Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry have welcomed the announcement of a safe, interactive ad-free space for primary school age children to explore and enjoy online local media content.
The new media initiative is a collaboration between NZ On Air and TVNZ. The interactive curated website will be run by a newly formed team at TVNZ, utilising the company’s expertise and technology.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges says it is a first for New Zealand and is possible thanks to the Government’s extensive roll-out of communications infrastructure.
“The roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) is making internet more accessible to New Zealanders of all ages with more than 1.1 million households now able to connect. This project will ensure there is quality local content readily available to children in a safe online environment,” Mr Bridges says.
“This project is also a great example of convergence, known as the reduction in barriers between sectors, and shows the new opportunities businesses and consumers alike can gain from the greater choice and accessibility it affords,” Mr Bridges says.
Minister Barry says NZ On Air will invest $1.5m in the site, targeted at 5-9 year olds.
“New Zealand children need to see and hear themselves and their own accents in the media they consume. This project will ensure our culture is alive and well in screen content for our youngest viewers,” Ms Barry says.
“The site will be designed for children and they will be involved at every stage from development through to when it’s ready to go live. It will be easy to navigate and be commercial free with a huge range of content.”
“NZ On Air will commission content through its September funding round and is about to start working with children’s content producers on ideas for new material.”
It is expected to go live around March 2018.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry welcome the kick-off of the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017.
The New Zealand Lions Series 2017 will take place from 3 June to 8 July 2017, and will see the British & Irish Lions rugby team play ten matches against New Zealand in seven host cities, including three test matches.
The series starts tomorrow night when the Lions take on the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium.
“The NZ Lions Series is an iconic rugby event which has significant local and international interest,” says Mr Bridges.
“The Government has committed $3 million from the Major Events Development Fund to support the series. This is going towards a range of leveraging opportunities including a school curriculum programme and Rugby 2017 Festival which will help host cities showcase New Zealand culture.”
“The last Lions Series in 2005 was hugely successful, attracting more than 20,000 international visitors staying more than 431,000 nights in total. The overall positive impact on GDP was estimated at $135 million.
“This is international competition at the highest level, and New Zealand Rugby has done an outstanding job in organising a series that will reinforce our capability to host major sporting events,” says Dr Coleman.
“With no tickets left on public sale for the Crusaders match or the three tests, and at least as many international visitors expected as in 2005, this year’s series will again be a remarkable economic boost for New Zealand.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival includes a series of rugby club ‘Legends at the Local’ events across the host cities, Matariki programmes and arts events all designed to engage fans in the days around the matches,” says Ms Barry.
“It also includes the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Lands of Hope and Glory’ concert, a world record haka attempt before the Maori All Blacks game in Rotorua and a ‘Dunedin Sounds’ music event.
“To help further enhance the fan experience there will be a fan zone on Queens Wharf in Auckland to coincide with the test matches, with live match screenings, performances, exhibitions, food and beverage showcases. Some of the other host cities will also have their own fan zones.”
The Festival programme is available online at www.rugby2017festival.com
Budget 2017 invests more than $32 million for increased health and safety in our aviation and maritime sectors, and to enhance policy advice for our dynamic and rapidly changing transport system, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“The Government is investing $15.8 million in Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) and $3 million in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to strengthen their health and safety roles on the water and in the air,” Mr Bridges says.
The Health and Safety at Work Act placed greater responsibility on the CAA by making it the designated agency for the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act for the aviation sector.
“This new funding will enable the CAA to meet its responsibilities, ensure compliance, as well as providing more education and outreach to the sector,” Mr Bridges says.
“New Zealand’s maritime industry is both diverse and geographically spread, with many small and large operators. MNZ will use this funding to provide maritime operators, masters and crew with information about Health and Safety at Work requirements and how they can improve their safety.
“This additional funding will also allow improved investigative and legal operations, to quickly detect and stop unsafe practices, and more effectively prosecute serious safety breaches in our maritime sector,” Mr Bridges says.
The Government is investing $13 million more over the next 4 years in the Ministry of Transport, the Governments principal strategic adviser for transport policy.
