Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Finance Minister Steven Joyce have welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s issues paper for the inquiry into how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower carbon economy.
“New Zealand has set ambitious targets to reduce our emissions through the 2030 Paris Agreement Target,” Mrs Bennett says. “Although we’re a small player, we’re globally connected and trade-dependent. This inquiry will help us to meet our targets to 2030 and then look beyond that to address long-term climate change effects.”
“This is an important piece of work that will guide us all on how to maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of a lower emissions economy,” Mr Joyce says. “It’s crucial for New Zealand’s future that we make policy decisions informed by economic analysis so we achieve our climate goals while maintaining and lifting the prosperity of kiwi families at the same time.”
“A big focus of our response will be harnessing the benefits of some rapid technological advances our scientists are making. The Productivity Commission will look at how New Zealand’s regulatory, technological, financial and institutional systems, processes and practices can help to encourage adoption of these new technologies,” says Mr Joyce.
The low-emissions economy issues paper is available HERE.
The closing date for submissions is 2 October 2017.
Tourism Minister Paula Bennett is calling on councils to apply for co-funding from the new $100 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund which opens today.
Budget 2017 invests $100 million over four years for the development of visitor-related public infrastructure such as carparks, freedom camping facilities and sewerage and water works.
“Councils with infrastructure needs caused by high visitor numbers should be getting their applications in,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The first round will focus on supporting communities in most immediate need of assistance, those councils with low ratepayer bases who are facing pressure from increasing visitor numbers.
“Councils have told me they are facing infrastructure needs, so we are providing millions of dollars of co-funding to address this. The fund’s criteria are designed to favour those communities that really need a hand from central government. We need them to help us meet this demand by now spending that money.
“There is a lot of scope for our regional economies to further benefit from the growth in the tourism industry that New Zealand is experiencing. That’s why this fund also takes a longer term view by co-funding infrastructure and feasibility studies that will help unlock that potential.”
Applications will be accepted until 4 September from local councils and community groups with council support. Previous Mid-sized Facilities Fund grants of $8.8 million have funded 42 council projects around New Zealand.
For more information, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-infrastructure-fund
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett is today announcing a package of changes that the Government will make to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure it puts New Zealand in the best possible position to achieve its ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target.
“In 2015 the Government initiated a review of the ETS to ensure it was fit for purpose going into the 2020s,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Last year, as a result of stage one of the review, we announced the phase out of the one-for-two measure in the ETS. I am now announcing further changes as a result of stage two of the review.”
The proposals announced today will provide businesses with the clarity they need about the direction of the ETS.
Cabinet has made an in-principle decision to implement four proposals and asked officials to work on how they will be developed and implemented in the ETS over the next few years so there will not be immediate changes. The proposals are to:introduce auctioning of units, to align the ETS to our climate change targets limit participants’ use of international units when the ETS reopens to international carbon markets develop a different price ceiling to eventually replace the current $25 fixed price option coordinate decisions on the supply settings in the ETS over a rolling five-year period.
The in-principle decisions will:give the Government the tools to align the supply of units in the ETS with our target set up a more predictable and transparent process for decision-making on ETS supply settings such as unit volumes and the price level of any price ceiling allow further engagement and consultation with stakeholders, before the in-principle decisions are implemented make the NZ ETS more similar to emission trading schemes in other countries which will mean that it is more compatible for international linking (accessing international units).
There will be further work to determine how to implement these proposals, including further consultation and engagement over the next 12 to 18 months.
“We are also making no changes to free allocation or to the $25 price ceiling at this point,” says Mrs Bennett.
“We are committed to ensuring New Zealand businesses whose emissions are a big part of their costs are not disadvantaged compared to their international competitors. This means there will be no changes to the current level of free allocation at least until the end of 2020, and any changes would be well signalled and take into account what is happening internationally.
“The $25 price ceiling will also remain in place until auctioning or links with international markets are established.”
More work needs to be done in the area of forestry accounting and operational improvements to reduce complexity for forestry participants and increase the efficiency of the ETS. A package of options will be developed next year with input from the Climate Change Forestry Reference Group.
