The latest regional growth statistics show 12 out of New Zealand’s 15 regions grew in the year to March 2016, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says.
The GDP statistics for New Zealand’s fifteen regions were released by Statistics New Zealand today and show the strongest growing regions in the year were Bay of Plenty (7.7 per cent), Auckland (6.0 per cent), and Otago (4.8 per cent) while Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Manawatu-Whanganui grew by more than 3 per cent.
“It’s really encouraging to see strong growth in regions like Bay of Plenty, Otago, Manawatu-Whanganui and Waikato,” Mr Bridges says.
“Bay of Plenty is the highest growing region, underpinned by strong performances across a number of sectors including agriculture industries, primarily kiwifruit.”
Across New Zealand the average growth for the year was 4.1 per cent.
Decreases were recorded in the three regions most affected by the dairy downturn and the drop off in New Zealand’s mining and oil and gas industries – Taranaki, West Coast and Southland.
However Taranaki retains the highest GDP per capita followed by Wellington and Auckland.
“The Government will continue to work intensively with regions through the Business Growth Agenda and the Regional Growth Programme. We are working actively with Southland, Taranaki and the West Coast in particular to help lift their growth rates in the years ahead,” Mr Bridges says.
"We are committed to helping every region in New Zealand achieve its potential by both attracting new investors and investing in the infrastructure for growth, be it ultrafast broadband to 150 more regional towns or key regional roading projects up and down the country."
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed today’s announcement that the Tasman Global Access cable is up and running, enhancing New Zealand’s telecommunications resilience and global connectivity.
Running between Raglan and Sydney, the new standalone cable will provide an alternative to the trans-Tasman section of the Southern Cross Cable, which is the main international cable that currently carries the majority of internet traffic to and from New Zealand.
“Given New Zealand’s geographic isolation, international connectivity is crucial for growing our economy and for helping us capitalise on opportunities,” Mr Bridges says.
“This cable is another step towards ensuring we’ve got affordable and robust connections with the rest of the world. It also ensures that domestic demands for data are supported by international capacity, setting us up for the future.”
The cable provides greater capacity in the system, reducing the risk of bottlenecks and enabling faster, better internet for consumers, particularly when content is being streamed from overseas. It also provides greater competition in New Zealand’s cable market.
“The Government’s $2 billion investment in the rollout of broadband infrastructure has helped spur demand for faster broadband, which is why complementary investment in cable infrastructure is so important,” Mr Bridges says.
“I congratulate the owners of the TGA cable, telecommunications companies Spark, Vodafone and Telstra, for their investment in this critical infrastructure for New Zealand.”
A third major cable project, the Hawaiki cable, is due to be completed next year. Once the Hawaiki cable is complete New Zealand will have three cable systems providing international connectivity, Southern Cross, the TGA and Hawaiki.
New Zealand has enhanced its air service agreement with China by 20 per cent Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today.
“New Zealand and Chinese airlines can now operate 59 passenger services per week,” Mr Bridges says.
“We’ve seen strong growth with visitors from China and we expect this to continue. China is our second largest source of visitors after Australia, so it’s important that we have the appropriate agreements in place to support this.
“The amendment will also allow additional airlines to enter the market, ensuring a competitive environment that will benefit New Zealand and Chinese travellers.
“Officials also have the opportunity to further expand the agreement later this year if certain conditions are met.
“Chinese airlines can now operate between airports in New Zealand during the course of their international service, allowing airports that do not receive flights by Chinese airlines the opportunity to do so.
“We have progressively enhanced this agreement. In 2014 the agreement provided 42 offerings per week and was increased in 2016 to 49. We will continue to work towards an open skies agreement with China,” Mr Bridges says.
Five Chinese airlines currently operate to New Zealand and a sixth, Sichuan Airlines, will enter the market in June.
“New Zealand is committed to liberalising air services, allowing for competitive markets, increased air traffic, lower air fares and stronger international trade links,” Mr Bridges says.
New Zealand now has 61 air service agreements with countries and territories with a further 20 awaiting signature.
Arrivals from China in 2016 were 421,000 – an increase 12 per cent (54,000) from 2015.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has today welcomed a significant decision for Auckland’s future mass transit corridor between Auckland city and the airport.
“Route protection will now begin to provide a mass transit corridor between the airport and Auckland city,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is a significant step for Auckland and will secure better transport options for both Aucklanders and visitors to the city.”
