Work is set to start next month on a cycleway through central Dunedin that will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and all road users, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“Fulton Hogan has been awarded an $8 million contract to build new cycle lanes on the north and southbound streets of the State Highway 1 one-way system between the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and Queens Gardens,” Mr Bridges says.
“This project will improve cycle safety on the one-way system through central Dunedin, a busy route that has to balance the competing needs of heavy freight vehicles and general traffic, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.”
The work involves replacement of the existing painted cycle lanes, which sit directly next to busy traffic lanes and placing new cycle lanes alongside the footpath, together with a series of islands to keep highway traffic and cyclists separated.
Another critical element of the work is a focus on improving pedestrian safety, with new traffic signals planned and existing traffic signal operations being upgraded to increase the protection for pedestrians when crossing.
In addition to improving the safety of the one-way system for everyone, the new cycle lanes will create better linkages to central city locations including the University, Polytechnic, hospital and the central city itself. It will also provide more convenient connections to the wider network of urban cycle routes being developed by the Dunedin City Council.
“I would like to acknowledge Dunedin based National List MP Michael Woodhouse for his strong advocacy in ensuring Crown funding was available once the plan for the cycleway had been finalised,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is one of the early projects in a work programme to create a Dunedin transport system with better, safer connections and more choices for people to move around, whether it’s by cycling, walking, driving or catching a bus.”
The cycleway is part of the Urban Cycleways Programme, which is delivering $333 million of new cycleway projects throughout the country. This is the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history.
More details about this project can be found at: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/dunedin-sh1-cycle-lane-safety-improvements-project/
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced Government funding of $50,000 for the Bay of Plenty to look at economic growth opportunities through the use of water across the region.
The announcement was made at the Bay of Connections Forum today in Rotorua where a refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan was launched.
“The Bay of Plenty region is blessed with the natural resource of water from its coastal and lake environments. It underpins economic growth opportunities across most of the key industries in the region – horticulture, forestry, agriculture and tourism,” Mr Bridges says.
The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund and has been matched by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It will enable the council to undertake a strategic water management study that could feed into a Water Management Plan for the region.
“This study will provide invaluable information to help ensure the region’s water is responsibly managed for the benefit of everybody in the area. It will help determine the need for water infrastructure, where it’s most needed and for what purpose,” Mr Guy says.
“Good water storage schemes are a foundation for responsible water management and communities become more resilient as a reliable water supply provides economic, environmental, cultural, recreational and social benefits.
“The study will help underpin the future direction of sustainable economic growth in the region. Without this work being done the opportunities for the best capture and use of fresh water in the region may not be fully recognised,” Mr Guy says.
The refreshed action plan reflects 46 completed or reassigned milestones and 38 new actions for the region. The region’s original action plan was launched in October 2015.
The action plan is regionally led and is supported by central government and represents a collaboration between local and central government, business and iwi.
The implementation of the plan is overseen by the Bay of Connections with the support from central government’s Regional Growth Programme. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found at: www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/bop
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have welcomed a refresh of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan which was launched at the Bay of Connections forum in Rotorua today.
The refreshed action plan reflects 46 completed or reassigned milestones and 38 new actions for the region. It follows the announcement of a new $8.42 million Regional Research Institute in Tauranga, centred on horticulture.
“It is fantastic to see the rapid progress that has been made in implementing the plan so far. Successes include savings and improved efficiencies in moving freight to the Port, the development of a Maori youth strategy and projects to increase jobs in the Kiwifruit industry,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand’s strongest growing regions, with an increase of 7.7 per cent in GDP in the last year. A wide range of sectors contribute to the success of the region, including horticulture, forestry, agriculture and tourism.
“The addition of the Regional Research Institute will further leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture, particularly kiwifruit,” Mr Bridges says.
“These are great achievements but there are still significant opportunities to increase incomes and employment in the region through attracting new investment and increasing productivity and export prices. The plan’s refresh aims to tackle these opportunities,” Mr Guy says.
Key new actions include the development of Plantech, a new Regional Research Institute in Tauranga, the implementation of regional tourism priorities to support growth of the visitor economy to $2.5 billion by 2030, improvement in Maori Land Utilisation plus more initiatives from the Tertiary Intentions Leadership Group.
“The Bay of Plenty has a very productive and diverse horticulture, forestry and agriculture sector. A lot has already been achieved over the past 18 months to support the continued growth of primary industries in the region. The new initiatives announced today will ensure that momentum is maintained in the sector to support the region’s economic growth,” Mr Guy says.
