Women’s Minister Paula Bennett and Defence Minister Mark Mitchell are congratulating the Royal New Zealand Air Force for an initiative aimed at attracting more young women into the Air Force.
The School to Skies programme highlights the range of technical and aviation careers available in the Air Force to years 12 and 13 girls with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The first four-day camp was held last week with 24 students at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai, and it attracted so much interest that a second camp began today. Mr Mitchell visited the initial camp while at the base last week.
“New Zealand needs more women in the Air Force and the aviation industry in general. These students are able to experience life on an Air Force base, plan a flight mission and get hands-on experience fixing a real aircraft,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The camp fits in with the Defence Force’s vison of attracting more women into the military by helping them to understand the organisation’s values and breaking down any barriers that may prevent women from opting for a Defence Force career,” Mrs Bennett says.
“At least half the camp is dedicated to science, technology, engineering and maths, allowing the students to translate key education subjects into real-life careers,” Mr Mitchell says.
“The Air Force wants to make this an annual initiative, and the format of the course is such that the Navy and Army could use it to run courses tailored to their own specialist needs.
“I congratulate the Air Force on a world-leading initiative that could be of benefit to the whole NZDF.
“Its success has not only been shown by the interest it has attracted but also by providing these young women with a real understanding of the Air Force and the wider Defence Force,” Mr Mitchell says.
The Government is contributing up to $3.2 million to help grow the West Coast visitor economy, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today.
“Growing the West Coast visitor economy is a priority of the action plan. The region has significant potential to increase the appeal of its natural and heritage assets, adventure-based attractions, and cycling and walking trails,” says Mrs Bennett.
“The Government wants to see our regions benefitting from tourism growth, but this funding is also about supporting the West Coast to respond to demand with quality facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Bridges says that while the West Coast is experiencing strong growth in international visitor numbers, growth in the domestic market could be stronger and more consistent.
“Challenges in growing the visitor economy include its distance from visitor markets, limited visitor awareness of the range of attractions, a high level of seasonality, infrastructure pressures, difficulty extracting value from many attractions, and a fragmented approach to promoting and developing tourism in the region,” says Mr Bridges.
The Action Plan has identified nine initiatives to support growth of the visitor economy.
“Four initiatives focus on developing and future proofing iconic visitor attractions. The objective is to extend visitors’ length of stay on the West Coast by improving the experience at less popular attractions, while also improving infrastructure at two established attractions – Punakaiki and Franz Josef,” says Ms Barry.
Government funding for the proposed initiatives is as follows:$90,000 for the development of the Oparara Arches near Karamea as an iconic attraction $850,000 for the extension of the Hokitika Gorge walking track and associated amenities, alongside safety improvements to the access road $1.8 million to future proof Punakaiki visitor and heritage infrastructure $225,000 to investigate future proofing Franz Josef infrastructure against flooding and earthquakes $40,000 toward a feasibility study for the upgrade of Croesus Road near Blackball for access to the Pike 29 Trail, which is part of the Paparoa Track Great Walk $50,000 toward a feasibility study for a Kawatiri (Charleston to Westport) Coastal Walking and Cycling Trail The Tai Poutini Māori Tourism Strategy and Action Plan – with $70,000 funding from Te Puni Kokiri subject to meeting the conditions of contestable funding.
Ms Barry added that it is particularly pleasing to note that Development West Coast is contributing a total of $150,000 to the funding of the Oparara, Kawatiri and Croesus Road initiatives.
Police Minister Paula Bennett has today welcomed the first of the 880 additional frontline officers to Police College.
“In February the Prime Minister and I announced there would be an additional 1125 Police Staff, including 880 sworn officers. These Police will be stationed across all twelve Police Districts and will boost the total number of frontline police by 10 per cent,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The first of the new officers started their training today and they’ll be on the beat by November.
“Our $503 million Safer Communities package includes a new national 24/7 phone number for non-emergencies, 140 more officers for regional and rural police stations, 140 additional specialist investigators for child protection, 80 additional officers to target organised crime, gangs and methamphetamine, 20 additional ethic liaison officers and 12 mobile policing units.
