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.
The Ministry of Transport and BusinessNZ are partnering to commission a study into how New Zealand’s economy can benefit from transport innovation, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“The potential of self-driving cars and their associated economic opportunities are often the focus of research and investment, but there are many other aspects of the transport system which present economic opportunities,” Mr Bridges says.
“I want to see businesses positioned to flourish in New Zealand as intelligent transport systems (ITS) are commercialised.”
The study will be overseen by an advisory group, which will meet for the first time today, chaired by Dr David Prentice, Chief Executive of Opus. The advisory group also includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and a range of other players from the public and private sectors. The private sector is developing much of this technology, so it is critical that the Government engages with the private sector.
“The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and will make recommendations for how we can develop and grow ITS market opportunities where we have a competitive advantage, and identify areas to be strengthened” Mr Bridges says.
“There are companies in New Zealand already working in the growing ITS market, as well as companies who could do so. A number of international companies have also expressed interest in developing their ITS technologies in New Zealand.
“We have a reputation for good, effective regulation, which is enforced by practical regulators who are open to finding solutions which support innovation.
“Leveraging off these advantages to support businesses, and attracting international companies to come and develop their technology here, will have significant benefits for transport in New Zealand, and the broader economy,” Mr Bridges says.
The Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Bill has passed its third and final reading.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says it marks a new phase in the development of a safe, responsible and secure space industry in New Zealand.
“It’s vital we provide a regulatory framework for the space industry which encourages innovation and industry development, while ensuring all activities are run safely and securely,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Bill is informed by international best practice and aims to meet the future requirements of this emerging industry.
“Considerable thought has gone into ensuring that the Bill is flexible enough to accommodate rapid advances in space technologies, space applications and related market demand. For example, the regime covers a range of activities conducted at high-altitudes such as super-pressure balloons.
“This is a key part of the regime as developments in technology have meant that high-altitude vehicles can now undertake similar functions to satellites. Getting the provisions in the Bill to enable New Zealand to manage these activities appropriately has been a key part of this legislation.
“The Bill also seeks to minimise compliance costs for operators. One example of this is the enabling of overseas licences to satisfy New Zealand’s requirements. This will help position New Zealand as an internationally competitive location for space activities.
“I firmly believe the new law strikes a balance between encouraging space activity while minimising risks to public safety, national security and the environment,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bill will come into force on 21 December 2017.
The Government will invest $5 million in Emirates Team New Zealand to ensure it can retain key staff while planning is underway for the next America’s Cup regatta, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sports and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman announced today.
“Emirates Team New Zealand displayed incredible talent and innovation during the 35th America’s Cup campaign,” says Mr Bridges.
“This investment of $5 million will go some way towards protecting the valuable intellectual property, experience and skills that rest with key team members.
“While the location for the 36th America’s Cup has not been decided yet, we do know that hosting a regatta in New Zealand has the potential to generate significant economic benefits.
“The America’s Cup regattas hosted in New Zealand in 2000 and 2003 had a significant impact on the New Zealand economy generating around half a billion dollars of total value added per regatta, particularly in the marine and tourism sectors.
“New Zealand Trade and Enterprise also held a successful business leverage programme at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013 which generated trade and investment deals for New Zealand worth $200 million and a further $120 million of new sales opportunities and investor interest.”
“It’s great to have the America’s Cup back in Kiwi hands. I would like to congratulate chief executive Grant Dalton, helmsman Peter Burling, skipper Glen Ashby and the rest of the team, both on the boat and on shore,” says Dr Coleman.
“This win is an inspirational achievement and builds on our proud sailing heritage, and I’m confident it will help to inspire our next generation of yachties.”
“It’s great to have the America’s Cup racing its way back to Auckland following the team’s compelling win in Bermuda last week.”
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the opening of Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel to traffic is the most significant change in Auckland’s transport system since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959.
The first vehicles travelled through the Waterview Tunnel early this morning.
