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.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have applauded the successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series after the final test last night at Eden Park.
“Last night’s dramatic stalemate capped off a hugely successful ten-match tour that has taken the British and Irish Lions the length of New Zealand and had a significant impact on our economy,” says Mr Bridges.
“The series has further reinforced New Zealand’s capability in hosting world-class major events. The Government has been proud to contribute $3 million through its Major Events Development Fund to help host cities deliver the Rugby 2017 Festival.
“Events like these showcase our country internationally. The series was expected to attract around 20,000 international visitors to New Zealand and the matches have been broadcast to an estimated audience of 200 million.”
“The series was full of spectacular moments and the excitement and entertainment, both on and off the field, has captivated the nation and tens of thousands of international visitors,” says Dr Coleman.
“Last night’s game was an epic thriller in the best traditions of the great Lions tours with the series ultimately ending in a draw. Both sides played some great rugby over the series and it will live long in the memories of New Zealanders.
“It was also fantastic to have over 20,000 British and Irish fans here in New Zealand. Their good humour and enthusiasm really made the tour.
“Everyone involved, from the tournament organisers and host cities to the various Government agencies who played a role, are to be commended for delivering such a high calibre, world class series.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival provided a programme that included around 90 events and experiences across the seven host cities. This was a hugely successful opportunity to celebrate New Zealand’s rich culture and showcase our world-renowned Kiwi hospitality,” says Ms Barry.
“The festival events brought out pride in our host cities. I believe New Zealanders felt a real sense of manaakitanga – providing our own unique way of hosting international visitors.”
More detailed information about the numbers of attendees at festival events and the economic benefits the series has reaped will be available later in the year once analysis has been completed.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has today turned the first sod for the $330 million Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway project, one of the Government’s Roads of National Significance.
The Expressway is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor and connects to the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway, which Mr Bridges officially opened in February this year.
“This is an important project for the Kāpiti community and the wider Wellington Region, and will build on the benefits that the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway is delivering,” Mr Bridges says.
“Once completed, the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway will help to connect this region and provide a safe, efficient route for people and vehicles to travel in and out of the capital city.
“The new connection will improve journey times to Wellington’s port, the CBD, ferry terminals and Wellington hospital, benefiting both travellers and businesses in the region.
“After seeing the difference that the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway has made since it opened earlier in the year, it’s great to have the next stage of the Northern Corridor officially get underway.
“The Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway will help to ease congestion on local roads by providing an alternate, more efficient route for traffic travelling through the region, increasing safety, promoting economic development and increasing route reliability,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway makes up half of what locals are calling the ‘Kāpiti Expressway’, a four-lane grade separated road that will connect to the Transmission Gully motorway in the south.
“The community’s buy-in to this project has been fantastic,” Mr Bridges says. The NZ Transport Agency, working with the Kāpiti Coast District Council, has invited the public to help inform the design of a new shared path for cyclists and pedestrians that is part of the project,” Mr Bridges says.
“This will make the Expressway not just a road for cars and freight, but a vital part of an integrated transport system for the region that facilitates local trips and provides more transport choices.”
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed the start of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) build in Picton, Horotiu, Thames, Dargaville and One Tree Point, as the extension to the Government’s UFB programme gathers pace.
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 eight towns and areas, with Picton, Horotiu, Thames, Dargaville and One Tree Point starting this month,” Mr Bridges says.
“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 1000 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, including a full list of the towns and other areas that are receiving access to fibre in each region and an indication of timing for the UFB rollout, is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.
The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) build in Levin is now complete, providing an additional 8,507 households and businesses in the Manawatu-Whanganui region with access to fibre.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges was in Levin today to celebrate the completion of the build and to mark the start of the UFB build in Otaki under the second phase of the Government’s UFB programme.
Levin is the 22nd town to have its UFB build completed under phase one.
“With the completion of Levin, deployment of phase one of UFB in the Manawatu-Whanganui region is now almost 90 per cent complete,” Mr Bridges says.
“More and more, people are getting online and taking advantage of having a faster connection. As of March 2017, Levin’s UFB uptake was around 20 per cent, with more than 1,500 connections. This is more than double the number of connections at the same time last year.”
Nationwide, the first phase of the Government’s UFB programme is more than three-quarters complete with more than one million households and businesses able to connect to fibre.
“Faster broadband is absolutely critical to our regions, and we’re making great progress in rolling out UFB even further under phase two of the UFB programme. Just down the coast, Otaki is the first town in the Wellington region to begin its build,” Mr Bridges says.
“Once it’s completed in the second half of next year, another 3000 households and businesses in the Otaki area will have access to fibre.”
Under phase two of the UFB programme, fibre is also being extended to a number of towns in the Wairarapa including Carterton, Featherston, Greytown, Martinborough and in fringe areas on the Kapiti Coast and Upper Hutt.
“This will contribute to the region’s growth and economic prosperity by enabling businesses located in the region to connect to faster, more reliable internet,” Mr Bridges says.
Further information about the Government’s UFB programme, including deployment progress and regional information is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges, in conjunction with Auckland Council, today announced appointments to the Board of City Rail Link Limited, the new company jointly owned by the Crown and Auckland Council with responsibility for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link project.
Sir Brian Roche was appointed as Chair at the establishment of the company. The Board members are Russell Black, Brian Harrison, Karen Jordan and Anne Urlwin.
“I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience that these people will bring into their new roles,” Mr Joyce says. “Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”
“The appointees bring considerable experience in major project management, procurement in rail projects and other large infrastructure projects, and expertise in finance, accounting and audit and risk,” Mr Bridges says. “I’m confident they are the right group to oversee this hugely important transport project.”
Russell Black is a consultant who is a Civil Engineer by training, and has significant experience in senior management of large transport infrastructure companies and project managing large infrastructure projects, such as the London Underground’s Jubilee Line extension. He was Project Director for the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) in Hong Kong and consulted to Metro Trains, Melbourne and Sydney Metro. He was previously a member of EQC, and he has been a director of Northpower Ltd since 2011.
Brian Harrison is a lawyer who specialises in infrastructure funding, procurement, PPPs and contracts. Some of the projects that he has been involved in include: acting for project finance lenders to the Arlanda express rail link, Stockholm; negotiation and delivery of the private finance portion of the funding for the construction of the Jubilee Line, London; adviser to the Strategic Rail Authority (UK) on the capitalisation and debt structuring of rail infrastructure assets.
Karen Jordan immigrated to New Zealand in late 2015 from the UK where her last role was with the Ministry of Defence as Director Contract Management, where she was responsible for improving capability across a multi-billion pound procurement and investment programme. Prior to that, she spent the majority of her career in British Gas or National Grid Plc.
Anne Urlwin is a Wanaka-based professional director, chartered accountant and business consultant with a wide range of directorship experience. Ms Urlwin is currently the Chair of Naylor Love Enterprises (to step down in October), a director of Chorus, Southern Response Earthquake Services, OnePath Life, Steel & Tube Holdings and Summerset Group Holdings. She has experience of both central and local government and has served on numerous Crown boards and two local government CCOs.