Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner today released the first data snapshot in a series designed to more accurately and transparently track the regeneration process.
The first Greater Christchurch Dashboard features average house price and weekly rental cost data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“The data shows the average weekly rental cost dropped from $400 in April 2016 to $386 in April 2017. At its peak, the average weekly rental cost rose to $437 post-earthquake,” Ms Wagner says.
“Last week, I made a commitment to better communicate with the people of the greater Christchurch about how we’re really tracking. The 2010 and 2011 quakes altered our path forever, so we’re not always going to align with what’s happening in other regions, or even nationally.
“This week the focus is housing and the data indicates we’re reaching an equilibrium in terms of supply and demand.
“We’ve seen new developments, particularly in Selwyn and Waimakariri, come to fruition, Housing NZ has successfully repaired more than 5000 quake-damaged homes and built 700 new ones, and the private residential rebuild is also progressing, with the latest Insurance Council of New Zealand data showing 95 per cent of all residential property claims have been settled.”
Statistics NZ data shows building consents for new residential dwellings for the March 2017 quarter were 1048, down 12.2 per cent on the same quarter last year.
“Data is an incredibly important resource that can help us make better decisions for the future of Christchurch. The overall picture is big and complex but this series of snapshots will help make things clearer in the coming weeks and months,” Ms Wagner says.
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is marking the end of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) week by announcing funding for 17 NZSL projects.
The NZSL Board, established to promote and maintain NZSL, allocates $1.25 million annually to a range of initiatives and activities throughout New Zealand.
“As another successful NZSL Week comes to an end, I’m delighted to announce funding for 17 projects supporting a wide range of NZSL needs,” Ms Wagner says.
The projects include a summer camp for deaf secondary school students, providing health information in NZSL on the Capital and Coast District Health Board website, web-based videos about the lives of deaf children fluent in NZSL, and a theatre performance about deaf soldiers in World War I.
“NZSL is crucial to many people’s ability to communicate and participate fully in all aspects of life. Previous grants have had a really positive impact at the community level, so I’m excited to see how this year’s projects will influence the promotion and use of NZSL," Ms Wagner says.
“The NZSL Fund is also supporting a record number of NZSL ‘taster’ classes, with more than 1000 taking place — many in new locations — in the coming months.
“Thank you to the NZSL Board as well as other organisations and individuals supporting and encouraging the use of NZSL.”
A full list of NZSL Fund recipients is available at:
A record number of Pacific Health Scholarships will be awarded this year, Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.
The scholarship programme, funded by the Ministry of Health, aims to help build the number of Pacific people in the health and disability workforce.
“Growing the Pacific health workforce is vital for delivering appropriate and effective services for Pacific people,” Ms Wagner says.
“This year a record 190 scholarships will be awarded, totalling more than $1.4 million.
“The Ministry received 325 applications — the most in the last four years. It’s fantastic to see the Pacific community embracing opportunities in the health sector and I’m particularly pleased to see 14 midwifery scholarships, including a mother and daughter in their first year of study at Wintec in Hamilton.”
Background:The priority workforce areas for the scholarships are medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health. The scholarships provide financial assistance to Pacific students who are undertaking a course in health and disability-related studies, accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or the New Zealand Vice Chancellors Committee. The scholarships fund 80 per cent of the total course fees and will be paid directly to the tertiary organisation of the successful applicants. The scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, leadership qualities and commitment to Pacific communities.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming new research that suggests kapa haka and speaking Te Reo may help older Māori avoid dementia.
In 2013, the Government invested $1.8 million in Life and Living in Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand — Te Puâwaitanga O Ngâ Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu (LiLACS NZ) by the University of Auckland.
LiLACS NZ, the world’s first longitudinal study of an indigenous population in advanced age, has produced a series of reports about Māori and non-Māori health needs. Comparisons are made to investigate potential disparities.
The report released today — Health, Independence and Caregiving in Advanced Age — is the first study to consider dementia among Māori.
“Researchers found cultural activities such as kapa haka and speaking Te Reo may help preserve cognition for older Māori,” Ms Wagner says.
“This is a fascinating new insight into ageing and what it means to age successfully, particularly for older Māori. Research such as this is incredibly important for developing health and disability policies for our ageing population.
“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.
“Further strengthening of the dementia care framework is part of the Government’s Healthy Ageing Strategy, which recognises the higher care needs of some older Māori and makes commitments to reducing health inequities.”
The latest LiLACS NZ report is available at: https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/assets/fmhs/faculty/lilacs/research/docs/Dementia-Supplement-Research-Report.pdf
For more information on the Healthy Ageing Strategy: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/healthy-ageing-strategy
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says she is committed to keeping the community up-to-date on the regeneration process.