“The Waterview Tunnel will transform the way people and freight move around the city, providing more options and a more efficient, resilient and reliable transport system,” Mr Bridges says.
“The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection is New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project ever with the twin tunnels completing a key link in the Western Ring Route.
“This has been a priority project for the Government because of the significant contribution it will make to New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity.
“Wider economic benefits are estimated to be worth $430 million, through improved productivity and reduced travel time, and also include the creation of more than 18,000 jobs during the construction of the tunnel.
“Investing in Auckland’s motorway system in this way will reduce the cost of doing business throughout the country and plays a strong role in supporting Auckland’s growing population,” Mr Bridges says.
The Waterview Connection links the Southwestern and Northwestern motorways – providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route that will ease pressure on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
In mid-July another two community amenities will open as part of the project.
Auckland’s cycling and walking network will expand further with the opening of the Southwestern Shared Path alongside the motorway between the southern end of the tunnel and the Maioro Street interchange.
The striking Te Whitinga (Hendon footbridge) spanning the motorway will also open to connect the suburbs of New Windsor and Owairaka.
The Waterview Connection links the Southwestern (State Highway 20) and Northwestern (SH16) motorways – providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route that will ease pressure on SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“This has been a long awaited and eagerly anticipated piece of transport infrastructure envisioned decades ago. It’s fantastic that New Zealand’s biggest and most ambitious transport infrastructure project is now open to vehicles,” Mr Bridges says.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have today signed the agreements with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff that establish City Rail Link Limited to assume responsibility from tomorrow for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link, marking the next step in transforming Auckland’s public transport.
“City Rail Link Limited (CRLL) is a new company owned jointly by central and local Government, with the sole and express responsibility of successfully delivering the game-changing City Rail Link (CRL) project,” Mr Joyce says.
“This is a complex and critical piece of infrastructure that will unlock major development opportunities across central Auckland”, Mr Joyce says, “It is crucial we have a single joint entity running the project solely focussed on delivering a high-quality result for the city while effectively managing the investment of both the Crown and Auckland Council.”
“This is a massive public transport project to deliver New Zealand’s first underground rail system. I want to congratulate the project team that has successfully managed the CRL project to date, and supported the transition to CRLL,” Mr Bridges says.
“Today’s signing is the next milestone in this important addition to Auckland’s public transport system. Auckland’s population predicted to grow by more than 700,000 people over the next 30 years, the CRL will play an important role in getting people in and out of the city with ease.
“Once complete, the CRL will fundamentally change the way people get around central Auckland and demonstrates the Government’s is commitment to Auckland and its Public Transport systems.
“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the whole existing rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Crown and Auckland Council have signed agreements transferring the project to CRLL, formalising their partnership to jointly fund and oversee it through to completion,” Mr Joyce says.
“Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”
Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.
The completion of construction for the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) programme is a major rebuild milestone, the Government and Christchurch City Council say.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the five-and-a-half-year project to repair Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged horizontal infrastructure was of one of the largest and most complex engineering programmes ever carried out in New Zealand.
“More than 1.38 million square metres of roading has been repaired and replaced. That’s almost twice the size of South Hagley Park — the scale of this programme is phenomenal,” Mr Bridges says.
“Christchurch now has a reliable functioning network of roads, and the Government — through the NZ Transport Agency — will continue to support the city with ongoing repair, maintenance and improvements to the network, as well as transport system development.”
Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner says the completion of construction is a significant milestone in the regeneration process.
“The scale of the work required after the quakes of 2010 and 2011 was daunting. I’m delighted SCIRT is handing fully functioning networks back to the Council,” Ms Wagner says.
“Almost 80 per cent of the work involved the underground networks — fresh water, wastewater and stormwater — as well as pump stations. No doubt this work, at some point or another, frustrated almost every Christchurch resident, but the reward for our patience is quality infrastructure designed to endure.”
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the SCIRT model is a great example of local and central government collaboration.
