free suspensory loan of $15 million. Repayment of the loan will be suspended and forgiven if the loan conditions are fulfilled; Christchurch City Council grant of $10 million — subject to public consultation; Great Christchurch Buildings Trust pledge of $13.7 million; An independent Fundraising Trust; Legislation to streamline project consenting and approval processes; and A Joint Venture between the Church Property Trust and the Fundraising Trust to govern and manage the project.
“All up, with contributions from the Government, the Council, and the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, as well as the church’s insurance proceeds of $42 million, we have about $90 million — enough to complete the Cathedral and Ancillary Buildings,” Ms Wagner says.
“This offer gives the Bishop and the Synod a clear and detailed option for consideration, and provides some security and certainty, particularly around funding.
“The Government contribution is a significant amount of money, but we need to balance the property rights of the church with the historical value of the building and the need to break this deadlock.
“About half of Christchurch wants to see the Cathedral reinstated, the other half wants a modernised version or a contemporary new-build, but really, everyone just needs a decision. It’s time to move forward, and I think this is our best option.”
For more information, and to read the offer document, visit: http://www.ccwg.org.nz/
The Government is investing $528,000 in 12 new projects for the upkeep of the Great Rides of New Zealand Cycle Trail, Associate Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner announced today.
The investment comes from the sixth round of the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, which aims to ensure New Zealand’s premier rides are maintained to their current world-class standard.
“Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, is a key part of our tourism offering, attracting high-value visitors while boosting employment and development opportunities for regional economies,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Government, through the tourism strategy, is focused on attracting visitors who bring value to our communities. We need visitors who spend more, stay longer and explore regions around New Zealand, as well as the main tourist spots.
“With over a million people using the Great Rides annually — Kiwis and international visitors alike — it’s important they’re well-maintained and continue to offer a safe and enjoyable experience.”
The 12 projects to receive funding from the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund are:Queenstown Trails Trust: Queenstown Trails (Otago), $91,119 Waikato River Trails Trust: Waikato River Trail (Waikato), $84,758 Hauraki Rail Trail Trust: Hauraki Rail Trail (Waikato), $77,757 Bike Taupo: Great Lake Trail, storm repairs (Waikato), $63,500 Otago Central Rail Trail Trust: Otago Central Rail Trail (Otago), $44,500 Rotorua District Council and Rotorua Trails Trust: Te Ara Ahi (Bay of Plenty), $41,500 Mokihinui Lyell Backcountry Trust: Old Ghost Road (West Coast), $34,474 Bike Taupo: Great Lake Trail, W2K trail (Waikato), $28,693 Far North District Council: Twin Coast Cycle Trail (Northland), $18,431 Ruapehu District Council: Mountains to Sea Trail (Manawatū-Whanganui), $18,000 Westland District Council: West Coast Wilderness Trail (West Coast), $15,000 Motu Trails Charitable Trust: Motu Trails (East Coast), $10,000.
In February 2014, the Government announced $8 million over four years for the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund. A total of $4.8 million has been approved for 59 projects across 20 Great Rides.
An evaluation released last year estimated the Great Rides produced $37.4 million in economic benefits in 2015, through revenue from visitor spending.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel say lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes will play a vital role in future emergency management planning, and should be further shared and recorded.
“Disasters on the scale of the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes are rare so there have been many lessons for the Government, the Council, businesses, community groups and individuals,” Ms Wagner says.
“With that in mind, the Mayor and I have discussed rescheduling The Canterbury Earthquake Learn, Prepare, Act Symposium, originally planned for February 2017.
“We agree there should be a forum to discuss what we’ve learned and how it can inform all areas and levels of government, particularly emergency planning.”
Ms Wagner says a reflective symposium in February would have been poorly timed.
“The Government was, quite rightly, focussed on supporting Kaikoura and surrounding areas following the November quake. We were also concerned it was too soon to effectively reflect on the entire recovery, rebuild and regeneration process.
“A lot of work has already been done to share and record a variety of quake experiences, achievements and challenges. That information is collated on the EQ Recovery Learning website, managed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.”
Mayor Dalziel says while no decisions have been made, 2018 would be an appropriate time to hold an event.
“This event, in whatever form it may take, would build on current initiatives to better understand and learn from our experiences, as well as safeguard the city’s preparedness and recovery processes in the event of another disaster.
“It is my intention to host a series of localised workshops on specific issues to feed in to the symposium. This will enable us to see where there are gaps in our knowledge and whether additional research needs to be commissioned.
“We need to be open to learning from what we got right and also from what we got wrong, but in an environment which enables us to look back, not to blame but to understand.”
A Whole of Government report, which focuses on lessons from the overall government response to the Canterbury earthquakes, is due to be released before the end of July.
The completion of construction for the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) programme is a major rebuild milestone, the Government and Christchurch City Council say.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the five-and-a-half-year project to repair Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged horizontal infrastructure was of one of the largest and most complex engineering programmes ever carried out in New Zealand.
“More than 1.38 million square metres of roading has been repaired and replaced. That’s almost twice the size of South Hagley Park — the scale of this programme is phenomenal,” Mr Bridges says.
“Christchurch now has a reliable functioning network of roads, and the Government — through the NZ Transport Agency — will continue to support the city with ongoing repair, maintenance and improvements to the network, as well as transport system development.”
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says the completion of construction is a significant milestone in the regeneration process.
“The scale of the work required after the quakes of 2010 and 2011 was daunting. I’m delighted SCIRT is handing fully functioning networks back to the Council,” Ms Wagner says.
“Almost 80 per cent of the work involved the underground networks — fresh water, wastewater and stormwater — as well as pump stations. No doubt this work, at some point or another, frustrated almost every Christchurch resident, but the reward for our patience is quality infrastructure designed to endure.”