“As Minister, I’m provided a great deal of information and data about how the regeneration is progressing. My commitment is to share this information with Cantabrians as much as possible,” Ms Wagner says.
“There is some really informative and useful data available. I want people to know what’s being achieved and where things are at.”
Ms Wagner says she will release regular updates on progress in greater Christchurch on various themes, including people, business, infrastructure and the central city.
The data is collated from a range of sources, including Statistics NZ, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry of Health/Canterbury District Health Board, along with a range of organisations and agencies working on the regeneration.
Ms Wagner also intends to release a quarterly report containing comprehensive economic and social data about greater Christchurch.
“This will be a significant report with information about how we’re really tracking. Making progress is about looking honestly at the information available to us and assessing whether we’re heading in the right direction,” Ms Wagner says.
Ms Wagner was sworn in as Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration earlier this week, after several years as the Associate Minister.
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today announced two new support services to help disabled people and people with health conditions stay in work.
“Disabled people and people with health conditions make great employees and most need little to no support, but sometimes the people employing them do,” Ms Wagner says.
“That’s why we’ve set up the Employer Advice Line — a free phone-based service offering advice to employers about how to support new or existing disabled employees.”
Callers get information and advice specific to their situation, including local support services and organisations.
“We’ve had outstanding feedback so far, with employers describing the service as positive and extremely helpful,” Ms Wagner says.
Work and Income is also providing phone-based support to its recently-employed clients.
“Over 500 Work and Income clients have been contacted by the In-Work Support Service over the last few months. The service encourages employees to stay in work by providing advice on a range of issues, from childcare and transport to challenges in the workplace,” Ms Wagner says.
“Supporting people when they start work can be key to helping them succeed long term. A face-to-face in-work support service is also available from APM WorkCare for those who need more intensive support.
“The Government is committed to improving employment outcomes for disabled people and people with health conditions.”
The Employer Advice Line is operated by Homecare Medical, which also runs Healthline, Quitline, Alcohol Drug Line and Depression Helpline. It is available Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 5.00pm on 0800 805 405.
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner is welcoming the Regenerate Christchurch Statement of Performance Expectations tabled in Parliament today.
The Statement of Performance Expectations is compiled by Regenerate Christchurch, in collaboration with the Christchurch City Council and the Crown.
It looks at Regenerate Christchurch’s key work programmes, including planning for the Residential Red Zone, and the regeneration of the central city and New Brighton.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with Regenerate Christchurch, the council and community to ensure we get the best possible results for Christchurch,” Ms Wagner says.
“Collaboration and cooperation will be incredibly important as we continue to move from the rebuild to regeneration phase.
“Gerry Brownlee has worked tirelessly for Christchurch and made some very difficult decisions. It’s now my turn to ensure those decisions bear fruit.
“We want to build the best, newest and most people-friendly city we can. It’s been six years but there’s still a lot of work to do. Christchurch is a real city of opportunity and I’m delighted to be part of it.”
Regenerate Christchurch Board Chair André Lovatt says the organisation has undertaken a wide range of planning and public engagement work.
“We’ve started with two of the most complex areas identified in our letter of expectations — the central city and the Ōtākaro Avon River corridor,” Mr Lovatt says.
“We’re very conscious that we need to keep moving forward as quickly as possible, and that our local community expects to see progress.”
About the Statement of Performance Expectations:Statement of Performance Expectations (SPE) is prepared by Regenerate Christchurch for the period 8 April 2016 to 30 June 2017, in accordance with Part 2 of Schedule 5 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016. The SPE sets out goals, expected revenue and proposed expenses for the 2016/2017 financial year, as well as performance assessment guidelines. Residential Red Zone planning is focused on the Ōtākaro/Avon River Corridor lands and other RRZ lands in Brooklands, Southshore and Port Hills. Regeneration Planning includes the central city (work on a Regeneration strategy for Cathedral Square), New Brighton and other activities. Regenerate Christchurch is a special-purpose statutory entity established on 8 April 2016 (pursuant to Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016). It is governed by the Board of Regenerate Christchurch and jointly-owned by Christchurch City Council and the Crown.
Customs has achieved a great deal over the last three years, from streamlining the border process to record drug seizures and new legislation that reflects the modern border environment, Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says.
“From officials to front line officers, everyone at Customs works incredibly hard to keep New Zealand and New Zealanders safe. It’s been an absolute pleasure serving as Customs Minster and I’m incredibly proud of the organisation’s achievements over the last few years,” Ms Wagner says.
“The Customs and Excise Act Review has led to the development of modern, fit-for-purpose legislation that supports economic growth by making it easier for traders to do business.