“Our transport system is growing and becoming increasingly complex. This means Government needs the best possible advice on our growing investment in roads, rail and public transport as well as on the emerging technologies and disruptive technologies that are changing the way we view transport, both here and overseas,” Mr Bridges says.
“We need to keep pace with this growth and change to maximise the benefits from these advancements.
“This funding will help ensure we are in the best shape possible to have a transport system that meets our aspirations today and in the future,” Mr Bridges says.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges today announced the final details of the Government’s reform package to improve the Telecommunications Act and modernise the communications sector.
The final package will introduce a more predictable utility-style model for Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre, deregulate copper lines where fibre is available, and improve the quality of service for consumers by increasing regulatory oversight.
“UFB is already available to more than one million homes and businesses in New Zealand, and over 85 per cent of New Zealanders will be able to access the high speed network by 2024,” Mr Bridges says.
“As the copper network is essentially being replaced by UFB, it is appropriate that copper regulation be removed from 2020. It makes sense to focus on the services that most people will be using.
“However, to make sure people are protected, copper will continue to be regulated outside of UFB coverage areas. Safeguards will also be put in place to make sure that customers do not lose their copper landline unless there is an alternative service available at a comparable price and service level.”
To complement the final fixed regulation package, the Government is also ensuring the Commission can respond quickly if issues arise in the mobile market, and putting in place new measures to lift the level of consumer service quality in the telecommunications sector.
“Telecommunications services have become much more important to everyday life and business in New Zealand, and the current regulatory settings needed to be refreshed,” Mr Bridges says.
“We have heard from a range of parties as proposals have been developed, and have listened to feedback we received, making a number of changes.
“Overall, the final package reduces compliance costs for industry and further encourages innovation and investment, for the long term benefit of consumers,” Mr Bridges says.
The new regime is expected to be implemented from 2020.
More information on the Telecommunications Act review package is available here.
Attached: Q&A on Telecommunications Act 2001 final regulatory framework
State Highway 1, south of Kaikoura, will reopen to all traffic on Friday morning in time for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.“The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery crews have been hard at work to reopen the route after a major slip at Easter closed the highway and railway near Peketa,” Mr Bridges says.
“The road and rail line have been temporarily realigned for 300 metres in order to open the route, and to assist in the wider reinstatement work between Kaikoura and Picton.
“During this time local residents have been particularly patient and understanding for what is a major construction operation.
“The temporary track will also assist in the wider reinstatement by allowing trains carrying ballast and other items to move more efficiently up the line to assist with the recovery effort,” Mr Bridges says.
The road will be open to all vehicles during daylight hours, 7 am to 6 pm. There will be the need for some additional short term closures in the future as work continues for full reinstatement to take place.
“The Government’s priority is to restore the pre-earthquake transport links to Kaikoura and its surrounding communities, and ensure these vital links are resilient for the long term,” Mr Bridges says.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Trade Minister Todd McClay have welcomed appointments and reappointments to the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Board (NZTE) and the New Zealand Story Board (NZ Story Board).
Carmel Fisher has been appointed to the NZTE Board and Robin Hapi has been reappointed.
“Carmel has a wealth of experience in the investment industry in New Zealand and I’m confident she will provide valuable insights and expertise to the Board. She is a seasoned investment professional with more than 30 years' experience in the New Zealand investment industry,” Mr Bridges says.
“Robin has been a strong contributor to the Board. With his recent appointment as Chair of the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board he will bring a wealth of knowledge about opportunities for Māori economic development and engagement with Māori stakeholders,” Mr Bridges says.
"Under our ambitious new trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, the Government is committed to helping kiwi companies move from market access to market success," Mr McClay says.
"NZTE and NZ Story are important contributors to the continued success of our exporters in overseas market," Mr McClay says.
Cameron Harland has been appointed Chair to the NZ Story Board. Stephen Smith has been reappointed as a member.
“We’re pleased with the progress that continues to be made with NZ Story and note the importance of maintaining private sector expertise on the Board. We’re happy to be able to retain both Stephen Smith and Cameron Harland and confident they will continue to make strong contributions,” Mr Bridges says.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed plans for Auckland’s Harbour Bridge to be transformed at night with a state-of-the-art, sustainable, world first lighting system.