“The SCIRT Alliance, funded by the Council and the Crown, gave the city the capacity to restore the three-waters and roading networks in a way that would not otherwise have been possible,” Ms Dalziel says
"With the handover of the networks, Christchurch City will have a greater knowledge of its underground assets than any other city in the country, which will enable an asset management system second to none. This is one of the real legacies of the earthquakes.
“There is still work to be done, especially with footpaths and roads. The organisation has set up the new 3 Waters Capital Programme Directorate to manage the city’s water, stormwater and wastewater systems into the future.”
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today launched the latest investor guides to New Zealand’s Food and Beverage Industry, showing a strong and diversified sector.
The guides contain analysis of trends and opportunities within the industry which can be used to attract investment, assist with business strategy and guide government policy.
“The food and beverage sector is the cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It employs directly or indirectly nearly one in five New Zealand workers and generates $29 billion in exports, representing over half of our merchandise export earnings,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Government is committed to growing and diversifying New Zealand’s economy and these guides show potential investors that innovation is alive and well in our food and beverage sector.
“We also have a wide range of emerging growth categories within the sector, including infant formula and dairy nutritionals, a growing range of products in the snacking category, yoghurt, UHT milk, avocados and processed chicken.
“These emerging categories are helping drive long term export growth across the sector and in turn are helping further strengthen New Zealand’s economy, and provide new jobs, including in the regions,” Mr Bridges says.
The research within the guides has been compiled from a wide range of sources. Around 265 firms are profiled, of which 96 are in the increasingly innovative processed foods sector.
“These reports show New Zealand producers are successfully adding value and creating premium products,” says Mr Guy.
“It shows there has been billions of dollars in investment in recent years towards developing or extending value added categories, at new packaging and branding and new product development. This will help towards our goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025.
“We’re making good use of our competitive advantages, such as our relative proximity to Asian markets, good climate and fertile soils. At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities for more innovation to drive growth.
“The Government is supporting this through research and development. The Primary Growth Partnership in particular has $759 million co-invested by industry and Government towards 22 cutting edge projects in the primary sector.
“Budget 2017 also made more money available for Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Growth Grants which support innovative Kiwi companies in bringing their products and ideas to the market sooner.”
The new guides are available at www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/food-beverage/information-project.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has today welcomed the release of research which suggests over $2 billion of potential economic benefits from the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) across key sectors of the New Zealand economy.
IoT is a concept that involves connecting devices to the internet, enabling them to ‘talk’ to each other and to people, such as moisture sensors on farms and power meters on houses.
Commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, Accelerating a Connected New Zealand looks at the current impact of IoT on the New Zealand economy, how we compare internationally and the potential benefits from increased deployment of this emerging technology.
Speaking at an event in Wellington, Minister Bridges said the research will help industry, government and academics understand the potential of IoT and what it means for New Zealand.
“Given IoT is an emerging technology, there’s still a lot we don’t know. The research tells a really positive story that the benefit of IoT could be far greater to our economy,” Mr Bridges says.
“Emerging technologies also present new challenges, and the research identifies some areas we’ll be considering further, such as security and privacy of IoT data.
“The Government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what IoT has to offer, through our programme of work to improve access to faster broadband for all New Zealanders.
“Better connectivity means that people and businesses can make the most of emerging technologies such as IoT, increase productivity and competitiveness, and build a foundation for entrepreneurship and continued innovation.
“New Zealand is known for its pioneering spirit and for encouraging innovation. As this research points out, we’re well prepared – and ready – to take advantage of the opportunities IoT brings.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the IoT Alliance to explore the challenges and benefits of this emerging technology, to ensure we get the best outcomes for New Zealanders,” Mr Bridges says.
The IoT Alliance and the research are two of the actions identified in the recently released Building a Digital Nation action plan, which sets out how the Government is partnering with New Zealand’s digital sector, other sectors of the economy and the wider digital community, to enable New Zealand to become a leading digital nation.