Tourism data shows greater Christchurch is back on the itinerary for many international visitors but Christchurch still has some work to do replenishing its accommodation stocks, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Tourism looks at international visitor arrivals to Christchurch Airport, guest nights and accommodation availability.
“With British and Irish Lions fans roaring into Christchurch this weekend, it’s a good time to take stock of the local tourism sector,” Ms Wagner says.
“Overall, while tourism is not back at pre-quake levels visitor numbers and accommodation capacity are increasing.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see annual international visitor numbers to Christchurch Airport (as at April this year) are over 500,000 for the first time since the quakes. Total tourism expenditure in the greater Christchurch area was estimated at $2.3 billion in the 12 months to April 2017.
“Capacity at motels and holiday parks is almost back to pre-quake levels, but there is still some work to do in the hotel sector, with bed numbers in March 2017 at 56 per cent of 2010 numbers.
“We know the central city was struck hard in the quakes and a lot of building stock, including hotels, was lost. It’s heartening to see a number of hotels have re-opened, two more are in the process of substantial refurbishment or repairs, and new hotels are in the pipeline, such as the Holiday Inn Express on Gloucester Street, scheduled to open next year.
“The city has come to life this weekend with Lions fans and locals attending the game at AMI Stadium or watching from bars and restaurants. Christchurch City Council also opened a temporary fan zone on Poplar Street in the Innovation Precinct for people to gather and catch the game on the big screen. Locals also embraced travelling Lions by offering beds and campervan parking spots through the unofficial ‘Adopt a Lions Fan’ Facebook page.
“This all shows, that despite greater Christchurch’s ongoing tourism challenges, the area is very much on the map and heading in the right direction. As a community, we can do our part by helping domestic and international visitors see Christchurch the way we do — not as a broken place, but a city of opportunity.”
Note: Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Tourism attached.
A highly successful Hawke’s Bay stream restoration project has taken out the top prize at the 2017 Green Ribbon Awards, announced tonight by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner.
“My congratulations to the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group for winning the 2017 Supreme Green Ribbon Award. This team effort over seven years involving iwi, councils and landowners has achieved significant improvements in water quality in the Whangawehi River and in protecting native plants and animals,” Dr Smith says.
“Specific achievements include 7.5km of fencing, 42 hectares of native planting involving 136,000 native trees, retirement of 5 hectares of native bush and carefully designed debris dams to retain silt beds. The benefits have been increased schools of whitebait, more abundant long fin eels and a 15 per cent increase in the recreational status of the water quality.
“This Supreme Award for a community-led waterway clean-up is important as it signals what is needed across thousands of rivers and streams across New Zealand. The Government’s target of 90 per cent swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040 is going to require 1000km of rivers be improved every year for the next 23. The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is a powerful model of what is possible.”
Ms Wagner says the Green Ribbon Awards – now in their 27th year - recognise exceptional initiatives by individuals, communities, organisations and businesses to protect and manage New Zealand’s environment.
“This year we received close to 150 nominations – a significant increase on the last two years. We’re seeing a growing sense of personal ownership to protect our environment and native species for generations to come.
“This is what the Awards are about – celebrating outstanding projects, building environmental awareness and inspiring all New Zealanders to get involved.”
The Green Ribbon Awards ceremony at Parliament tonight also included the presentation of one of the country’s oldest conservation awards, the Loder Cup, to botanist Peter de Lange.
“The Loder Cup was first awarded in 1929 and is an important accolade for work to protect our native plants. We were delighted to award the cup to Mr de Lange this year in recognition of his significant contribution to our indigenous flora,” Ms Wagner says.
Regulations standardising the packaging of tobacco products have been approved by Cabinet and released online, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner and Maori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox say.
“More than 5000 New Zealanders die of smoking-related illnesses each year — that’s about 14 people per day, or more than one every two hours,” Ms Wagner says.
“Standardised packaging, along with the existing suite of tobacco control measures and stop smoking services, is the logical next step toward our Smokefree 2025 goal.
“It also sends a clear message that the Government is serious about ending unnecessary smoking-related illness and death.”
Ms Fox says standardised packaging will reduce the appeal of tobacco products and smoking, particularly for children and young people.
