Transport Minister Simon Bridges has appointed Captain James (Jim) Veere Dilley to the Oil Pollution Advisory Committee (OPAC) for an open-ended term, commencing on 11 August 2017.
OPAC gives advice to Maritime New Zealand on matters related to marine oil spills, and the fixing and levying of oil pollution levies.
“Captain Dilley has wide-ranging experience in the marine sector, including 12 years of experience with marine oil spill responses, having worked as a Regional and National On-Scene Commander,” Mr Bridges says.
Captain Dilley has also previously served as Harbourmaster for Canterbury and as Deputy Harbourmaster for Auckland. In each role, he implemented the region’s Port and Harbour Safety Code.
“Captain Dilley’s appointment will bring a new perspective to OPAC, as well as complement the current committee team,” Mr Bridges says.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed the start of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) build in four more regional towns as the extension of the Government’s broadband programme continues to roll out across the country.
In January the Government announced an investment of $300 million to extend UFB to another 423,000 New Zealanders across a further 151 towns.
“Having access to fast and reliable broadband is critical to growing our regional economies and to New Zealand’s future,” Mr Bridges says.
“Over one million New Zealand households and businesses already have access to fibre. Our plan to extend UFB is now underway in 12 towns and areas, with the build starting in Omokoroa, Te Puna, Ngaruawahia and Stratford this month.
“Once the UFB build is completed by the end of 2024, approximately 85 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to speeds of close to 1,000 Megabits per second.
“This means more productive businesses, improvements to health care through video-conferencing between doctors, specialists and patients, and improved access to online resources for students and teachers,” Mr Bridges says.
Further information is available at www.broadband.govt.nz. A list of the areas that are receiving access to UFB in each region and an indication of timing for the rollout is available on Crown Fibre Holdings website here.
Information on new builds
Omokoroa and Te Puna (Bay of Plenty region)
In total, the Government is investing around $106 million to deliver UFB in the Bay of Plenty region. The build in Omokoroa will be completed in mid-2018, and Te Puna in the first half of 2019, providing 1,872 premises with access to UFB. Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Te Puke, Kawerau, Katikati, Opotiki and Ohope/Coastlands, among other areas in the region.
Ngaruawahia (Waikato region)
In total, the Government is investing around $170 million to deliver UFB in the Waikato region. The build in Ngaruawahia will be completed in mid-2018, providing 1,877 premises with access to UFB. Cambridge, Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Taupo and Tokoroa already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Waihi, Thames, Morrinsville and Matamata, among other areas in the region.
Stratford (Taranaki region)
In total, the Government is investing around $32 million to deliver UFB in the Taranaki region. The build in Stratford will be completed in mid-2018, providing 2,756 premises with access to UFB. Hawera and New Plymouth already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Waitara, Inglewood, Eltham and Opunake, among other areas in the region.
Almost 1.2 million New Zealand households and businesses now have access to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB), Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.
The June 2017 Quarterly Broadband Update released today shows that deployment for phase one of the UFB programme is close to 80 per cent complete, providing 1,185,351 New Zealand households and businesses with the ability to access UFB.
“Our UFB programme is making fantastic progress. We’re fast approaching our target of 1.5 million households and businesses being able to connect to UFB by 2019, and for 85 per cent of New Zealanders to be able to connect by 2024,” Mr Bridges says.
“The update for this quarter also shows New Zealanders’ continued strong demand for UFB, consistent with previous updates. The number of households, business, schools and hospitals connected to UFB has increased 12 per cent in the past three months to 413,047.
“The UFB build is now fully completed in 22 cities and towns across New Zealand and as the rollout gathers pace, many more Kiwis will soon have access to this world-class fibre.
“UFB provides speeds of close to 1,000 Megabits per second, allowing households and businesses to have near-instant access to information, entertainment and online tools that allow them to do more,” Mr Bridges says.
The Government has allocated approximately $2 billion to deliver better connectivity to New Zealanders through the UFB programme and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
The first phase of RBI delivered faster broadband to over 300,000 rural households, businesses, schools and hospitals outside of UFB areas. An announcement about the areas that will receive coverage under the second phase of RBI and the Mobile Black Spot Fund will be made soon.