The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport worked together to develop a joint solution that will progress from bus services to a light rail transit solution.
The study found an advanced bus option could provide a credible solution over the next 30 years that could progress from the current bus-based system to a long term solution.
The study also demonstrated the advanced bus option has the potential to deliver on forecast demand depending on the rate of growth of the city.
“By drawing on international expertise, they have identified a range of opportunities for bus travel through a separated corridor, using innovative technology and customer-focused solutions,” Mr Bridges says.
“In the medium to long term, this will make it possible for a staged, integrated transition to light rail along the preferred ‘Airport to City’ route based on future demand and capacity.”
“This work follows the Auckland Transport Alignment Project that identified the future pressure on mass transit corridors and the need for route protection to ensure future economic growth and productivity,” Mr Bridges says.
Work on route protection will be progressed with urgency to future-proof options for both advanced bus and light rail.
Parliament has today passed three Regulatory Amendment Bills into law, bringing up to date 20 pieces of legislation, Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges says.
The Amendment Omnibus Bills are:Regulatory Systems (Building and Housing) Amendment Bill Regulatory Systems (Commercial Matters) Amendment Bill Regulatory Systems (Workplace Relations) Amendment Bill
The Bills clarify and update 20 Acts administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“The passing of these Bills will address regulatory gaps and errors, and remove unnecessary compliance costs, as well as improving efficiency,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bills will also allow for smaller regulatory fixes to be progressed in a timely and cost-effective way which will deliver flow-on benefits to business and the wider economy.
“This updated legislation also responds to the challenge of finding time on the Parliamentary calendar for “repairs and maintenance” of existing legislation. Being able to gather so many small changes into a collection of improvements supports better regulatory performance,” Mr Bridges says.
The government released its first report on the implementation of New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan today.
New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy, Action Plan, and National Plan to Address Cybercrime were launched in December 2015.
The first Annual Report sets out progress under the four goals of the Strategy: achieving cyber resilience; building cyber capability; addressing cybercrime; and enhancing international cooperation.
“New Zealand is making good progress to improve its cyber security, but with a rapidly evolving cyber threat, there is no room for complacency,” Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.
“We need to use technology in a secure way if we are to make the most of the opportunities provided by the digital economy. The government and the private sector must work together to drive improved cyber security across the economy.”
The government is leading an ambitious programme of action to fulfil the vision of a secure, resilient and prosperous online New Zealand.
Areas of focus for 2017 include supporting the development of New Zealand’s cyber security industry; work on the Cybercrime Plan; helping small businesses to protect themselves online; and the launch of a national CERT.
“CERT NZ will open its doors next month as the central place for New Zealanders, businesses and government agencies to report cyber incidents,” Mr Bridges says.
”It will provide trusted and authoritative advice on preventing cyber threats and responding to incidents and will work with CERTs in other countries on incidents that have cross-border implications.”
For more information and to read the report, go to: https://www.connectsmart.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/2016-Annual-Report-on-Cyber-Security-Action-Plan.pdf
A major investment announced by Huawei today will support our efforts to build an innovative, world leading economy, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith say.
Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei, has announced it will commit up to $400 million over five years to research and development and digital innovation in New Zealand.
Highlights of the investment include:$250 million in procurement from New Zealand companies Working with local partners to build a New Zealand Cloud Data Centre Opening an Innovation Lab at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017 Building an Innovation Lab in Christchurch Expand the Seeds for the Future University Student Programme to 100 ICT students
“The depth of the investment will touch many areas of the economy and open up global opportunities for New Zealand. The initiatives that Huawei is committing to will also help strengthen our research and development activity and capability building in the digital and technological world,” says Mr Bridges.
“International connections are important if we are to be productive and competitive in the global market place. Having access to the resources and technology lifts our ability to be innovative, agile and productive. We have identified this as a priority in the Business Growth Agenda,” says Mr Bridges.
“We must attract quality international investment to get the growth we need to deliver more highly-paid jobs for New Zealanders,” says Mr Bridges.
“New Zealand’s hi-tech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors. The Government is investing in the sector through the $411 million Innovative New Zealand package, in order to lift total government investment in science and innovation to $1.6 billion by 2020,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“The establishment of another New Zealand-based Cloud Data Centre will be a step forward for local companies and institutions looking to test new innovations on a locally-based platform, while the expansion of the Seeds for the Future programme will give 100 of New Zealand's brightest ICT and engineering undergraduates the opportunity to learn offshore and bring those skills home," says Mr Goldsmith.