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the SCIRT model is a great example of local and central government collaboration.
“The SCIRT Alliance, funded by the Council and the Crown, gave the city the capacity to restore the three-waters and roading networks in a way that would not otherwise have been possible,” Ms Dalziel says
"With the handover of the networks, Christchurch City will have a greater knowledge of its underground assets than any other city in the country, which will enable an asset management system second to none. This is one of the real legacies of the earthquakes.
“There is still work to be done, especially with footpaths and roads. The organisation has set up the new 3 Waters Capital Programme Directorate to manage the city’s water, stormwater and wastewater systems into the future.”
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming Regenerate Christchurch’s Statement of Intent 2017-2021 and Statement of Performance Expectations 2017-18 tabled in Parliament today.
The Statement of Intent sets out the agency’s strategic intentions and work programme for the next four years.
“Regenerate Christchurch is focused on delivering the greatest economic, social, cultural and environmental return possible for Christchurch,” Ms Wagner says.
“This is a city full of opportunity. Regenerate is working to maximise those opportunities to create an attractive, sustainable and people-friendly urban environment.”
Regenerate Christchurch plans to complete a regeneration strategy for the central city this year as well as a draft Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River corridor. A regeneration strategy for Southshore is underway, while regeneration planning for other red zone areas will start in 2018-2019.
“As it enters its second year, I expect Regenerate to maintain momentum and further increase community confidence through active engagement with its partners and the public,” Ms Wagner says.
The documents can be found at: http://www.regeneratechristchurch.nz/news/
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging primary healthcare professionals to use recently published guidelines to help identify early signs of dementia.
The eLearning Dementia Education Resource for GPs and Practice Nurses is designed to build primary care confidence, competence and consistency in assessing, diagnosing and managing mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
“New Zealand’s population is ageing, and sadly, that means rising levels of dementia. Early detection is incredibly important — the sooner people get help and support, the better," Ms Wagner says.
The guidelines, published on the University of Auckland’s Goodfellow Unit website, were developed to support the District Health Boards’ Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Pathways.
“This is a great example of collaboration and cooperation across the health sector. This resource provides health professionals with helpful guidance at no cost,” Ms Wagner says.
Each of the 17 topics covered by the guidelines includes a short video presented by a geriatrician or psychiatrist of older people, with key points, printable resources and links.
“The Government is committed to improving dementia care in New Zealand through increased funding — including a boost of more than $100 million since 2011 — and the release of the New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care in 2013,” Ms Wagner says.
Note: The Goodfellow Unit is a medical education/professional development provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
For more information, visit: https://www.goodfellowunit.org/courses/dementia
A new set of questions is being included in national surveys to improve information about disabled people and their lives, Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner and Statistics Minister Scott Simpson say.
The questions, known as the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability, will be included in the New Zealand General Social Survey, carried out every two years, and annually in the June quarter of the Household Labour Force Survey.
“Data is critical for understanding the experiences of disabled people as well as informing policy development and service planning,” Ms Wagner says.
“These questions will provide important information about how well disabled people are faring across a range of wellbeing outcomes.”
Mr Simpson says disabled people have called for better information about their lives.
“Stats NZ constantly strives to produce accurate and timely information about our industries, our economy and, of course, our people. This set of questions, which is being used increasingly around the world, will provide a more complete picture, not only for disabled people but for all New Zealanders.”
Stats NZ expects to publish the results of the General Social Survey and Household Labour Force Survey in July and August respectively.
For more information, including the full list of questions, visit: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/health/disabilities/improving-disability-data.aspx
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner today opened the Mollett Street block of Christchurch’s South Frame, which includes new laneways, people-friendly public spaces and New Zealand’s first ‘Raining Poetry’ installation.
“Stencilled onto the laneway using an invisible spray, the poem only reveals itself when the area is wet,” Ms Wagner says.
A Promise, written by Burnside High School student Samantha Jory-Smart, references the traditional Maori proverb behind Matai Common — the name of the gathering space.
“With its five-metre-high green screens, plantings and seating, this area of the South Frame will become an inner city oasis,” Ms Wagner says.
Matai Common is connected to St Asaph and Tuam Streets by the new Te Puhoe and Sugarloaf lanes.
“When completed the South Frame will be an exciting and dynamic area spanning seven city blocks — its pavements and laneways bustling with markets, events, entertainment and dining,” Ms Wagner says.
A prominent feature of the South Frame is the Greenway — an east to west pedestrian and cycling corridor.
“But don’t bike too fast or you’ll miss intricate features that make this space uniquely Christchurch, like the illuminated pounamu inserts in the paving,” Ms Wagner says.
LINZ continues to work with landowners to acquire a small amount of land needed to complete the South Frame. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.
Construction data in greater Christchurch indicates building activity is still going strong, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Construction Activity focuses on residential and non-residential building activity since the earthquakes and the Canterbury Public Sector Rebuild programme.
The data shows the value of non-residential consents issued in the March 2017 quarter was $251 million, compared with $180 million in the same quarter in 2016. The value of residential consents was similar — about $400 million — to this time last year.
The value of building activity in Canterbury in the March 2017 quarter was in excess of $1 billion.
“Within this is the Canterbury Public Sector Rebuild programme, which is almost halfway through. This is a stunning achievement given the magnitude of the programme,” Ms Wagner says.
“Overall, the level of construction activity isn’t quite what it was two years ago when earthquake-related building consents were at their peak, but the numbers are still steady. Continued development in the central city and wider Christchurch area means economic growth and, importantly, jobs.”
Employment in Canterbury’s construction sector was 12.8 per cent in March 2017, compared with 9.6 per cent nationally. Since the March 2010 quarter, the sector has increased by 88.3 per cent — or 20,400 employees.
Note: Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Construction Activity attached.