The Productivity Commission Inquiry into a low emissions economy and work to progress policy options for reducing emissions funded through $4 million committed in Budget 2017 will also help inform future implementation decisions about the ETS.
The ETS review is part of the Government’s investment in a wider programme of work to reduce emissions, and help New Zealanders adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
More information is available at: www.mfe.govt.nz/nzets/2015-16-review-outcomes
Q & A
Why did we review the NZ ETS?
We were one of the first countries in the world to establish an ETS and we needed to review it to ensure it is fit for purpose to help us meet our new 2030 target under the Paris Agreement. We need to make sure it provides the right incentives to reduce emissions while also ensuring it doesn’t put unnecessary costs on businesses that aren’t faced by their overseas competitors.
Why has the review been done now when we don’t have to reach our target until 2030?
Changes to the ETS need to be well signalled so that businesses have as much certainty as possible.
How does the NZ ETS work?
The NZ ETS puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the New Zealand economy except biological emissions from agriculture. This creates a financial incentive for businesses and households to invest in technologies or products that have lower emissions. It also gives foresters financial recognition of the carbon their trees remove from the atmosphere, which encourages more trees to be planted. Over the last few months, the carbon price has ranged around $16.00 to $18.00.
Why is the NZ ETS important for reducing emissions?
The NZ ETS is New Zealand’s key climate change policy tool to help us meet our emission reduction targets and reduce our net emissions below business as usual. New Zealand has a 2030 target to reduce emissions by 30 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. The decisions on the NZ ETS will help improve the operation of the NZ ETS in the 2020s so it can best support us to meet the 2030 target and reduce our emissions.
Is agriculture coming into the ETS?
No. Agriculture was out of scope of the NZ ETS review. The Government and the sector are continuing to invest in research and development for practical ways to reduce biological emissions. This includes the establishment of the Biological Emissions Reference Group, which brings together a wide range of industry stakeholders to collaborate with Government and build a solid evidence base about biological emissions. This will ensure we have the best possible information on what can be done now by the sector to reduce biological emissions, and the costs and opportunities of doing so. The group will report its findings in early 2018.
What is an auctioning mechanism and why does the Government want to put one in the ETS?
Auctioning is a way for the Government to sell New Zealand emission units (NZUs) at the market price through a competitive bidding process. Auctions are a common feature of many emissions trading schemes internationally. The purpose of auctioning in the NZ ETS will be to ensure the amount of NZUs available in the NZ ETS reflects the level of effort required by businesses and households to meet our targets. For NZ ETS participants, the introduction of auctioning will improve the information available about the amount of units provided to the market through auctions and free allocation.
Why will there be a limit on international units?
At the moment the ETS is closed to international units but the Government expects to open it back up to high integrity units in the future. A limit on participants’ use of international units provides the Government with a tool to balance the use of international units with the use of New Zealand Units in the NZ ETS. It will also make the NZ ETS more similar to other emissions trading schemes worldwide, which is important if we are to link with international carbon markets.
When will we know what the limit on international units is?
The exact timeframe cannot be confirmed yet. The decision on where to set the limit on international units will be informed by wider climate change work that looks at how New Zealand can meet the 2030 target. The Government has also announced that it will make decisions about NZ ETS settings using a rolling five-year window and so the international limit will be considered annually as part of this process. The limit may also depend on which international carbon markets New Zealand links with, and how New Zealand links to them.
Is the Government talking to any other countries about buying international units from their markets?
An international carbon markets project was established in 2016 to identify linking options, with a view to enabling New Zealand to source high integrity international emission reductions in the 2020s. We are in the early stages of discussions with a number of different countries about potential cooperation opportunities.
What is the current $25 price ceiling?
The NZ ETS has a price ceiling in the form of a $25 fixed price option. The $25 fixed price option was introduced as a transitional measure in 2009, and means that $25 is the maximum NZ ETS participants pay per unit to meet their ETS obligations. International carbon prices may rise above $25 in the 2020s, so the $25 price ceiling could be out of step with international prices. Officials will work to develop a different price ceiling for the NZ ETS, but the Government will keep the current $25 price ceiling in place at least until auctioning or links with international markets are established.
