Today’s announcement by Police about where the additional 880 sworn officers will be stationed means over 200,000 more New Zealanders will be covered by a 24/7 Police presence.
“All New Zealanders deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities. That’s why we’ve committed to having 95 per cent of New Zealanders covered by a 24/7 Police presence,” Mrs Bennett says.
In February the Government announced the Safer Communities package, of 1125 more Police staff over the next four years. The $503 million package includes 880 sworn officers, 140 of them are specifically designated to regional and rural communities.
“The Safer Communities package means that New Zealanders will benefit from knowing there is an officer available around the clock. Police have worked hard since the announcement to work out where the greatest need for these officers is.
“I’m confident having additional resources in these areas will provide a better policing service for regional New Zealand,” Mrs Bennett says.
The Police stations which will now have a 24/7 officer on duty include:Kaitaia Matamata Wairoa Rolleston Kaikohe/Kerikeri* Warkworth/Wellsford Taumarunui Te Kuiti Thames Balclutha Dannevirke/Waipukurau* Dargaville Helensville Stratford Motueka Wanaka Marton Alexandra Southland Rural* Tasman Rural*
* Decisions on the exact location of these police bases are still to be made
Police Minister Paula Bennett has today welcomed an announcement about where frontline officers will be based under the Government’s Safer Communities package.
“In February this year we announced a $503 million dollar package for 1125 more police staff, including 880 more frontline officers over the next four years. All 12 Police Districts will receive more Police,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Police Commissioner Mike Bush today announced the number of staff going to each district across the country. Police and Government have a goal of making New Zealand the safest country and this investment will contribute to that.
“Now that the Commissioner has allocated these staff, it is up to the District Commanders to work through which areas within the district they’ll be based in.”
Police have also allocated a number of new staff to other specialist areas including 80 officers to build on Police’s ability to disrupt and dismantle organised crime.
The Safer Communities package also includes a single non-emergency phone number, 12 mobile police stations, around the clock access to the Eagle Helicopter and funding to support Corrections and Justice.
“I know the Police are a hardworking team and I look forward to seeing more likeminded, hardworking, committed recruits going through Police College over the next four years so we can get these officers on the beat.
“Police recruit applications are at an all-time high with twice the number of applicants over January and February 2017 as there was over the same period in 2016, which is great to see,” Mrs Bennett says.
Bay of Plenty
A potentially life-saving scheme that allows Police to disclose a person’s violent past to a partner or friend has been used 158 times since it was launched, say Police Minister Paula Bennett and Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“Since the scheme’s launch in December 2015, Police have approved 74 per cent of disclosure requests. Preventing family violence is a priority for Police and this scheme gives them another way to help reduce harm.”
A disclosure request can be made to Police by the partner of the potentially violent person or a concerned third party. Police can also proactively release information if they believe someone is at risk of violence from their partner.
“Police have told me about a disclosure they made to a young woman who was in a relationship with a man in his early 20s. He was known to have had multiple relationships with younger women where he became manipulative and used emotional abuse like threatening suicide if his partner left him. Police believed the woman was at risk as his behaviour was escalating towards becoming violent.
“When Police approached her to make the voluntary disclosure, she said she had seen the man’s behaviour deteriorating. As a result she made the decision to leave the relationship and move back in with family,” Mrs Bennett says.
“There have been too many cases where people have been unable to find out whether their partner, or the partner of someone close to them, has a history of violence,” says Ms Adams.
“This scheme allows people to make informed choices about their relationship and safety. We know that it has already helped a number of people to make the decision to remove themselves from a potentially violent relationship.”
Of the 158 requests made in the last 15 months, 117 have been requested proactively by Police while 41 have been by a third party. These requests have resulted in a total of 117 being approved for disclosures to be made.
Once a request has been received, a decision is made as to whether the disclosure can be made to individuals who must meet set criteria under the scheme’s policy.
