New laws will allow Police and Corrections to better ensure offenders in the community or defendants on bail are adhering to conditions not to consume alcohol or drugs, say Police Minister Paula Bennett and Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
“Harmful alcohol and drug use is a serious health issue and a major driver of crime. About half of crime is committed by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Mrs Bennett says.
“This new legislation allows Police and Corrections to monitor and test offenders and people on bail with conditions imposed by judges or the Parole Board not to consume alcohol or drugs. It allows staff to target those with the highest risk of causing alcohol-related harm with more intensive testing and monitoring.”
“The main form of testing will be urine testing, and Police will use existing breath-alcohol testing technology throughout the country,” Mrs Bennett says.
Some high-risk offenders and people on bail will be fitted with alcohol detection anklets as part of their monitoring. These anklets detect alcohol in sweat and provide evidence if they have consumed alcohol against their abstinence conditions.
Corrections and Police are trialling the technology with about 50 anklets for two years in the Northern Region before it is rolled out more widely.
“The law empowers staff to get evidence about drug or alcohol consumption. Staff can then take action, encouraging offenders who have stayed sober or giving further treatment or sanctions to offenders who have breached their conditions,” Ms Upston says.
“The aim is to reduce drug and alcohol-related harm in our communities by enabling Corrections and Police to better manage offenders in the community and defendants on bail. Negative tests can provide evidence of sobriety to employers and help offenders get a job.”
“The anklets are one more tool that can be considered when offenders and bailees with the highest risk of causing alcohol-related harm are in the community. Not everyone with an abstinence condition will be suitable for the trial,” Ms Upston says.
As part of an $8.6 million package from the Justice Sector fund last year, Corrections is also providing extra support to offenders with alcohol and drug needs.
Initiatives include:A 24/7 alcohol and drug support phone line for offenders/prisoners which will be staffed by experienced registered alcohol and drug practitioners. The ‘RecoveRing’ support line goes live on 24 May 2017 16 new alcohol and drug aftercare workers have been employed in prisons across the country since July last year 13 additional residential beds in treatment facilities for offenders with significant alcohol and drug needs (available until June 2018).
“Harmful alcohol and drug use is a major factor contributing to crime in our communities. Providing extra support to offenders who are struggling with addictions is a step towards helping them make a positive change to their lives,” Ms Upston says
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee have today announced that New Zealand will provide $1.3 million to support Fiji’s presidency of the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year.
“At last year’s conference in Marrakech, Fiji was selected to take up the role of president of this significant event,” Mrs Bennett says.
“This is a major undertaking for any country and these important talks will bring together climate experts officials and leaders from around the world.
“In addition to our financial support, New Zealand climate change ambassador Jo Tyndall will be available as an on-call adviser.”
Mr Brownlee says the conference will be important for maintaining momentum in negotiating the rules which will bring the Paris Agreement on climate change into effect.
“This is also the first time a Pacific Island nation has taken leadership of this conference.
“Given the significant impact of climate change on the Pacific, we are committed to supporting Fiji’s presidency and helping them to ensure the talks are successful,” Mr Brownlee says.
The conference begins on 6 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
New Zealand’s tourism sector is forecast to grow significantly over the next seven years, with international visitors projected to spend $15.3 billion a year by 2023, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett says.
Figures from the New Zealand Tourism Forecasts 2017-2023 released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), show the real value that tourism will continue to have to New Zealand’s economy.
“The figures released today confirm that New Zealand’s tourism sector is in good shape. Visitor arrivals are projected to reach 4.9 million annually by 2023 – up 39 per cent from the 3.5 million visitors who came here in 2016,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The Government is focused on helping the tourism sector attract visitors who bring value to our communities – those who spend more, stay longer and explore regions around New Zealand, as well as the main tourist spots.
“We still have work to do, but it’s great to see that the amount visitors spend per day is expected to grow by 9 per cent over the forecast period. For our second largest market, China, this figure is 17 per cent.
“Overall, international visitor spending is forecast to exceed $15 billion annually by 2023, up an impressive 52 per cent from annual visitor spending of $10 billion in 2016. This equates to a solid growth rate of over 6 per cent per annum, which is great news for our regional economies.
“The figures confirm the importance of China to our tourism industry; with China set to become our largest tourist market by spend. Chinese visitor spending will add $4.3 billion annually to our economy by 2023.
“Tourism is already our biggest export earner, and adds immense value to our country by directly employing over 180,000 people. With this strong growth, we must continue to ensure that our regions have the infrastructure and ability to meet the pressures that tourism brings.
“That’s why yesterday Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and I announced a $178 million tourism package that will help councils facing funding restraints to build the infrastructure they need and also enable the development of tourist facilities on conservation land and the expansion of the Great Walks network,” Mrs Bennett says.