“The refreshed action plan highlights the importance of maximising infrastructure. Funding was announced today to enable the region to look at economic growth opportunities through the use of water which will benefit many of the key industries in the region. This work will provide invaluable information to help ensure the region’s water is responsibly managed for the benefit of everybody in the area.”
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.
The Government has joined the West Coast region to launch the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan in Hokitika today.
The Action Plan identifies five priorities for lifting economic growth - better economic development support, growing the West Coast visitor economy, making it easier to invest and do business, supporting economic diversification, and improving connectivity and infrastructure.
“The Government is committed to supporting the West Coast economy to grow and become more resilient. That’s why we’re partnering with the region through this Action Plan to invest up to $36.8 million in areas like tourism, ICT and primary industries,” Mr Bridges says.
“This includes $11 million for a new Regional Research Institute that will use innovative research and manufacturing techniques to unlock the potential of New Zealand’s minerals resources.
“As part of the 2016 Growth Study, opportunities were identified in sectors that could provide future employment. This is now the catalyst for implementing a number of projects including investing in growing the Coast’s digital economy.
“Connectivity, and enabling people and businesses to make the most of this connectivity, is vital for the region to grow, and to attract and retain digital businesses, entrepreneurs and skills,” Mr Bridges says.
“The West Coast’s natural resources and its microclimates are encouraging a number of niche primary sector initiatives which are outlined in the action plan,” Ms Upston says.
“We want to see if we can grow these industries into something bigger as they could provide substantial future employment opportunities.”
Ms Upston said whitebaiting is iconic to the West Coast and there are only a few commercial whitebait operations.
“An initiative in the Plan will look at potential risks to the sustainability of whitebaiting, as well as at protecting spawning sites. This work has the long term goal of developing a sustainable wild whitebait fishery on the West Coast,” Ms Upston says
In addition, the government will look at options to change legislation enabling ongoing access to timber on Public Conservation Land that is felled as a result of natural events.
Another initiative will explore using a social enterprise approach to developing new opportunities for horticulture, food and beverage in Karamea, and potentially throughout the region.
The implementation of the Plan will be overseen by the West Coast Regional Growth Governance Group with support from central government’s Regional Growth Programme.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced an $18.5 million package of transport projects for the West Coast to help improve the region’s transport network.
The Government launched today the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan.
“The West Coast’s distance from the main employment and business centres in the South Island and wider New Zealand means it is very dependent on safe and reliable transport links,” Mr Bridges says.
“The road network is particularly important for business connections and freight flows. That’s why we’re announcing a package of initiatives to improve safety and resilience of the region’s roads.
“An addition to the package is the replacement of one of the last single-lane bridges in the region - Ahaura Bridge on State Highway 7 between Greymouth and Springs Junction – with a new two lane bridge at a cost of up to $15 million.
“The last remaining single lane bridge on the route, Stony Creek Bridge, which is expected to cost $3.5 million will also be replaced, with a Detailed Business Case for the replacement getting underway in the next year.
“Good progress is being made on the new two-lane road bridge over the Taramakau River. Completion of this long-awaited bridge at the end of next year will significantly improve safety, travel times and the journey experience for everyone.
“It will provide an important connection for freight through to Canterbury and Otago, and separate road, rail and cycling/pedestrian traffic, making it safer for all travellers. These improved cycle links will help grow the tourism opportunities that are developing along the West Coast, such as the Wilderness Trail,” Mr Bridges says.
Construction of the two new bridges being built on SH7, between Greymouth and Reefton, will help strength the network and provide even better connections.
The Government has already committed to spending $3.5 million in the next years for more no-passing lines and keep-left arrows, improving signage and installing safety barriers along SH6 and SH73, as part of its programme to improve safety for visiting drivers.
“Our investment is focused on road resilience and safer visitor routes. The New Zealand Transport Agency will work with local authorities and the Regional Transport Committee to keep improving the West Coast network to support the region’s economic prosperity,” Mr Bridges says.
Background for editors
Regional economic development is a key part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. The West Coast was included in the Government’s Regional Growth Programme in November 2015. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/west-coast
The Government has announced a comprehensive strategy to reduce the number of at-risk young people not in employment or training in regional New Zealand.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith joined Prime Minister Bill English who made the announcement at Mr Apple in Hawke’s Bay today.
The $50 million initiative is funded from Budget 2017 and will be delivered as part of the Regional Growth Programme. It will see central and local government partner with Iwi, businesses and support agencies, in order to plan, implement and fund interventions that are unique and tailored to each region.
“Getting young people into long-term employment is a key component of sustained regional economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
“The four regions we’re targeting have a high proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training. But they also have strong primary industries, and other sectors, hungry to employ local talent.
