Airways New Zealand will continue to deliver air traffic control services to Niue, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and the Kingdom of Tonga after the contract was re-signed in Christchurch today, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“The Pacific Upper Airspace agreement we have with these four countries is a significant part of Airways New Zealand's involvement with the Pacific region, Airways also provides all New Zealand’s air navigation services,” Mr Bridges says.
“Airways is globally renowned and respected for leading innovation and development in the aviation sector, and has provided air traffic control services under the Upper Airspace agreement for the past fifteen years.
“This renewal – for a further five years – continues to strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with these Pacific nations.
“This agreement is also significant for the many thousands of travellers who head to Pacific holiday destinations each year, and for our vibrant and growing Pacifica community in New Zealand.
“The agreement will continue to provide the same high level of safety across the Pacific as we have in New Zealand’s airspace. There are around 11,500 flights per year in our region, and this is only set to increase. Air traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is set to grow to around half of the world’s air travel within 20 years, so having a high level of safety in place is key,” Mr Bridges says.
This agreement complements the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in the Pacific region, and in particular the recent Pacific Aeronautical Charting and Procedures (PACP) programme. The programme is implementing satellite-based approach procedures at 38 aerodromes across the Pacific to improve the ability of aircraft to land safely, especially in poor weather.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed the start of work on two sections of the Hastings iWay, part of the Government’s $333 million Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP).
“The UCP is making a real difference to cycling in the regions all around New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.
“The 18km of cycleways being delivered as part of the UCP in Hastings will provide safer, more connected routes for the growing number of cyclists in Hastings, connecting up the existing cycleway networks and linking together schools, employment areas and homes.
“I’m thrilled that work is now underway, thanks to the continued partnership of central and local government through the Programme.
“Cycling is an important part of an effective integrated transport network, it creates more vibrant and connected communities, it’s good for tourism and it’s a fun, healthy way to get around,” Mr Bridges says.
The UCP, announced by Mr Bridges in 2015, is jointly funded by the Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund and contributions from local government. It is intended to make it easier and safer for people to cycle, to ensure cycling is an everyday travel choice.
Last month marked the halfway point in the Urban Cycleways Programme, with fourteen projects fully complete and twenty-two more underway.
“The Pakowhai Road and Haumoana sections of the Hastings iWay are just the latest projects to get underway in the UCP, the largest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history,” Mr Bridges says.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced Christchurch’s $112 million Russley Road upgrade is on track to open early next year, several months ahead of schedule.
Visiting the site, at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Russley Road to check on progress, Mr Bridges says it is great news for everyone.
“The early completion of the project would help relieve congestion and support economic growth in the Canterbury region,” Mr Bridges says.
“Good weather, combined with the contractors McConnell Dowell Downer being able to bring on board extra resources and skilled staff has seen about 10 months shaved off the timetable.
“Innovation has also played a part, by designing and building the elliptical roundabout, the contractors have been able to minimise disruptions to the work schedule and keep traffic moving.
“In essence, the traffic has travelled around the site, limiting the need to continually change traffic management and letting the contractors get on with the job,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says by the end of next month traffic would be travelling from Christchurch Airport to the city under the overbridge, and by the end of the year traffic on State Highway 1 would travel over the overbridge. This project is now expected to be completed early 2018.
The Russley Road upgrade is one of the six sections of the $300-$350 million Western Corridor upgrade from Belfast to Hornby to a four-lane, median-separated highway. Three of the six sections are completed with the remaining three are underway and will be completed by the end of next year.
The upgrade will reduce congestion, improve traffic times, provide better walking and cycling connections between the airport and city, improve safety and support economic growth by providing better connections to the airport.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges opened the Puari ki Papanui/Papanui Parallel cycleway in Christchurch today, marking the second cycleway in the city to be completed through the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme.
The Papanui Parallel provides a 4.9km safer route for people on bikes travelling into the city centre from Papanui and the northern suburbs.
“Through the Urban Cycleways Programme our goal is to encourage more people to cycle for every day trips,” Mr Bridges says.
“In Christchurch there has been a 21 per cent annual increase in the number of people cycling into the city centre during weekdays. The completion of the Papanui Parallel will give people in Christchurch even more options to get around by bike.”