“The Customs and Excise Bill enables Customs to deal with the considerable growth in trade and travel, and the security challenges such growth brings. This, coupled with the modernisation and transformation of the Customs’ workforce, means more Customs officers are focusing on border risks and law enforcement.
“Customs officers are supported by modern technology and processes that enable them to better identify and prioritise risks. New detection tools, an intelligence-led approach, partnerships, and the expertise of skilled officers have seen record seizures of methamphetamine over the last three years.”
Ms Wagner says collaboration with offshore customs agencies prevented over $205 million of social and economic harm to New Zealand in the 2015/16 financial year.
“New intelligence tools developed by the Joint Border Management System programme (JBMS) will help Customs catch more methamphetamine smugglers, boost existing risk assessment processes, and provide new insights into border risk through the use of analytics software and data sharing,” Ms Wagner says.
“Last month’s completion of Trade Single Window, a component of JBMS, was the culmination of an incredible amount of work by Customs and the Ministry for Primary Industries. This e-commerce platform enables importers and exporters to meet all border requirements in one place.
“International travel is another vital part of New Zealand’s growing economy and in the past year alone Customs risk assessed and processed a record 12.8 million arriving and departing travellers.
“The Government’s $6.6 million eGate upgrade and expansion project is helping manage the increased volume of passengers, with 50 of the new and improved eGates now fully operational nationwide.”
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner have announced a major upgrade and extension to the trap network in Canterbury to protect the critically endangered orange-fronted parakeet.
“This bird is the rarest of our five parakeet species, with the population between 200 and 400, so we installed 500 self-resetting traps in Lake Sumner Forest Park last week as part of DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme,” Ms Barry says.
“We want rat and stoat numbers down to a level where the vulnerable hole-nesting parakeet can successfully breed and the population grow. Conservation measures like these will help us become Predator Free by 2050 and vastly improve the prospects for endangered species.”
“All up 1450 Goodnature traps, which reset up to 24 times before needing to be reloaded manually, and 1700 DOC-200 trap boxes will be added to the network, extending the trap line by 206 kilometres, at a cost of more than $860,000.”
The orange-fronted parakeet is found in only three valleys on mainland New Zealand — in part of the Lake Sumner Forest Park and the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Ms Wagner says 200 more traps will go into Hurunui next month and 570 into Poulter Valley around the same time. The DOC-200 traps will be installed in the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in the next 12 months.
“DOC is using this latest technology to bring the trap network up to best practice standards. The extended network will also bring us closer to our 2025 goal of an additional one million hectares of mainland New Zealand under predator control,” Ms Wagner says.
“Rolleston Prison offenders are building the boxes that hold the DOC-200 traps as part of DOC’s Good to Grow partnership with the Department of Corrections.”
DOC manages the risks to the parakeets by intensively monitoring predator numbers in all three valleys and undertaking pest control using a combination of traps and aerial 1080 when necessary.
The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust has a captive breeding programme for orange-fronted parakeets and in recent years DOC has been releasing captive-reared birds to supplement the wild mainland population.
‘Insurance’ populations of orange-fronted parakeets have been established on four predator-free islands: Chalky Island in Fiordland, Blumine and Maud islands in the Marlborough Sounds and Tūhua in the Western Bay of Plenty.
Tourism spending by both international and domestic visitors continues to grow strongly in 2017, Acting Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner says.
Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates shows tourism spending is up in all regions in the year to March 2017. The fastest growing regions are the West Coast, increasing 11 per cent to $522 million, followed by Nelson (up 10 per cent to $343 million) and Tasman (up 10 per cent to $303 million).
“One of the really interesting findings in today’s release is that United States visitor spending continues its strong upward trend, with a national average of 22 per cent growth over the year to March 2017. Spending by United States visitors is particularly strong in Auckland (up 26 per cent)," Ms Wagner says.
“New Zealand’s tourism sector saw some exceptional growth in 2016 and it’s great to see strong spending figures stretching out into March this year. Tourism New Zealand is making a big effort to get more international visitors here in off-peak seasons, and this work is starting to gain some traction.
“The buoyant tourism market is showing some real benefits to our regional communities, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We’ve recently made a number of announcements that will support the sector and manage the challenges that come with a booming industry.
“An extra $5.5 million has been allocated to the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund to help regional communities respond to visitor growth through new tourism infrastructure.
“In March we announced the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism initiative, which will focus on attracting high-value Chinese visitors who stay longer, spend more and travel independently.
“We have also continued to support businesses affected by last year’s earthquakes, with a new one-million dollar business grant programme for Kaikōura, Hurunui and Marlborough, as well as the establishment of a business recovery trust that will be set up by the Kaikōura District Council.”
Further information from the Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates can be found at: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/monthly-regional-tourism-estimates