The latest Quarterly Broadband Update is available http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-comm....
Further information about the Government’s UFB and RBI programmes is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.
Operators of electric vehicles (EVs) are set to benefit from rule changes which will see heavy electric vehicles exempt from road user charges and potentially allow drivers of electric vehicles to use bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
From 1 September 2017 heavy EVs will be exempt from road user charges, which otherwise apply to vehicles that do not pay for petrol at the pump, until they make up two per cent of New Zealand’s heavy vehicle fleet.
“Light EVs are already exempt from paying road user charges until 31 December 2021. On top of all of the other benefits that EVs generate, extending this exemption to heavy EVs will offer a significant cost reduction to the operators of these vehicles,” Mr Bridges says.
Changes have also been made to Land Transport rules, which from 1 September, will enable road controlling authorities, such as the NZ Transport Agency and local and regional councils, to make bylaws to allow EVs access to special vehicle lanes, such as those dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles.
“The positive acceptance of EVs in New Zealand is having real benefits. We are now offering more choice in new EVs than ever before. We are also seeing an increase in the number of used EVs importers are bringing into the country,” Mr Bridges says.
“It is great that both private and public sector organisations are helping uptake by choosing EVs over conventional petrol or diesel vehicles for their fleets.
“Over the past year we’ve also seen an increase in businesses opting for EVs as non-passenger vehicles, including light vans for food delivery, public transport and refuse trucks, all of which are great uses for EVs. We want to see this extend to operators of heavy vehicles as well with these latest changes designed to encourage this growth.
“Going electric is not only good for business, but makes best use of New Zealand’s plentiful renewable energy supply, improves air quality and minimises greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Bridges says.
In May 2016, the Government announced its Electric Vehicle Programme, a wide ranging package of measures to encourage the uptake of EVs in New Zealand. The target is to double the fleet each year, reaching 64,000 EV registrations by the end of 2021.
Note to editors
In May last year, the Government set a target to double electric vehicle, or EV registrations each year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021. An EV has a different engine to a petrol or diesel fuelled car – it has a motor that is powered by a battery which can be charged by plugging it into an electric power point (a bit like charging your cell phone battery).
For more information about electric vehicles visit www.electricvehicles.govt.nz
For more information about the special vehicle lanes visit www.nzta.govt.nz/ev-special-vehicle-lanes
KiwiRail has linked up the track between Picton and Christchurch for the first time since November’s Kaikoura earthquake devastated the line, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today.
“Staff held a small ceremony near Rakautara, north of Kaikoura this morning, and completed the final weld,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is an important milestone in getting the line open again, and in easing the pressure on upper South Island roads.”
Teams from around the country have been working to replace twisted track, rebuild bridges, repair tunnels, and clear enormous slips along the route in order to get freight moving again on rail in the South Island.
“The line is a critical component of the New Zealand transport network, carrying around 1 million tonnes of freight annually before the earthquake,” Mr Bridges says.
“While there is still work to be done, KiwiRail is making good progress towards returning freight services to this route.
“Getting it open will ease pressure on the alternate road, which has been the main route to shift freight south since the earthquake closed the coastal road and rail networks. It will also help with the reinstatement of State Highway 1 and the railway by moving materials to worksites along the route.
“A lot of work still remains to be done, but the workers from KiwiRail and its partners in the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance have done a great job getting it to this stage,” Mr Bridges says.
There were close to 60 major damage sites including tunnels, bridges, embankments, and the line had been buried under more than 100 slips and landslides. Approximately 60 bridges were damaged and repairs are being carried out at more than 750 sites.
“The Government is committed to restoring the road and rail services along this important coastal corridor, and it is great to see the significant progress being made,” Mr Bridges says.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges will introduce a Bill to Parliament today that brings New Zealand’s telecommunications regulatory framework into the 21st century.
“The telecommunications market is changing, with new technologies, shifting consumer behaviour and evolving business models. Alongside this, consumers have vastly improved connectivity through the Government’s $2 billion rollout of world-leading communications infrastructure, with more to come,” Mr Bridges says.
The Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill is the outcome of an extensive consultation process that was undertaken between 2015 and 2017.
The Bill introduces a more predictable utility regulation model for Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre, deregulates copper lines where fibre is available, and includes measures that will improve the quality of service for consumers by increasing regulatory oversight.
“We need to ensure the regulatory settings continue to be fit-for-purpose and support the evolution of this fast-moving sector,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Bill supports the shift to fibre as the technology of choice among an increasing number of consumers, by establishing a stable and predictable framework for regulating fibre and by removing copper regulation from 2020.
“To ensure that consumers are protected, copper will continue to be regulated outside of fibre coverage areas. Safeguards will make sure that customers do not lose their copper landline or broadband unless there is an alternative service available at a comparable price and service level,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bill introduces a number of other changes that are aimed at lifting consumer service quality in the telecommunications sector. This includes: requiring the Commerce Commission to regularly report on retail service quality in a more accessible way and to review the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service regularly to ensure it is working effectively.
The Commission will also be able to make codes that address retail service quality, if the industry fails to develop industry-led codes that are adequate.
“These changes are intended to enhance industry responsiveness to consumer needs. Telecommunications services are a vital part of everyday life and business in New Zealand, and the level of service needs to reflect this,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bill is set down for its first reading this month.
More information on the Telecommunications Act review, including a link to the draft Bill, is available here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/regulating-the-telecommunications-sector/review-of-the-telecommunications-act-2001.
National is committing up to $267 million of investment over the next three years in the Auckland and Wellington commuter rail networks to support future passenger growth.
The package includes the electrification of the Papakura to Pukekohe rail line, adding a Third Main Line from Wiri to Westfield and double-tracking the Wellington commuter network between Trentham and Upper Hutt.
“Commuter rail has experienced strong growth in Auckland and Wellington. The National-led Government is continuing its already considerable investment in public transport with a further $267 million investment in commuter rail,” Mr Bridges says.
“In Auckland we will invest $130 million to electrifythe track between Papakura and Pukekohe to support these important growth areas in the south and provide a more reliable and efficient services for commuters.
“Electrification is a key element of the National led government’s focus on supporting a cohesive, efficient transport system for Auckland.
“Auckland’s population growth has meant more commuter trains using the rail network around Auckland and competing with the growing number of freight trains using this important corridor.
“We’re committing to invest $100 million for a Third Main Line from Wiri to Westfield providing a dedicated freight line. This will increase the efficiency of this important corridor, allow for greater frequency, improve travel times and provide more reliability for commuters.
“We’ve worked closed with Council to come up with a long-term, fully costed plan to deliver the transport system Auckland needs over the next 30 years.
“This means we’re investing in the right projects, at the right times. Projects like the City Rail Link which will deliver a step change in Auckland’s commuter rail network.
“We are also announcing a $37 million Wellington Commuter Package. This will further enhance the reliability of Wellington’s commuter rail network and builds on Budget 2017’s $98.4 million investment in Wellington’s commuter rail network.
Wellington’s commuter rail package includes:
- A full double track on the Hutt Valley Line between Upper Hutt and Trentham - $22 million
- A third platform for Porirua Station - $3.5 million
- A turn-back facility at Plimmerton - $2.5 million
- Upgrade of bridges and slopes - $9 million
- Upgrade of ‘Park and Ride’ facilities for the Kapiti and Hutt Valley Lines
- A programme to integrate and optimise rail and bus services.
“The Wellington commuter rail package will enable a more reliable, efficient and frequent commuter service in Wellington. These improvements will support the growing the patronage of these services, Mr Bridges says.
“Together these projects represent a $267 million investment in commuter rail in our biggest cities commuter rail networks.
Questions and Answers
Why invest in this package of commuter rail improvements?
The Auckland and Wellington’s commuter rail networks are seeing strong growth and we want to ensure that the required investment is done to support this.
The area of South Auckland in particular is providing a significant part of Auckland’s growth with 21,000 more new houses planned in Drury, Pukekohe and Paerata. The two Auckland rail projects will help cater for that growth.