More than 3,000 electric vehicles (EVs) are now registered in New Zealand, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“I am delighted with the number of EV registrations we are now seeing. This year there has been 517 EV registrations bringing the total number of EVs in New Zealand to 3005. With nine months to go we are already half way to achieving our 2017 target,” Mr Bridges says.
“While 1,513 EVs were registered in New Zealand in 2016, in Australia only about 220 EVs were. This clearly demonstrates the success of the New Zealand Government’s EV programme at pushing up purchasing.
“We’re also seeing more new models coming onto the market and an increased interest from EV manufacturers – with both Hyundai Ioniq and Tesla, for example, recently announcing their entry into New Zealand.
“There’s also been a big increase in the models and quantity of used EVs being brought into New Zealand. This means more EVs, at a range of prices, giving more choice to New Zealander’s when they decide to step up on this,” Mr Bridges says.
Infrastructure and charging stations are ever-expanding across the country to support the growing number of EVs on our roads. There are now about 50 fast chargers available throughout the length of the country, with more coming, giving EV driver’s greater confidence on longer journeys.
“Electric vehicles are the future. A move from petrol and diesel to low emission transport is a natural evolution. We are working hard to encourage this and it’s fantastic to see more and more New Zealanders recognising the benefits of EVs,” Mr Bridges says.
Driving an electric vehicle in New Zealand produces 80 percent fewer carbon emissions than a petrol or diesel car due to New Zealand’s abundant renewable electricity.
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.
The Government’s EV website can be found at: www.electricvehicles.govt.nz
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says a significant milestone has been reached in the effort to restore the coastal road and rail corridor north of Kaikoura. Work commenced this week at Ohau Point, the site of one of the largest of slips which came down in the November 14 earthquake.
“The slip at Ohau Point is one of the biggest and most complex of the 10 major slips north of Kaikoura,” Mr Bridges says.
“Helicopter sluicing crews and specialist abseilers have been working long hours for several weeks to clear loose material from the site.
“We now have machinery at both sides of the slip to start work clearing the estimated 110,000 cubic metres of rock and debris as quickly and safely as possible,” Mr Bridges says.
A remote-controlled excavator will work on the north side of the slip because it is too unstable to allow workers access safely.
“People will begin to see some very visible progress in coming weeks. Work is now happening on all sections from Blue Duck Valley Road to north of Waipapa Bay,” Mr Bridges says.
Construction access tracks have now been built around all of the slips to Ohau Point. Work will soon begin rebuilding sections of the highway and railway line damaged by the earthquake.
Work is on track to fully restore the road and rail network by the end of this year.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed Akamai’s latest State of the Internet Report which shows that average connection speeds in New Zealand have increased by 38 per cent since 2015.
The Report shows that in the fourth quarter of 2016, the average connection speed had increased to 12.9 Megabits per second (Mbps) – a significant leap from the previous year.
It also shows that almost half of New Zealanders have an internet connection that provides speeds of more than 10 Mbps – representing a 75 per cent increase from 2015. Further, a quarter of New Zealanders now have an internet connection that provides speeds in excess of 15 Mbps – a 134 per cent increase from the previous year.
“These figures demonstrate that Kiwis are increasingly reaping the benefits of faster, better internet, stimulated by the Government’s investment in the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme and the Rural Broadband Initiative,” Mr Bridges says.
“Improved broadband access and faster internet delivers huge opportunities for homes, schools and businesses right across New Zealand. It’s great to see we’re making real progress in terms of uptake and connection speeds on the world stage.
“For example, the Report found that mobile broadband users in New Zealand enjoy average speeds of around 12 Mbps. This is the fourth fastest in the Asia Pacific region and puts New Zealand alongside other global internet leaders such as Japan and South Korea.”
Akamai’s latest Report comes just a few weeks out from the due date for tenders for the Government’s extension of the Rural Broadband Initiative and coverage of mobile black spots under the Mobile Black Spot Fund, which will further improve access to fast broadband.
The Government’s $150 million investment in these initiatives will deliver high speed broadband to more rural communities and cellular mobile coverage to key stretches of state highways and tourism locations that do not already have coverage.