Minister for Climate Change Issues Paula Bennett has announced details of a climate change action plan to be put in place with China.
The action plan is included in a package of bilateral initiatives announced today by the Prime Minister and visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. It gives practical effect to the broad approach set out in the New Zealand-China Climate Change Cooperation Arrangement signed by the two countries’ leaders in 2014.
“Both our countries are serious about responding to climate change and this arrangement will assist both of us in delivering on our long-term commitments under the Paris Agreement,” Mrs Bennett said.
“China is a key player in the global response to climate change and the implementation of China’s commitments under the Paris Agreement will be critical for its success.
“New Zealand has ambitious climate change targets backed by an emissions trading scheme that we are currently reviewing. China is rolling out its own emissions trading scheme, by far the largest ETS in the world, and is potentially an important future carbon markets partner.”
The action plan is a first step towards greater cooperation between Chinese and New Zealand carbon markets experts to share technical information and expertise on carbon markets and emission trading schemes, as well as agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation.
“Our two countries also plan to cooperate more in the international climate change negotiations,” Mrs Bennett said.
The decision to develop a climate action plan was taken by Mrs Bennett and China’s top official for climate change, Mr Zhang Yong, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, at the two countries’ first Ministerial dialogue under the 2014 Memorandum of Arrangement during Mr Zhang’s visit to New Zealand last month.
More information can be found here: https://mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/north-asia/china#climate
A new international agreement will focus on attracting high-value Chinese visitors who stay longer, spend more and travel independently says Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.
The 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism initiative was announced today by Prime Minister Bill English as part of an official visit from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
“China is our second biggest visitor market and tourism is a driver of economic growth and cultural understanding for both our countries. The agreement has potential to add to the $1.7 billion a year Chinese visitors spend in New Zealand,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Chinese tourist numbers have increased significantly in recent years and that growth is forecast to continue. The China-New Zealand Year of Tourism offers opportunities to build new relationships and foster current ones so both countries can achieve their tourism objectives.
“Our focus now is on encouraging tourists to visit outside of the peak season and to explore our regions, as well as our most iconic destinations. With 409,000 Chinese visiting our shores last year there is an incredible amount of potential to deliver even more benefits to our national and regional economies by pursuing these goals.”
Officials will be working with the China National Tourism Administration to establish a focus for the year that reflects the priorities and interests of both countries. The 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism was launched in February this year.
Tourism Minister Paula Bennett has thanked Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) for its tourism wish list worth $1.4 billion but rejects that most of these should be funded by Government.
LGNZ yesterday revealed details of a survey commissioned by Tourism Industry Aotearoa, which identified $1.4 billion of local infrastructure projects that might potentially be useful in responding to ongoing tourism growth.
“I absolutely agree that there are some areas of tourism infrastructure that need to be addressed and that some of these will need help from central Government. However, the list the LGNZ has referenced includes things like town halls, council facilities, airport runway extensions, airport upgrades and expressways,” Mrs Bennett says.
“These are either already funded by other areas of Government, are not considered a priority or should be funded by local councils. My priority is to support smaller councils with low rate bases with essential facilities. I am currently working with officials to establish how best to do this.
“Government is working with local councils to help with tourism infrastructure. Today we opened another round of the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund of $5.5 million to help co-fund things traditionally funded by local councils like public toilets, car parking facilities and freedom camping facilities. This comes on top of the $12 million announced in last year’s budget.
“I think most taxpayers would agree that restoring old council chambers is not a priority in terms of tourism infrastructure,” Mrs Bennett says.
Applications are open for up to $5.5 million in extra funding to help regional communities respond to visitor growth through new tourism infrastructure, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett announced today.
An additional funding round for the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund has been made available in response to the high quality and number of applications received in round one.
“This initiative was very popular, with forty applications received in the first round of funding, of which 26 were eligible,” says Mrs Bennett.
