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
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says the number of registered nurses working in rest homes and aged care facilities has increased significantly since 2011 and is more than keeping pace with New Zealand’s growing need for dementia, hospital and psychogeriatric care.
“The number of registered nurses working in aged care increased by 22 per cent between 2011 and 2016, from 3405 to 4142. That’s a greater increase than for the general registered nursing workforce, which grew by 13 per cent over the same period,” Ms Wagner says.
“The number of people receiving longer-term hospital level care — where most registered nurses are employed — increased by 17 per cent, while the total number of people receiving aged residential care increased by just 5 per cent.
“This tell us we’re staying ahead of population growth and the rising demand for these types of services.”
Ms Wagner says District Health Boards spend more than 40 per cent of their $12 billion budget on providing health and disability services to people aged 65 years and older. This age group makes up around 15 per cent of the population.
“Based on the forecast growth of this age group, this spend is expected to rise to 50 per cent of DHB expenditure by 2025/26,” Ms Wagner says.
“In the last six years, the total spent by DHBs for older people’s support services, including aged residential care, home support and hospital rehabilitation, has increased by 23 per cent or $302 million. The $1.6 billion spent in the year to last July represents 10 per cent of the Government's annual investment in health.
“New Zealanders are now living longer, healthier and increasingly independent lives, and the Government’s commitment to funding and supporting aged care services reflects that.”
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel have received the Council’s updated implementation plan to improve the detailed design of An Accessible City roading projects.
An Accessible City is the transport chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, aimed at making the central city more cycle and pedestrian friendly, and facilitating smooth traffic flow.
Ms Wagner and Mayor Dalziel met Council staff and local business representatives last week to discuss the plan.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to make the central city car, bike and pedestrian friendly, but our approach must balance the needs of all road users,” Ms Wagner says.
“I’m confident the city now has an implementation plan in place to help ensure concerns are addressed and needs are met, as much as practically possible.
“We’re taking a flexible and coordinated approach to achieve our objective of a sustainable, compact, user-friendly core that will help create a vibrant and prosperous city.”
Mayor Dalziel says it has always been important to retain flexibility around the detailed design.
“It’s been nearly five years since people fed into the vision for the transport components of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and there will be some who have lost sight of the big picture. People now need the opportunity to re-connect with this vision, which is about much more than just roads; it’s about co-creating an exciting, vibrant and welcoming city for everyone,” Mayor Dalziel says.
"It’s important we remain flexible in our approach to delivering on these transport projects and we continue to engage with the central city business and property owners, as well as the wider community.
“The Minister and I also agree that it is important to accelerate construction while minimising the impact on surrounding businesses as much as possible. Both Otakaro Limited and the Christchurch City Council are committed to that.”
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming a review of the disabled people-led monitoring initiative.
The initiative involved training over 50 disabled people to interview other disabled people about their experiences. It is governed by the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group, which monitors how New Zealand is implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
“The monitoring initiative is important because it provides a much more accurate picture of what life is like for disabled people in New Zealand, and with better information comes better decision making by government and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs),” Ms Wagner says.
“The review, conducted by Malatest International, found New Zealand is a world leader in disabled people-led monitoring but there is still room to improve.
“We now need to ensure disabled people-led monitoring reaches the wider disability community, to hear the experiences of disabled Māori, Pasifika, children and young people, as well as those who communicate non-verbally.”
The Government has provided funding for disabled people-led monitoring since 2010 as part of its commitment to implement the UNCRPD.
Over the next few months, the Office for Disability Issues will work with DPOs and other organisations to further improve the monitoring initiative.
The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard shows unemployment in Canterbury is increasing but remains well below national levels, Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says.
Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Labour Market is the second in a series of data snapshots designed to shed light on the regeneration process.
The data, sourced from Statistics New Zealand, shows Canterbury’s level of unemployment was 4 per cent compared with 5.2 per cent nationally in the March 2017 quarter.
At its lowest level post-quake, Canterbury’s unemployment rate was 2.7 per cent. In the March 2010 quarter, prior to the quakes, it was 5.3 per cent.
“The data indicates that while the rebuild is still providing stimulus in greater Christchurch, it’s now levelling out — as widely predicted,” Ms Wagner says.
“Employment growth data backs that up, showing an increase of almost 14 per cent in Canterbury from September 2010 to March 2017, while the national figure was about 18 per cent.
“At the height of the rebuild, Canterbury’s rate of employment growth was higher than the rest of the country but it’s fallen slightly behind in the last year.”
Average weekly earnings in Canterbury are slightly lower than the national average and growing at a slower rate — 1.2 per cent growth in the year to March compared with 2.2 per cent nationally.
“However, as the data I released last week shows, the cost of housing has dropped, with the average weekly rent falling from $400 in April 2016 to $386 in April 2017.
“Overall, greater Christchurch remains a great place to live and work,” Ms Wagner says.
Note: Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Labour Market is attached.
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.