They will also help ensure the full benefits of the City Rail Link are realised when it opens.
How will these projects be funded?
They will be fully funded over the next four years through the Government’s overall capital budget we committed to in Budget 2017.
Is funding from the new kiwirail capital budget announced in budget 2017?
No, it’s in addition to the $450 million KiwiRail capital budget announced in Budget 2017.
Are you expecting the auckland council and the greater wellington regional council to make a contribution to these projects?
No. The Councils are contributing to other transport investments in their respective regions. The costs of electrification and the track network have been historically met by the Government.
Can you provide more detail on what the third main line project is?
The Third Main Line is a proposed third rail line that would be built in South Auckland (alongside the two current rail lines) between Wiri and Westfield.
Currently, these two lines carry a mix of commuter rail services, inter-regional freight trains and freight shunts between the Ports of Auckland and Wiri.
The current configuration, with two lines, is reaching its maximum operational capacity during peak periods as a result of the mixture of freight and passenger rail traffic.
When will work on the third main line start and finish?
Design work for the Third Main Line is reasonably well advanced.
Concept designs for all track, signalling and electrification have been finalised. Completion of the detailed design will take approximately 6 months.
We will seek to start work as soon as possible, ideally before the end of next year (2018) but that will be dependent on resource consent and possible property acquisitions.
We intend to complete it before the City Rail Link is finished – to help ensure the Southern Line can utilise the extra capacity for trains provided by the City Rail Link.
Does electrifying the line to Pukekohe mean that those commuting between Pukekohe and the City will no longer need to the change trains at Papakura?
That’s exactly right. The electrification will result in an 11 minute travel time saving for people from south of Papakura.
Does this mean that the recent announcement from Auckland Transport that they are spending $200 million on new electric units is no longer necessary?
No, not at all.
In fact the electrification of the Southern Line to Pukekohe means that Auckland Council’s proposed purchase of electric battery-powered trains could extend single services as far south as Pokeno.
The proposed new electric battery-powered trains will also be used on other parts of the City’s network, particularly out West, and could support increased growth across the city’s network.
Why is this Wellington Package so important?
The Wellington package is needed to optimise the train network in the region, reduce timetable delays and improve journey time reliability.
The double tracking between Trentham and Upper Hutt will remove a major bottleneck for trains travelling to Upper Hutt and to the Wairarapa. This will greatly improve reliability of those services.
The improvements on the Kapiti line will allow for more services to be introduced that terminate at Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay.
More flexibility in small passenger services, mandatory alcohol interlock sentences, and tougher penalties for fleeing drivers will all become law following the passing of the Land Transport Amendment Bill today, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says the Bill aims to promote better regulation, improved safety, and greater economic growth and productivity.
“New technologies are rapidly emerging, so we need to ensure we have the right regulations in place to allow innovation to thrive while managing safety risks,” Mr Bridges says.
“Smartphone apps and other advances in technology have changed how the small passenger service sector can operate.
“This Bill creates a single, simple category for all small passenger services, provides greater flexibility for emerging business models and encourages innovation, while ensuring safety for drivers and passengers.
“This Bill also improves safety for road users by simplifying the law relating to alcohol interlocks, and creating more effective deterrents to drivers fleeing from police.
“Alcohol interlocks are very effective as a public safety measure because they physically prevent an offender driving after drinking. This keeps the driver, their passengers and other road users safe.
“We’ll also see changes to clamp down on fleeing drivers and fare evaders.
“Crashes involving a fleeing driver where people have been killed or injured have nearly doubled – from 60 in 2012 to 117 in 2016.
“The Government is committed to making New Zealand roads safer and reducing the number of people injured and killed in crashes. Increasing the penalties for fleeing drivers sends a clear message that this behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“Fare evasion on our public transport system is a growing problem. This new Bill provides new powers to enforcement officers so they can more effectively deal with fare evaders.
“Fare evaders increase the costs of public transport for paying passengers, as well as taxpayers and ratepayers who subsidise these services. It undermines the integrity of the ticketing systems used and the effectiveness of public transport generally.