When will we know what the different price ceiling is?
The exact timeframe cannot be confirmed yet. The decision on the most appropriate different price ceiling will be informed by input from interested stakeholders, and by decisions about how to meet the 2030 target, any linking agreements with other emissions trading schemes, and the design of the auctioning mechanism in the NZ ETS. The Government is maintaining the $25 price ceiling at least until auctioning or links with international markets are established.
The development of a different price ceiling will look at:the price level, and whether and how it should increase over time whether it should operate in a way that is volume-limited whether certain processes need to be put in place to manage the price ceiling over time
How will the five year rolling period for decisions on NZ ETS unit supply settings work?
The Government has agreed in-principle to announce for five years into the future the details of:NZU limits that determine the volume of units that can be auctioned each year the operation of the price ceiling , for example the price level and/or unit volumes, if applicable the level and other details for the limit on participants’ use of international units
The five-year period will be updated annually to add information on unit volumes and settings for an extra year. We will be doing more work on how this rolling five-year period will operate, including rules or guidelines for how settings may be adjusted and extended. Business and other groups told us that they want a more predictable scheme and better information about the market. A five-year rolling period gives the market more information about future unit supply, while retaining the flexibility needed for the scheme to work effectively.
What is free allocation?
The Government provides NZUs to firms with activities that are exposed to international competition and whose emissions are a big part of their costs. This is to ensure they are not disadvantaged compared to their international competitors.
Why are there no changes to free allocation?
Free allocation plays an important role in ensuring New Zealand businesses are not put at a disadvantage because of ETS costs compared to their international competitors. Officials will continue to look at whether there should be changes to free allocation after 2020, taking into account competitiveness impacts that any potential reductions may have on New Zealand’s industrial sector, and an assessment of global carbon pricing coverage. This advice is expected in 2018.
Why are there no changes to forestry accounting?
There are no decisions on changes to forestry settings in the NZ ETS at this stage as there needs to be further work, including engagement with the sector and interested groups, before advice is provided on an integrated ‘forestry package’.
This forestry package will include advice on potential changes to the forestry accounting approach for post-1989 forests, and operational improvements to reduce NZ ETS complexity for participants and the Crown. This will include aligning the administration of the Permanent Forestry Sink Initiative with the Climate Change Response Act. Making decisions on any forestry accounting changes in the NZ ETS as part of a broader forestry package that includes operational issues means decisions can be made in a coherent way.
Advice on the forestry package is expected by mid-2018.
Women’s Minister Paula Bennett has today released guidance for private sector companies about actions they can take to close their gender pay gap.
“The Ministry for Women has spoken to 26 companies about their experiences and what they’re doing to close the gap. Twelve companies have released their profiles publically while another 14 had off the record conversations. These companies recognise addressing this issue is crucial to their organisation and their employees,” Mrs Bennett says.
“It’s a daunting task for companies when they get started. It’s not until we can all start talking publically about this that things will change. That’s why today I’m launching an employers’ guide, ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap: Actions for Employers’.
“If New Zealand organisations identify and address their gender pay gaps, we can create fairer workplaces and raise incomes for women, families and communities throughout New Zealand. It’s good for business too, diverse companies are more successful.
“The guide is based on New Zealand and international best practice, and applies to companies regardless of whether they are starting their work on their gender pay gap or have established gender and diversity initiatives.”
In New Zealand the national gender pay gap is 12 per cent and that hasn’t changed for more than a decade.
“We know there are a number of factors that impact on an organisation’s leadership and human resources and remuneration policies. If we are serious about the gender pay gap, each of these needs to be looked at and changes made.
“Companies need a plan to close the gender pay gap in New Zealand workplaces. This is just the first step and the Ministry will soon release guidance to assist employers on how to measure their gender pay gap.
The employers’ guide, ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap: Actions for Employers’ and the profiles of the company executives who were interviewed can be accessed at www.women.govt.nz/gpg.
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.