“With the initial $3 million available we approved 14 projects, like new toilets at Lake Tekapo and parking at Taranaki’s Rotokare Scenic Reserve. As well as our international guests, the new facilities also benefit local residents and domestic tourists.
“The first funding round tested demand for infrastructure support and we’ve responded accordingly. All original eligible applications will be reconsidered, as well as new applications that meet assessment criteria.
“The fund prioritises projects in councils with a low ratepayer base and will assess co-funding on ability to contribute, rather than total size of the contribution. Facilities like these are normally the sole responsibility of the local council but we have recognised the challenges that have come with growth in tourist numbers and are assisting where appropriate.
“With tourism now a $14.5 billion export earner, and 188,000 people working in the industry, these visitors are incredibly important to our economy, particularly in the regions.”
Budget 2016 allocated $12 million over four years for the fund. This $5.5 million additional funding is re-prioritised from underspend in the Tourism Growth Partnership fund. Funding for this financial year was fully allocated to 14 projects in the last round held in 2016.
Applications for the second round of the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund close on 12 April 2017. For more information visit http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/regional-mid-sized-tourism-facilities-grant-fund.
The number of people applying to join Police has hit a new high in 2017 following a successful summer recruitment campaign.
In January and February 1351 people applied to join Police, twice the number of applications at the same time in 2016. Police Minister Paula Bennett says the record numbers are a promising start following the Government’s announcement of 1125 new Police staff over the next four years.
“This is a positive first step towards our target of 880 new sworn officers by 2021. Interest in joining Police has been strong following Police’s summer recruitment drive, and the Government’s $500 million Safer Communities investment announced in February,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Along with completed applications, we’re also seeing more New Zealanders interested in joining the Police. More than 50,000 people visited the newcops.co.nz website in January, and there are more people taking steps to begin the recruitment process.
“What’s most exciting is the 61 per cent increase in women who were interested in becoming new cops in January compared with the same time last year. It’s a sign New Zealanders have confidence in our Police and want to play a part in keeping our communities safe.”
The Royal New Zealand Police College is currently preparing to train 220 additional police per year over the next four years and will double the average wing size from 40 to 80 recruits. For more information visit newcops.co.nz.
State Services Minister Paula Bennett has today welcomed the Better Public Services (BPS) results which have delivered improved outcomes for people, families and businesses across every target.
“When we set the BPS targets in 2012, we designed them to be challenging. Five years on they’re driving real improvements in the services government provides to New Zealanders to address complex and long-term issues,” Mrs Bennett says.
“None of the targets can be achieved by one agency working alone. Every one requires agencies to work together to combine their efforts and focus on what will make a difference in the lives of New Zealanders.
“More young people are getting education and qualifications to improve their employment prospects for the rest of their lives.
“Fewer children are getting rheumatic fever or being physically abused. There is less crime in our communities. More people are getting into work and off benefits. New Zealanders and businesses are spending less time engaging with government and are accessing high quality services online at a time that suits them.
“While not every result has been achieved, there has been progress made for each target that we’ve set. Across the ten results there are eleven targets. Seven targets are on track to be achieved. The remaining four are still making progress but need more work.
“The progress is not just numbers on a spreadsheet or lines on a graph. Every improvement is real, and means real changes for real people that are making a difference in their lives.
“This Government will continue to drive positive results from our Public Service, that’s why we’re working on refreshing the BPS with new challenging targets. We want Government departments to keep striving for positive results. Our new targets will be announced later this year and will give us a new set of priorities through until 2021,” Mrs Bennett says.
More information can be found here: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/node/8893
Result 1 – Reducing long-term welfare dependency: By 2018, reduce the number of people receiving main benefits by 25 per cent
57,000 fewer people on job seeker benefits in September 2016 than in September 2010. 8,000 fewer people on sole parent support from 2014 to 2016. An estimated 10.3 per cent of the working age population receiving a main benefit at the end of December 2016 – the lowest proportion since 2007, before the Global Financial Crisis hit.