The Papanui Parallel was jointly funded by the Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund, and Christchurch City Council at a total cost of $13.2 million. The first section of the Little River Link, formally opened by Mr Bridges last month, was funded similarly through the Urban Cycleways Programme.
“This is a great example of what can be accomplished when working in partnership,” Mr Bridges says.
At today’s ribbon-cutting Mr Bridges also presented the Mayor of Christchurch, Hon Lianne Dalziel with the inaugural 2017 New Zealand’s Favourite Places to Ride Top Cycling Town award.
“This award confirms that cycling is very important to the people of Christchurch. Further testament to this is a statement received with one of the Christchurch nominations - the Christchurch city centre cycleways are ‘straight up Canterbury’ and a lovely way to explore the Garden City,” Mr Bridges says.
The award was determined by the city or town that received the most nominations across three of the Favourite Places to Ride categories - Urban Ride, Off-Road or Adventure Ride and Community Facility. New Zealanders made close to 10,000 nominations for around 1200 different rides across the country.
The Tarawera ultramarathon will receive an investment of $300,000 over the next two years to support the expansion of the internationally successful event, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says.
The funding will support the Tarawera 100 Miler – a 100 mile running race which adds to the existing portfolio of Tarawera Ultramarathon events that take place every February.
“The Tarawera ultramarathon is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, a group of 22 of the most prestigious trail ultramarathon running races in the world,” Mr Bridges says.
“NZ Trail Runs Ltd. has previously received a $300,000 Government investment which resulted in significant growth and international profile for New Zealand as a trail run event destination.
“In the 2017 event, just under half of the 1,300 participants were international visitors, and it is expected that the addition of the 100 Miler will bring a further 500 international visitors for an average of nine days.
“This event offers an opportunity to showcase Rotorua and New Zealand to an international audience through its links with the Ultra-Trail World Tour, NZ Trail Run’s social media following, and the social media profiles of the world-leading elite international athletes expected to participate,” Mr Bridges says.
The inaugural Tarawera 100 Miler will take place in February 2018 alongside the tenth annual Tarawera Ultramarathon.
Economic Development and Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced an integrated approach to transport planning and infrastructure investment in Canterbury which will see central and local government working closely together.
Mr Bridges is in Christchurch with other Government Ministers today to co-launch the refreshed Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy.
“Canterbury has significant transport advantages – a world-class international airport, sea ports at Timaru and Lyttelton, and inland ports at Rolleston,” Mr Bridges says.
“A series of natural disasters, including earthquakes, storms and fires have highlighted vulnerabilities in the region’s transport system. That’s why we’ve developed a strategy that focuses on developing a transport network that prioritises network resilience, moving people and freight efficiently around the region, supports visitors, and improves road safety and social connectedness.”
Government funding will be provided to Canterbury to:work with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and other sector partners on data sharing and analysis to inform planning and investment co-ordinate a regional stocktake of the roading network resilience in preparation for adverse events facilitate the engagement of Regional Transport Committees on a multi-modal transport strategy and planning across the South Island.
The Government is investing $170,000 in a Canterbury initiative that connects secondary students with businesses who can transition them into further education, employment or training.
The funding will also extend Christchurch’s Educated Job Ready Programme to Timaru.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced the funding in Christchurch today at the launch of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy refresh.
“While Canterbury has New Zealand’s lowest regional unemployment rate, skills shortages pose a significant risk to high-value production across all districts in the region,” Mr Bridges says.
“Canterbury needs to keep its young people and ensure they have the knowledge and skills to get productive work in their region, both now and in the future. The region also needs to retain and retrain older workers and attract more people into the workforce.”
The Ministry of Social Development is working closely with other Canterbury agencies to support regional development and has a particular focus on young people who need additional support to play their part in the future workforce.
“By helping secondary schools and training institutions partner up with businesses we can support more young people into training and employment. This benefits them as well as the wider Canterbury community,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Our aim is to reduce the number of young people in Canterbury who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) so it remains less than the national NEET rate by June 2019.”