“The Harbour Bridge is an iconic Auckland landmark and this exciting use of technology will transform Auckland’s night-time skyline.
“In a world first, the energy required for the nearly 90,000 LED lights and 200 floodlights will be offset by solar and battery technology,” Mr Bridges says.
The NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Vector are working together to install the state-of-the-art LED lighting system for Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.
“This further enhances New Zealand’s reputation as an innovative, forward leaning country that is committed to environmentally and fiscally sound ideas to store and use energy.
“When complete, Auckland will be able to showcase spectacular night-time lighting shows that will be a significant attraction for both Aucklanders and visitors to the city,” Mr Bridges says.
The LED lights will use half the energy and will last five times longer than standard lighting, and only need replacing every 10-15 years. The energy required will be offset by 700 solar panels installed near the Harbour Bridge where a large battery will store the energy.
“As well as providing a great attraction for Auckland, this project will future proof a key asset further securing Auckland’s economic, environmental and social futures,” Mr Bridges says.
Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges has congratulated the team at Rocket Lab on the successful launch of their first test rocket on the Mahia Peninsula.
“Today’s successful launch is a major milestone in the development of New Zealand’s space industry,” says Mr Bridges.
“It is the first visible sign of a space industry in New Zealand and is an achievement Rocket Lab, and all New Zealanders can be proud of.”
New Zealand is now one of 11 countries currently able to launch satellites into space from their own territory and the first to launch from a fully private orbital launch range.
“The potential benefits for our economy are very significant. These include opportunities to grow in areas related to the space industry such as research, materials development and testing, and to attract other space related companies to set up in New Zealand, and even space tourism,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Government is supportive of any industry that grows our economy through high-tech, innovative highly skilled activities.”
A range of government agencies, led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is also ensuring launch activities are safe and secure.
“We hope the launch will encourage others to come to New Zealand and enjoy the same attractive features that Rocket Lab is taking advantage of, including good access to orbits, clear skies, a skilled workforce and an innovation friendly environment,” says Mr Bridges.
The Government will invest $9.17 billion in capital into New Zealand’s state highway network over the next four years through the New Zealand Transport Agency, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“This will be the Government’s biggest ever investment in our state highway network and it is a key pillar of the Government’s commitment to building the infrastructure for a growing country,” Mr Bridges says.
The $9.17 billion is made up of:$4.84 billion from the National Land Transport Fund. $1.00 billion in committed Crown funding for the reinstatement of State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch, Auckland Transport Package and Regional State Highways Package. $1.43 billion in public-private partnerships (Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth). $1.90 billion in other funding from NZTA (primarily depreciation funding).
Budget 2017 provides $812 million in total for the reinstatement of damaged sections of State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch following the Kaikōura earthquakes.
“This essential investment not only provides for a more resilient and safer transport system, but the increased network capacity supports economic growth throughout New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.
Key projects being progressed over the next four years include:The completion of Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The Northern and Southern Corridor State Highway 1 improvements in Auckland. The East-West Link in Auckland. The Huntly and Hamilton sections of the Waikato Expressway. The State Highway 1 Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway. The Northern Arterial and the Southern Motorway Extension in Christchurch. The Transmission Gully and Pūhoi to Warkworth Public Private Partnerships. The Whirokino trestle bridge replacement in Manawatu-Whanganui. The Mt Messenger-Awakino Gorge corridor in Taranaki. The Motu Bridge replacement in Gisborne.
“The Government expects to open 540 new lane kilometres of state highways over the next four years. This will be the largest increase in state highway capacity in decades,” Mr Bridges says.
“A key focus of the programme is the completion of the current Roads of National Significance projects. These are lead infrastructure projects that link our major cities with the regions, and link our export sectors with the key ports. They help promote economic growth while increasing the ability to move people and freight around safely and reliably.”
“We are also investing more in regional roading projects that improve journey times and reliability, and remove bottlenecks. The regional investments are also hugely important for our growing tourism industry.”