“The boost in Police over the next four years will ensure that 95 per cent of the population are within 25 kilometres of patrolling officers around the clock.
“The new recruits come from all walks of life, bringing a range of different experiences with them. They will be deployed in different areas all around the country.
“I’m so excited to see the first recruits start their training and look forward to seeing them out on the beat around the country in the very near future,” Mrs Bennett says.
The new caller location system for 111 mobile phone calls has already made a significant impact in the two months it has been up and running, say Police Minister Paula Bennett, Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne.
The system automatically provides emergency services with the probable location of a caller when they dial 111 from a mobile phone, enabling police, fire and ambulance services to respond more quickly.
“The new system has been vital in helping to identify the location of callers in instances where the caller hasn’t been able to speak, where the call has been cut-off before the operator could get more information about the caller’s location or where the caller doesn’t know their exact whereabouts,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The system has been used to get help to an injured person on a farm, a motorcycle crash victim, people who are distressed or potentially suicidal, people experiencing family violence, a person who had spotted a fire in a rural area, and people experiencing medical emergencies.”
“It’s great to hear how the system is helping emergency service providers improve public safety. This solution sees New Zealand leading the way in emergency response systems, alongside the United Kingdom and other European countries,” Mr Bridges says.
“Since the system was introduced, more than 145,000 genuine 111 calls have been made to emergency services and around 20 per cent of these calls involved operators using the system to help them get more accurate information about a caller’s location.”
While the new system provides a critical tool to help identify the probable location of 111 callers from mobile phones, it’s still important for callers to tell emergency services operators where they are.
“This is a system that people may need to rely on in times of need, so I’m incredibly proud that it’s already making a demonstrable impact. In some cases the system has been identified as critical to preventing a fatal incident, or preventing an incident from escalating further,” Mr Dunne says.
The Ministers acknowledged the many organisations involved including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Emergency Service Providers (New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance), Mobile Network Operators (Spark, 2degrees and Vodafone), Datacom and Google.
“It’s a fantastic example of the public and private sectors working together to better serve New Zealanders,” Mr Dunne says.
Further information about the Emergency Caller Location Information system is available at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/emergency-call-services/ecli
Ten examples of where the Emergency caller Location Information system has made a difference:
NZ Police received a 111 ‘hang-up’ call from a distressed woman. The call was disconnected before she could provide her location. Using the system, Police were able to identify her location and respond accordingly. The woman had been involved in a family harm incident, and Police were able to take the appropriate action.
A group tramping in the Bay of Plenty had become lost. One member of the group was injured and they had no food or water. They made a call to 111 from their mobile phone (which had a low battery). The call taker used the system to identify their location down to a six-metre radius. Police Search & Rescue were dispatched and the group was safely walked out of the bush a couple of hours later. Previously the group might have spent the night in the bush before Search & Rescue could be engaged.
NZ Police received a call from a person who was having suicidal thoughts. The person let the operator know they were at a railway station, but hung up before the operator could get more information about their location. After establishing there was an immediate risk to the person’s safety, the call taker used the system to identify their location. The caller was identified as being on the train tracks, within a four-metre radius. Having this information meant the call was given high priority for a response, with Police dispatched to locate the person safely. The call taker was also able to notify train control to alert them to the issue.
NZ Police and St John Ambulance were advised that a woman had taken an overdose of pills following an argument with her family. She’d left the family home, and her location was unknown. The woman subsequently called St John Ambulance, and the system was used to identify her location. St John Ambulance staff were immediately dispatched to help and she received medical treatment.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand received a call from a man who had seen a fire while he was driving along a rural highway. The caller didn’t know where he was on the highway. Using the system, Fire and Emergency New Zealand were able to locate the caller and the fire, and dispatch crew to put the fire out.
Wellington Free Ambulance received a call from someone who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident on a farm. The person was moderately injured and did not know their exact location, but explained they were around 60 minutes’ drive from the nearest road. Using the system, Wellington Free Ambulance were able to identify the location of the caller and send this information to the responding helicopter. This enabled an accurate and swift response, and Wellington Free Ambulance staff were able to provide the assistance needed.