The interactive web tool for users to explore the forecast results for key markets is available on MBIE’s website: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/international-tourism-forecasts
Tourism Minister Paula Bennett has today announced a new $102 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund which has been launched alongside $76 million in new funding for our most important tourism asset, the DOC Estate.
“Tourism is hugely important to New Zealand. It creates jobs and brings in billions of dollars to the economy. That’s why it’s important that we keep investing so we continue to attract high-value tourists and give them an amazing visitor experience,” Mrs Bennett says.
The Tourism Infrastructure Fund will provide $100 million over the next four years in partnership with local councils and other community organisations, for projects like new carparks, toilets and freedom camping facilities.
“The fund is about helping communities respond to demand and addressing capacity constraints. It will also facilitate future growth in some of our newer tourism regions as well as the main tourist hubs.
“Government is funding tourism in a number of different ways. That’s why the Tourism Infrastructure Fund has been announced alongside a $76 million funding increase for DOC to upgrade and develop tourist facilities on conservation land and to expand the great walks network.
“The Tourism Infrastructure Fund will provide infrastructure such as toilets and carparks, but we’re also prepared to consider projects like visitor information centres, and feasibility studies for infrastructure projects on a case-by-case basis as part of the fund.
“The industry has clearly told us that infrastructure is their top priority and we’ve responded to that. We’re moving from a focus of just boosting tourist numbers to also attracting higher-value tourists to all regions. This funding will ensure we have the capacity to do that.”
“Successful projects will demonstrate value for money and be co-funded by applicants, who will need to show that other funding options have been fully exhausted.
“Government is stepping in to help ensure we have the right infrastructure to support this important industry, especially in areas with high visitor numbers but small ratepayer bases. However, local government still has the lead role to play in building and maintaining that infrastructure. The private sector is also playing its part by investing in new and expanded commercial attractions and hotels.
“Government will continue to work with councils and the industry to consider larger tourism projects which will be funded outside of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. We’ve done this in the past with the Hundertwasser Art Centre in Northland and we’re open to considering other opportunities.
“Last year international tourism expenditure reached $14.5 billion, which is more than 20 per cent of New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services. It’s also a significant employer, generating around 188,000 jobs directly, and a further 144,000 indirectly,” Mrs Bennett says.
This fund is made up of $60.5 million in new money from Budget 2017 and $41.5 million in funds which have been reprioritised from the Tourism Growth Partnership and the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund. Of that, $2 million over four years has been provided to manage the fund.
A copy of the criteria for the fund is attached.
Police Minister Paula Bennett, Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne, today announced a new caller location system for 111 mobile phone calls that will improve public safety and help save lives.
“The new system will automatically provide emergency services with a probable location of a caller when they dial 111,” Mrs Bennett says.
“It will still be important for 111 callers to tell emergency services operators where they are. However, if the caller doesn’t know their address or exact whereabouts, the new system will automatically provide emergency services with a more precise location of a 111 caller than is currently the case.”
Each year, there are more than two million calls to emergency services. Last year, more than 80 per cent of calls to 111 were made from a mobile phone, and Police recorded over 1,800 incidents where they had to make a special information request to a network provider for a caller’s location.
“Where people can’t give an accurate address emergency services can experience real difficulty pinpointing the caller’s location,” Mr Dunne says.
“This new system will enable police, fire and ambulance services to respond more quickly to emergency events from mobile phones, as they will have more accurate information about the caller’s location.”
The level of location accuracy will still vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of mobile phone and the location source available.
“This solution sees New Zealand leading the way in emergency response systems, alongside the United Kingdom and other European countries. New Zealand is the first country outside of Europe to go live with Google’s Android Emergency Location service nationally,” Mr Bridges says.
“Technology is changing the way people and communities interact. As we continue to use technology to improve New Zealand, it’s important that we strike a balance between innovation, security and privacy protection.”
Minister Bridges says the project team worked closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to address any privacy concerns in developing the new system.
“I appreciate that some people may have concerns around privacy, which is why the phone’s location services are switched on only when the 111 call is made and then returned to the caller’s original settings within 25 seconds of the 111 call being initiated. All location data will only be held for 60 minutes and will then be deleted,” Mr Bridges says.
Further information about the Emergency Caller Location Information system is available at:
Women’s Minister Paula Bennett has today announced that the Government has reached its target of appointing 45 per cent of women to state sector boards and committees, the highest percentage ever.
“The government set this target in 2011 and now we’ve reached 45.3 per cent of women on state sector boards. This has been a priority for us and I’m now determined to not only maintain this level but increase it even further,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Research shows the benefits of gender diversity on boards. It’s important the state sector leads by example. I’m now challenging the private sector to catch up. The boards of NZX-listed companies still only have 17 per cent women and that’s quite frankly not good enough.