“This programme will match those youth to the employers and through intensive pastoral work, tailored to each region and individual, keep them in employment.
“We will work to understand the specific needs of the young people most at risk of long term unemployment while also making clear the obligations that come with this initiative. Young people who are receiving income support have a responsibility to engage with the programme and do what they can to successfully move into education or employment.
“Our aim is to create locally driven solutions which get young people engaged and ready to fill available vacancies in their region,” Mr Bridges says.
“We know that getting young people into employment can transform lives. While many will move into education, training or employment in their own time, a small number of young people need more targeted help,” Mrs Tolley says.
“This programme deliberately targets young people with complex needs and at risk of being long term unemployed without the right support systems.
“We want to ensure these young people have the right mix of support and obligations. We are also focused on reducing barriers to employment, and we want to actively support youth to address recreational drug use.
“This is about delivering a local approach that works hand in hand with these young people to make locally run support services more accessible, and to ensure that they build the skills they need to find work in their region,” Mrs Tolley says.
The strategy follows the model tested by trials such as Kaikohe Grow in Northland, and Project 1000 in Hawkes’ Bay, which have a number of youth on or in a pathway into employment.
“This Government is doing more than ever before to connect our young people to education and employment,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“This programme will focus on providing young people in the regions with greater access to support, work readiness programmes, training, education and direct access to employment.
“The result will be a pool of employable young people, working for regional employers, which in turn will support social and economic growth in each region,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The final piece of Christchurch’s architecturally designed ‘gateway arches’ is in place, signalling how close another of the city’s multi-million dollar roading projects is to completion, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
The arches and a major interchange are being constructed at the intersection of Russley Road and Memorial Avenue, near Christchurch Airport, as part of the $112 million State Highway 1 Russley Road Upgrade.
Mr Bridges says the top piece of the arches was put in place this morning with the help of a 180 tonne crane.
“The top piece (or arch cap) weighs in at 13.5 tonnes and connects the gateway arches, which now stand 27 metres above Memorial Avenue,” Mr Bridges says.
“The structure is set to become a powerful symbol for Christchurch. It will leave a lasting impression on locals and travellers alike and it is exciting to see it in place.
“What is even more exciting is just how close the Russley Road Upgrade is to completion.
“This milestone will allow the project to complete the remainder of the interchange below the structure. By mid-August traffic will be able to travel under the new interchange and by early 2018 the whole project will be complete – months ahead of schedule.”
Mr Bridges says the Government is investing $3.2 billion into transport in the Canterbury region in the current three year National Land Transport Programme.
“The investment is focused on the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake recovery, completing the Christchurch earthquake recovery work and continuing the Christchurch Roads of National Significance (RoNS) projects, such as the Russley Road Upgrade,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Christchurch RoNS will open up the Canterbury region and support economic development and growth. As well as making a real difference to the lives of road users by improving safety and travel times.”
More information about the Russley Road Upgrade and other Christchurch RoNS can be found here.
Note to editorsThe arches were architecturally designed by Warren and Mahoney The design – finalised after a competition and iwi input - draws on the crossing of paths, the Southern Alps, braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains and the excitement of travel The arches are made up of 30 separate sections There is 400 tonnes of steel in the arches The arches were prefabricated in Napier and transported by road to the Russley Road Upgrade site Arch sections began arriving on site in December 2016 and in January 2017 the project team began locking the first sections into place. The highest point will be 27 metres above Memorial Avenue Two 180 tonne cranes were used to lift the final part into place The gateway arches will be painted white later this year when weather permits
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has officially opened a new section of the Omokoroa to Tauranga City cycleway that will link this growing area.
Mr Bridges today opened the 1.1 kilometre section which will connect Tinopai Reserve to Lynley Park.
“This section of the Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway runs alongside the harbour providing great views and opportunities to see local birdlife,” Mr Bridges says.
“When it is finished next year, the entire 19 kilometre cycleway will link Omokoroa with Tauranga City’s existing urban cycleway network, giving people the choice of walking and biking around their communities, to school and to work.”
This section of the Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway is being jointly funded by the Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund,
Western Bay of Plenty District Council, NZ Community Trust and the Omokoroa Community Board.
“This project is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work in partnership,” Mr Bridges says.
“In the Western Bay of Plenty approximately $17 million is expected to be injected into cycling projects such as this one over the next three years thanks to joint funding from the Government, local councils and local businesses.”
The cycleway is part of the Urban Cycleways Programme, which is delivering $333 million of new cycleway projects throughout the country. This is the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history.
More information about the programme can be found at: www.nzta.govt.nz/UCP
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.