Due to the rebuild, Canterbury has a higher proportion of its workforce involved in construction than in New Zealand overall. The regional economic development initiatives will help the regional economy to keep growing after the earthquake recovery ceases to drive economic activity and employment.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says a major milestone has been reached this week in the Government’s effort to restore road and rail links to Kaikoura, with work crews estimating that the half-way point has been reached in the massive job of clearing the slips from the transport corridor north of Kaikoura.
“This is good news not only for Kaikoura but also for the rest of New Zealand as work progresses at pace to restore the road and rail networks that are critical to supporting our economy, keeping these communities connected and boosting the prosperity of this region,” Mr Bridges says.
North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) teams have now cleared five of the ten large landslides that buried parts of State Highway 1 and the rail line north of Kaikoura in the November 2016 earthquake.
“NCTIR earthworks teams have been working long hours, seven days a week, to get to this point, completely removing giant slips that fell near Mangamaunu, Irongate stream and Half Moon Bay during November’s quake,” Mr Bridges says.
“Given the size of those landslides, NCTIR crews are estimating that more than half of the total slip material has now been removed from the transport corridor north of Kaikoura.
“The work crews are making good progress and is a testament to the huge effort they are putting in, while ensuring a safe and coordinated approach is employed for moving the large numbers of workers, machinery and trucks within the narrow ribbon of land between cliffs and the sea,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says the good progress over recent months has also been made possible by the significant amount of work making the slip sites safe and stable earlier this year, with engineers and work crews sluicing the slips by helicopter, to ensure that rapid progress could be made once on-site clearance work began.
“Throughout this entire process the work crews have followed a programme that will protect the environment and cultural values of the area, while ensuring that we can deliver a more resilient and safer transport network,” Mr Bridges says.
“The NCTIR crews are hugely appreciative of the patience and understanding of local residents and businesses who are affected by the ongoing closure and frequent movement of work trucks in the area as work continues.”
Mr Bridges says based on current progress crews remain on track to restore the pre-earthquake transport links to Kaikoura and its surrounding communities by Christmas.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges is welcoming the approval of $46.4 million in advanced funding by the NZ Transport Agency to Auckland Transport for the construction of the Lincoln Road Corridor Improvements Project.
“This is great news for Aucklanders. This project will help to create a much better transport system for this rapidly growing part of the city,” Mr Bridges says.
The project will include new bus lanes, improved cycling facilities and road safety improvements.
“When this work is completed, the Lincoln Road corridor will be able to safely and efficiently accommodate the movement of more people and more goods,” Mr Bridges says.
“There will be significant travel time improvements for people using buses and ‘high occupancy’ vehicles, and cyclists will be able to enjoy a safer ride, separated from other traffic.”
Mr Bridges says the upgrade will also provide for a new bus/transit (T3) lane in each direction, segregated ‘Copenhagen style’ cycle lanes, a solid median, upgrades to intersections and utilities and new pedestrian signals.
The Lincoln Road project will be delivered by Auckland Transport.
More information about the project, including maps and a flyover, can be found at: https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/lincoln-road-upgrade/
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has congratulated the Port of Tauranga today, as the one millionth container this year passes through its terminal.
“The Port of Tauranga is a leading New Zealand port for container throughput and the largest port in terms of volume in New Zealand. It’s great to be able to mark this milestone and acknowledge the economic benefits the Port brings to the wider Bay of Plenty economy,” Mr Bridges says.
“Ports are our gateways to the world. In the 6 months to 31 December 2016, the volume of imports passing through Port of Tauranga increased by 7 per cent, while exports increased by 9 per cent.
“Effective partnerships between ports, the Government, KiwiRail, local councils and others are making this kind of growth possible.
“The Bay of Plenty economy is underpinned by strong growth across a number of sectors – including horticulture, forestry, tourism, and meat and dairy exports.
“The Bay of Plenty’s economic development is supported through a number of initiatives, including the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan that covers nine key work areas including horticulture, education and skills, forestry and wood products, geothermal resources, and Māori land utilisation.
“The Port of Tauranga is investing $350 million in infrastructure to handle larger ships. Combined with today’s achievement of the million-container milestone, the Bay of Plenty’s future is bright,” Mr Bridges says.