Wellington Free Ambulance received a call from a person who advised the operator that his heart was racing before hanging up. The operator tried to call the person back but there was no answer. Using the system, the operator was able to identify the man’s location and the Wellington Free Ambulance crew could be immediately dispatched to provide help to the man, who was rushed to hospital.
Wellington Free Ambulance received a call from a man who had woken up on the side of the road, with no idea where he was or what had happened. The man had a history of seizures, and had been driving from Bulls to Whanganui. The only details he could provide about his location was that he was in a farmland area and that there were no houses or road signs. Wellington Free Ambulance used the system to identify the man’s location and to get him the help he needed.
St John Ambulance received a call from a woman who was not local to Hamilton, where she was calling from. She was with a group of people and they had found a girl on the river bank who had fallen and was in and out of consciousness. The only detail she could provide about her location was that she was near some public toilets, near a river. Using the system, and with some help from the caller to identify other details in the area - including the street she was on and a nearby park, St John Ambulance were able to identify her location and where the ambulance should meet her. The system played a critical role in helping St John Ambulance locate the caller without delay, and the patient was provided the care she required.
St John Ambulance received a call from a man who was in the forest with a friend, who needed urgent medical attention. They were a few kilometres away from the nearest road and across a lake, and were positioned under a canopy that would have been hard to spot from the air. Using the system, St John Ambulance were able to identify their location for a helicopter. A crew member was winched down to help the patient, who was taken to hospital. Without the system the helicopter could have been circulating for a long time trying to find the pair.
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett will travel to Suva today to join Pacific Leaders and Ministers at a Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) event.
The CAPP is a regional meeting preparing the ground for the global climate change Ministerial conference (COP 23) Fiji will chair in November.
“The event is about identifying solutions and initiatives to accelerate Pacific climate action, something New Zealand is committed to supporting,” says Mrs Bennett.
“We want to explore ways to take forward initiatives on smart agriculture, renewable energy, water security and managing disaster risk.
“Earlier this year I announced $1.3 million to support Fiji’s presidency of COP 23 in November and I am looking forward to the opportunity to working with our Pacific partners and strengthening our shared climate change objectives.
“New Zealand has a proud record of working with and supporting Pacific countries to address the issue of climate change, including $38 million in direct climate-related support to Pacific countries in 2015/16.”
Mrs Bennett will deliver New Zealand’s address during the opening session of the CAPP on Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee have announced that New Zealand will contribute up to $6 million to redevelop Honiara’s Multi-Purpose Hall and sports facility.
“Honiara has a large, young, urban population and ensuring they have access to sporting and educational facilities is important for the future of Solomon Islands,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The upgraded facility in central Honiara will provide a safe and positive environment for young people to engage in sporting activities and get access to health and education services from a range of government and non-government organisations.”
New Zealand has previously supported upgrades to the Multi-Purpose Hall in conjunction with the Honiara City Council. The latest funding announced today will deliver a programme of essential upgrades and maintenance, and a significant expansion to the existing facilities.
“For the past 14 years New Zealand has made a significant contribution to the safety and security of the Solomon Islands through our contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Our support is now transitioning and will focus on economic development, creating employment opportunities, and supporting youth.
“The upgrade of the Multi-Purpose Hall is a project which signifies New Zealand’s commitment to the people of Solomon Islands and the young people of Honiara. It will also serve as a key piece of infrastructure when Solomon Islands hosts the Pacific games in 2023.”
Funding for the upgrade will come from the New Zealand Aid programme. Construction is expected to start later this year.
Mrs Bennett is leading the New Zealand delegation to Honiara for the RAMSI farewell. She will return home today. The delegation is travelling by RNZAF 757 and includes representatives from the New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Defence Force.
Police Minister Paula Bennett has announced that New Zealand Police will continue to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force once the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) concludes tomorrow.
“RAMSI has done a remarkable job of helping restore security and stability in the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand is proud to have been part of this regional effort to help a close friend and neighbour,” Mrs Bennett says.
“We have signed an arrangement with the Solomon Islands Government today that will allow this support to continue once RAMSI formally concludes.
“New Zealand will contribute $12.5 million from our aid programme over the next four years to provide support to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to ensure they can maintain the gains which have been made under RAMSI.