“Act Party Leader, David Seymour, has had a keen interest in this Bill as it progressed through Parliament. His strong advocacy and contributions will ensure that this new piece of legislation is not only fit for purpose but encourages innovation in the transport sector.
“The Government remains committed to better regulation. This Bill also includes a range of minor amendments to clarify interpretations or the intent of the legislation, improve its operation, remove inconsistencies, and make minor technical adjustments,” Mr Bridges says.
A month after the Waterview Tunnel opened to traffic, road users are benefiting from quicker, more reliable travel times and traffic flows across both local roads and Auckland’s motorway system, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“Around 60,000 vehicles are using the Waterview Connection each day, with more than 2 million vehicles now having travelled through the twin tunnels between the suburbs of Owairaka and Waterview,” Mr Bridges says.
“People now have a choice between State Highway 1 and the Western Ring Route and that’s helping to rebalance the city’s travel demands and is making both the motorway system and local roads more efficient.
“The Waterview Connection, one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance, is creating extra motorway capacity and resilience helping to keep Auckland moving and New Zealand growing.
“The twin-tunnels provide an alternate route through Auckland, bypassing the city centre, reducing the reliance on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, as well as freeing up local roads,” Mr Bridges says.
Travel demand on State Highway 1, which is the busiest section of road in the country has now dropped by around 7% with a corresponding increase on SH20 and SH16. This redistribution is resulting in a more efficient motorway system with around 8,500 fewer hours each day of total travel time on the motorways alone.
“That’s seen average travel times between Papakura and the city in the morning peak slashed, with journeys that used to take up to 70 minutes now consistently taking 56 minutes. There are similar benefits in the evening peak. It used to take up to 55 minutes from the CBD to Papakura, while it’s now consistently taking an average of 48 minutes,” Mr Bridges says.
The Waterview Tunnel is also benefiting those travelling between the city and the airport.
“Prior to the Waterview Connection, journeys from the Airport to the CBD in the afternoon peak would take an average 44 minutes via Manukau Rd and Gillies Ave. Now, via the Waterview Tunnel, they take 27 minutes and via the Manukau/Gillies route they have also dropped to 34 minutes,” Mr Bridges says.
“Motorists traveling around and through Auckland now have quicker trips with journey times more consistent and reliable.
“Government will continue to invest in Auckland’s transport system to support its growing population. Making it easier, more reliable and efficient for people and freight to move around Auckland securing not only Auckland, but New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity,” Mr Bridges says.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges today cut the ribbon to mark the operational completion of the $43 million State Highway 2/58 Haywards Interchange project.
Traffic has been on the new grade-separated interchange since April 2017, but work has continued on the project to complete the access ramps and park and ride carpark. While some minor work remains to apply the finishing touches to the project, today’s ribbon cutting marks the operational completion for all modes of transport.
Mr Bridges says the elevated interchange is already delivering benefits to motorists by smoothing traffic flow and reducing the risks of accidents.
“It’s exciting to declare this interchange project open not just to traffic, but to cyclists and rail commuters as well,” Mr Bridges says.
“The new park and ride facilities and footbridge to Manor Park railway station will allow commuters to take the next leg of their journey by train, while the dedicated bus stop and unique separated cycleways along State Highway 2 will support even more transport options.”
“The interchange is improving economic productivity by streamlining journeys and making it easier and more efficient for local businesses and commuters to get around,” Mr Bridges says.
In addition to the range of transport choices supported by the upgraded interchange, improving safety is a key benefit of the project.
“Between 2009 and 2013, this intersection was the site of 119 crashes. The new grade-separated roundabout allows a smoother alignment for motorists joining State Highway 2 from State Highway 58 and will significantly improve the safety of this intersection,” Mr Bridges says.
“Along with other safety improvements currently underway on State Highway 58, this project is helping to deliver safer, more reliable journeys throughout the Hutt Valley.
“The Government is committed to New Zealand’s transport infrastructure. This project is just one of many around New Zealand that will further enhance the resilience and safety of the transport system,” Mr Bridges says.