Result 2 – Increase participation in early childhood education: By 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in ECE
The number of children participating in Early Childhood Education has increased from 94.7 per cent in March 2011 to 96.7 per cent in December 2016. To meet the target of 98 per cent will require only 782 additional children from a typical school entry cohort of 60,000.
Result 3 – Increase infant immunisation and reduce Rheumatic Fever: By 2017, 95 per cent of eight month olds fully immunised and the incidence of Rheumatic Fever reduced by two thirds
There was a 23 per cent reduction in the national rate of rheumatic fever from the baseline period starting in 2009. This is 40 fewer people being admitted to hospital in 2016. There were between 93-94 per cent of 8 month olds fully immunised, an 8 per cent increase since June 2012.
Result 4 – Reduce assaults on children: By 2017, reduce the number of children experiencing physical abuse by 5 per cent
The 10 year rise in children experiencing physical abuse has been stopped and the numbers reduced by around 5 per cent in the year to June 2016.
Result 5 – Increase proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2: By 2017, 85 per cent of 18 year olds will have achieved NCEA L2 or equivalent
The number of 18 year olds attaining NCEA Level 2 has increased by almost 11 per cent to 85.2 per cent, from 74.3 per cent in 2011.
Result 6 – Increase proportion of 25-34 year olds with NZQF L4 or above: By 2018, 60 per cent of 25-34 year olds will have a qualification at NZQF L4 or above
The number of 25-34 year olds with qualifications above NCEA Level 4 has increased from around 52 per cent in 2012 to 57.2 per cent in December 2016.
Result 7 – Reduce rates of total crime and youth crime: Reduce total crime by 20 per cent (2018): Violent crime by 20 per cent (2017): and youth crime by 25 per cent
Total crime is down 14 per cent since June 2011. Youth crime is down 32 per cent since June 2011.
Result 8 – Reduce reoffending: Reduce the reoffending rate by 25 per cent by 2017
The rate of reoffending has reduced by 4.4 per cent since June 2011. The reoffending rate has proved difficult to reduce, however the total number of re-offenders has reduced by 26 per cent.
Result 9 – NZ businesses have a one-stop online shop for all of government services and support: Business costs (effort) from dealing with government will reduce by 25% by 2017, through a year-on-year reduction in effort required to work with agencies; Government services to business will have similar key performance ratings as leading private sector firms by July 2017
The effort for businesses to deal with government has had a measurable reduction from 100 index points in 2012 to 93 in December 2016.
Result 10 – New Zealanders can complete their transactions with government easily in a digital environment: An average of 70 per cent of New Zealanders' most common transactions with government will be completed in a digital environment by 2017
The number of people completing their transactions with government online has increased from below 30 per cent in mid-2012 to nearly 60 per cent in 2016. In 2012 a number of the most common digital transactions were not even available. This includes renewing a passport, with over 50 per cent now being renewed online.
Police Minister Paula Bennett has announced that some provisions of the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016 will be amended.
“Since the commencement of the register concerns have been raised that the Act may not provide for the registration of some child sex offenders as was intended,” says Mrs Bennett. “There are 107 offenders who have been taken off the register who were intended to be on it.
The amendments are being introduced to Parliament today to make clear that the registration requirements apply to all child sex offenders that were intended to be registered when the Act came into force on 14 October 2016.
“Where the legislation has been challenging is in the situations where offenders who were convicted before the law came into effect but not sentenced, and those sentenced before and on release conditions when the legislation came into effect. To remove any doubt, we’re putting this through parliament under urgency to ensure those that were always intended to be registered are done so as soon as possible.
“Any retrospective law is complicated but we’ve seen a problem and we’re moving to fix it urgently.
“The 107 offenders have been monitored by Police and Corrections during the time they were taken off the register but there are certain additional conditions that they will now be subject to as a result of being placed back on the register,” Mrs Bennett says.