“This support will fund the deployment of eight New Zealand Police advisers, who will help to implement crime prevention strategies, with a focus on community policing, and ultimately help ensure that stability is maintained.
“Since 2003 around 2000 New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel have served as part of RAMSI and we currently have 16 New Zealand Police personnel serving as part of the final New Zealand contingent.
“Most will return to New Zealand today and I would like to acknowledge all the New Zealanders who have contributed to the success of RAMSI over the past 14 years,” Mrs Bennett says.
Police Minister Paula Bennett will travel to Honiara tomorrow to mark the draw-down of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
“In 2003 political instability and conflict posed a significant threat to the Solomon Islands and the government requested assistance through the Pacific Islands Forum,” Mrs Bennett says.
“RAMSI was established as a collective response, with 16 Pacific Forum countries having contributed to the Mission over the past 14 years.
“Around 2000 New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel have served as part of RAMSI and we have made a significant contribution to the future of the Solomon Islands through our aid programme.
“RAMSI transitioned from a military to a police led operation in 2013 and at the end of this month we will mark the official end of RAMSI. The Solomon Islands Government has invited all participating members to attend the farewell event.
“While RAMSI will shortly come to an end, New Zealand’s commitment to the people of the Solomon Islands will not. We will continue to support efforts to promote peace and security in Solomon Islands through New Zealand Police and our wider programme of development assistance,” Mrs Bennett says.
Mrs Bennett will lead the New Zealand delegation to Honiara for the RAMSI farewell from 28-30 June. The delegation will travel by RNZAF 757 and will include representatives from the New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Defence Force, including its Māori Cultural Group.
Tourism Minister Paula Bennett today announced the panel for the new $100 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund to help local communities respond to increased visitor numbers.
The panel will be responsible for assessing proposals and recommending a package of infrastructure projects that best aligns with the Government’s priorities for the fund, Mrs Bennett says.
“It’s important that we are supporting those communities most in need of assistance and funding facilities so they really benefit from the growth we’re seeing in the tourism sector,” Mrs Bennett says.
“We have ensured that panel members are representative across the sector and the country. Chair Judy Kirk from Taupo brings a wealth of private sector experience and will be supported by Norm Thompson from our country’s largest regional tourism organisation, ATEED.
“Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Chris Roberts and Whale Watch Kaikoura’s Kauahi Ngapora bring years of commercial experience and expertise from the tourism industry. Kauahi also provides a valuable perspective as a tourism operator working through the Kaikoura earthquake recovery.
“Sarah Hannan from Southland will help ensure interests of local government are represented, and the inclusion of Bruce Parkes means we are aligned with the Department of Conservation in boosting New Zealand’s tourism infrastructure.”
The panel members, appointed for a four year term, are:Judy Kirk (chair), consultant and experienced director Norm Thompson (deputy chair), Deputy Chair of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Kauahi Ngapora, General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikoura Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa Sarah Hannan, Programme Director for the Southland Regional Development Strategy Iain Cossar, General Manager Tourism, Sectors, Regions and Cities at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Bruce Parkes, Deputy Director-General Science and Policy at the Department of Conservation.
The first round of funding will open later this year. A priorities statement will be issued at that time, which will guide the panel’s decisions.
For full biographies of the new panel members, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett today announced the appointment of Jan Hunt and the reappointment of Chris Parkin as members of the New Zealand Tourism Board.
Mrs Hunt is a director at Skyline Enterprises and Jumping New Zealand. Previously she was a Board member of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and worked as a General Manager at Millbrook Resort, Sky City Hotel & Convention Centre, and Millennium Queenstown.
“The skills, personal attributes and regional tourism experience Mrs Hunt brings to the table will be of great value to the New Zealand Tourism Board,” says Mrs Bennett.
Mr Parkin has been reappointed to the board and will continue to provide a strong contribution through his extensive property management and hotel owner and management expertise. Both have been appointed for one-year terms.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing board member Norm Thompson for his commitment and service over his term with the Board,” says Mrs Bennett.
The New Zealand Tourism Board (known as Tourism New Zealand) is a Crown entity, responsible for ensuring that New Zealand is effectively marketed as a visitor destination in order to maximise long-term benefits to New Zealand.