“The bland packs will maximise the impact of health warnings and cut out any false impression that smoking is cool or glamorous,” Ms Fox says.
“This will make a real difference to our whanau and communities who witness the harm smoking causes every day.”
Under the regulations, all cigarettes and tobacco products will be in brown/green-coloured packaging, with enlarged health warnings and brand names in a standardised font. The new packs will roll out from 14 March 2018.
For more detail on the regulations, visit: http://www.health.govt.nz/standardised-packaging
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says anyone who has not yet visited the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial can now do so online with Google Street View.
“Seeing and touching the memorial’s marble wall etched with 185 names is an incredibly moving experience. I urge Cantabrians, New Zealanders and tourists to visit but for those unable to do so, the virtual experience is the next best thing,” Ms Wagner says.
Street View captures the memorial through detailed 360-degree photos and enables users to move along the length of the wall, zoom in or rotate around to see the river and park space on the north bank.
“The memorial is deeply significant for bereaved families and friends, the people of Christchurch and wider New Zealand. This virtual tour ensures the memorial is accessible to all, at anytime from anywhere,” Ms Wagner says.
“Responsibility for the management and maintenance of the memorial will soon be passed to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, reflecting its status as a site of national significance.”
The Google Maps imagery has been incorporated into the memorial’s dedicated website: http://www.canterburyearthquakememorial.co.nz/
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming data released today on the wellbeing of greater Christchurch residents.
The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Wellbeing, which uses data from Canterbury District Health Board’s Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, shows more than eight out of 10 greater Christchurch residents rate their quality of life as good or extremely good.
“The data shows 82 per cent of respondents rate their quality of life positively, unchanged from April 2016, but up from 74 per cent in September 2012. The proportion of people who say their quality of life has deteriorated also remains unchanged from April 2016, at 13 per cent,” Ms Wagner says.
“Stress is still a factor in greater Christchurch, with 72 per cent saying they’ve experienced some negative stress in the last 12 months, but significantly fewer are indicating distress and anxiety associated with aftershocks, or being in a damaged environment/surrounded by construction work (11 and 10 per cent respectively). In the early days after the quakes these figures were much higher.
“The data tells us that although there are definitely still earthquake-related stressors in greater Christchurch, the situation is improving over time. Fewer people are affected by ongoing insurance and rebuild issues, and more people are responding to tangible signs of progress.
“Everyone in greater Christchurch has been stretched over the last six years — we know that from our own experiences, and talking to friends and family. A survey like this provides a bigger, clearer picture of our overall experience, and I think many people will be reassured by the results.”
Note: The Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Wellbeing is attached.
The Canterbury Wellbeing Survey is available at: https://www.cph.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/CantyWellbeingSurveySept2016.pdf
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging New Zealanders to help their friends and family quit smoking this World Smokefree Day.
“More than 5000 New Zealanders die of smoking-related illnesses each year. Nearly 1500 of those people die between the ages of 35 and 69, losing on average 23 years of life,” Ms Wagner says.
“Support and encouragement from loved ones can make the world of difference because smoking not only harms the health of the smoker but also the people around them.
“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand — responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths — but second-hand smoke is also a serious and often underestimated health risk, especially for children.
“The Government is committed to making New Zealand smokefree by 2025 through a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level.”
Ms Wagner is marking World Smokefree Day by celebrating the first anniversary of the extension of Hutt City’s Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy.
“Hutt City Council is leading the way with one of the most comprehensive smokefree outdoor public places policies in New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says.
Its original smokefree policy — covering playgrounds and outdoor public swimming pool complexes — was extended to include parks, sports grounds, beaches, bus shelters, train stations, outdoor pavement dining areas, outdoor public areas around Council buildings and facilities, and all Council run and Council-funded events.
The Government also recently realigned tobacco control programmes to better reach smokers needing help to quit.
“Takiri Mai te Ata is one of the newly established services and the lead cessation provider in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. It’s getting real results for smokers, in particular Maori and Pacific women, using an integrated, holistic model of care,” Ms Wagner says.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel are today releasing the Terms of Reference for a pre-feasibility study into a new multi-use arena in Christchurch.