“There’s still more work to be done in the state sector but this is a real milestone. We need to continue to encourage and support women into leadership roles. I encourage all New Zealand organisations to strive for greater diversity in their workforce and leadership,” Mrs Bennett said.
The gender stocktake of State sector boards and committees is undertaken annually by the Ministry for Women. It counts the Ministerial appointments to state sector boards and committees as at 31 December 2016.
The full stocktake is available at http://women.govt.nz/documents/2016-gender-stocktake-state-sector-boards-and-committees-2017
A refresh of the Better Public Services targets will further improve the lives of New Zealanders, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says.
Prime Minister Bill English today outlined a new set of 10 targets which set the Government’s expectations for the public service, building on the success of the initial targets set in 2012.
“These targets are challenging. They won’t all be easily achieved but we’re not here to shy away from these challenges, we’re here to change lives,” Mrs Bennett says.
The new targets include:Having 90 per cent of pregnant women register with a Lead Maternity Carer in their first trimester Reducing the number of hospitalisations for children 12 and under with preventable conditions Improving the literacy and numeracy of children – focussing on higher achievement of students in year 8 Reducing the number of serious crime victims by 10,000 Achieving a 20 per cent reduction in the time it takes to house priority clients on the social housing register.
“Since we set the initial targets in 2012 we’ve made significant improvements to the lives of New Zealanders and we want to continue to build on that,” Mrs Bennett says.
“The previous targets saw fewer children getting rheumatic fever and being physically abused, helped make our communities safer and saw more people get off benefits and into work. These are the sorts of results that make a real difference to Kiwi families.
“We’re taking an all of government approach to ensure that the things that matter to New Zealanders are achieved. We’re focussing on education, having proper access to health and housing, having fewer victims of crime and making sure that our public services are accessible to all.”
The BPS targets also come with performance measures for the Ministries responsible for them. They will be a key part of Chief Executives’ performance reviews and will be published in departments’ annual reports,” Mrs Bennett says.
An action plan for each new result will be released in the coming months.
More information about BPS can be found HERE.
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Finance Minister Steven Joyce have asked the Productivity Commission to review how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower carbon economy.
“This next step in our climate change work programme will enable us to properly assess the economic trade-offs that we’ll need to make to meet our ambitious 2030 Paris Agreement target,” says Mrs Bennett.
“In the long-term – 2030 and beyond – New Zealand will likely need to further reduce its domestic emissions in addition to the use of forestry offsets and international emissions reduction units, although these will continue to remain an important part of the country’s climate change response for meeting our targets.”
“New Zealand’s domestic response to climate change is, and will be in the future, shaped by our position as a small, globally connected and trade-dependent country” says Mr Joyce. “The Productivity Commission is well-placed to dispassionately assess which of the many ways of reducing emissions will make the most economic sense for New Zealand.”
Given that climate change is an economy wide-issue, the Commission will be able to draw considerable expertise from a range of stakeholders including: central and local government, the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group, relevant industry and NGO groups, scientific and academic bodies and the general public.
The government is already taking action to support meeting the 2030 target of the Paris Agreement, this includes:Reviewing the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme Encouraging the up-take of electric vehicles and other energy efficiency technologies; and Establishing the Global Research Alliance to fund research into emissions mitigation in pasture based livestock systems.
“This complements the work undertaken by the Parliamentary cross-party group GLOBE NZ, as well as the Government’s expert advisory groups on agriculture, forestry and adaptation,” says Mrs Bennett.
“We look forward to the final report and recommendations for how New Zealand should manage a transition to a lower net emissions economy, while still maintaining and improving the incomes and prosperity of New Zealanders,” says Mr Joyce.
The Commission will report back by 30 June 2018.
Two members of New Zealand’s firearms community will provide independent advice on the recent Select Committee report into illegal firearms use, says Police Minister Paula Bennett.
Outdoors professional Geoff Thomas and firearms safety specialist Nicole McKee will provide advice on the twenty recommendations proposed by Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee.
“I come from a family of hunters and fishers so I know how important it is that we get this right. I want to see laws that are tough on gangs and criminals, but don’t unduly burden responsible firearms owners,” says Mrs Bennett.
“I have had an initial look at the report and can already see a number of recommendations that will not be progressed. Police are working on a response, however I think it’s important to also get independent advice directly from the firearms community.”
Geoff Thomas has worked professionally in the outdoors field for more than 40 years. While intimately involved in recreational hunting, Mr Thomas provides an independent perspective and years of experience with the hunting community.
Nicole McKee is the founder of Firearms Safety Specialists NZ Limited, has held national and regional shooting titles and is a New Zealand Representative. Along with being a member of a number of firearms clubs, Mrs McKee has extensive experience in assessing NZ Police volunteer firearms instructors and Range Officer courses.