Earlier this month the Government announced it would fund a pre-feasibility study to consider the size, cost and viability of an arena, as well as opportunities for a wider ‘Arena Precinct’.
The Terms of Reference, which have been agreed by the Crown and Christchurch City Council, set out the purpose and key considerations of the study.
“The Terms of Reference include a number of important considerations, particularly around the operational and financial viability of the arena model,” Ms Wagner says.
“Any potential development will likely need to be a multi-use sports and entertainment venue to maximise opportunities for regional, national and international events.”
Mayor Dalziel also says cost will be an important consideration.
“In order to bring the funding for a multi-use arena forward in our budget, we would have to consult with the people of Christchurch,” Ms Dalziel says.
“This pre-feasibility study will enable us to explore ways of ensuring that it will not be a burden on ratepayers in the way it could have been if it was just a sporting stadium."
The Christchurch Stadium Trust, which owns the temporary AMI Stadium in Addington, will undertake the pre-feasibility report. It will report back to the Minister and Christchurch City Council by the end of July.
Note: More details on the Terms of Reference can be found in the attached fact sheet.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is today releasing the Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report.
“I firmly believe we need an agreed solution on the future of the cathedral, and we need it sooner rather than later,” Ms Wagner says.
“As the original negotiations around the cathedral have now ceased, the Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report can be released.
“This further demonstrates my commitment to the people of Christchurch to be open, transparent and a strong advocate for progress.
“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants something new and more modern, but really, everyone just needs a decision.
“Agreement is vital because any decision that ties everyone up in the courts for five to 10 years is no decision at all.”
The report recommends reinstatement of the cathedral at an estimated cost of $105 million, to be funded by philanthropic and public donations, the Church’s insurance proceeds and support from central and local Government.
“As a resident of Christchurch, I understand and share the community’s frustration over the lack of tangible progress. I am committed to breaking the current deadlock and doing so quickly, which means not re-litigating the past,” Ms Wagner says.
Ms Wagner today hosted a meeting with all Christchurch Members of Parliament to seek cross-party support for the Government’s commitment to brokering a solution.
“I will continue to work closely with the Anglican Church, the Christchurch City Council and other key stakeholders to discuss all possible solutions,” Ms Wagner says.
The Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report is available at: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/cwg-report
Budget 2017 will invest an extra $205.4 million over four years to maintain and improve disability support services, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner say.
“The Government is committed to providing disabled people with more support so they can have greater independence and live better lives in their communities,” Dr Coleman says.
“The sector will receive an extra $52.3 million in 2017/18, taking its total funding to $1.2 billion for the year.
“The four-year funding includes $178.2 million for community-based home support, personal care, caregiver support and residential care, as well as equipment services.
“Around 32,000 New Zealanders and their families benefit from these services each year.”
Ms Wagner says that $27.1 million over the next three years will be invested in expanding the successful Enabling Good Lives (EGL) programme, which has benefitted hundreds of disabled people and their families in Waikato and Christchurch.
“This funding will enable us to build on the Waikato and Christchurch demonstrations to create a new system that gives disabled people and their families greater control over their lives,” Ms Wagner says.
EGL is an innovative principles-based approach that empowers disabled people with self-directed planning. The transformation will initially focus on those receiving support from Disability Support Services in the Mid-Central region.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming a move to promote examples of good practice in dementia design.
The best examples of secure dementia unit design have been published on the Ministry of Health website.
“I’d like to congratulate the first two featured facilities — Millvale Lodge on the Kapiti Coast and Westella Homestead in Feilding — for not only providing a quality environment for their patients but also showing other residential aged care providers what’s possible,” Ms Wagner says.
“The environment in which people with dementia live is incredibly important — it can be a positive therapeutic intervention on its own.”
Last year, the Ministry of Health released a dementia design resource to support the development or major reconfiguration of secure dementia care units. The resource aims to enhance dementia patients’ quality of life through a number of design principles around lighting, colour and contrast, memory aids, gardens and the size and density of facilities.
“As we all know, New Zealand’s population is ageing, and sadly, that means rising levels of dementia. I hope other facilities follow the lead of Millvale and Westella to ensure dementia patients receive the best possible care,” Ms Wagner says.
The design examples are available at: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/health-older-people/exemplars-dementia-design