A major slip clearance milestone has been achieved with work crews now able to access the entire coastal corridor north of Kaikoura for the first time since the November 2016 earthquake, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“Yesterday teams working from the north and south of the significant slip at Ohau Point met up, marking a significant point in the effort to restore the road and rail links to Kaikoura,” Mr Bridges says.
“Construction crews now have access to the entire stretch of the coastal corridor north of Kaikoura which will greatly speed up the reinstatement of this important route.
“Crews are now establishing a construction track around Ohau Point, which will allow work crews to enter a new phase of reconnecting State Highway 1, which includes the installation of around 9000 square meters of steel mesh ‘drapes’ to protect the area from further rock falls and will allow the clearance of rocks close to the road level that have been previously inaccessible.
“North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) teams have been working very hard to get to this point, and with Ohau Point now opened up to construction vehicles the pace of repair work is expected to accelerate to open the road.
“NCTIR crews have now cleared seven of the nine major slips that buried parts of State Highway 1 and the rail line north of Kaikoura in the November 2016 earthquake.
“The Government remains committed to this important work and it is impressive to see that work is progressing at pace to restore the transport system in what is a challenging environment for work crews.
“The restoration of these essential links is critical to supporting our economy, keeping these communities connected and boosting the prosperity of this region,” Mr Bridges says.
Mr Bridges says based on current progress crews remain on track to restore transport links to Kaikoura and its surrounding communities by Christmas.
One in three cars in the Government fleet will be electric by 2021.
“We already have an ambitious target of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021. We want the public sector to lead by example so we are setting a hard target of 1 in 3 electric or electric hybrid vehicles in the Government fleet by 2021,” Mrs Bennett says.
“National knows that electric vehicles are the future. A move from petrol and diesel to low emission transport is a natural evolution, and it is our aim to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later.”
There are approximately 15,500 in the Government vehicle fleet, used by everyone from the Department of Conservation, Corrections, to Housing New Zealand and District Health Boards.
“A new National Government will use the buying power of Government to achieve the target and increase the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.
“We already encourage the public sector to purchase electric through the competitive All of Government Procurement process and have a range of incentives in place to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles by the general public.
“Electric vehicles purchased in the Government fleet will flow through to the second hand market, which is essential to increasing uptake and incentivising more charging stations.
“Since we launched our Electric Vehicles Programme in May 2016, the number of electric vehicles registered in New Zealand has grown from about 1,300 to more than 4,200, which shows our approach is working,” Mr Bridges says.
“With over 85 percent of the country’s electricity generated from renewable sources, the emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles in New Zealand are greater than in other countries,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Driving a fully electric vehicle results in 80 per cent less emissions than driving petrol vehicles. Transport makes up around 17 per cent of New Zealand’s emissions so this is an important part of our work to reduce emissions in the transport sector.”
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has released a joint report by the Government and Auckland Council, which updates work undertaken as part of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) to understand the required level of transport investment needed in Auckland over the next decade.
“ATAP is the strategic plan for Auckland’s transport infrastructure investment, policies and services to be delivered over the next three decades.
“ATAP was an important milestone for the Government and Auckland Council in agreeing an approach to the long term development of Auckland’s transport system. However, we know that Auckland’s recent and projected population growth is higher than originally forecast,” Mr Bridges says.
“ATAP agencies were asked to provide an update of how much additional funding may be required in the first decade to meet the challenges of growth. The update identifies an additional $1.9 billion of transport investment will be needed over the ten year period.
“This is $1.1 billion less than the amount previously identified by Auckland Council,” Mr Bridges says.
The total funding required for the decade is estimated to be $25.9 billion, of which $20 billion has already been committed to by central Government ($13 billion) and Auckland Council ($7 billion).
“That leaves about $5.9 billion to be sourced from the Government, Council and the private sector over the next ten year period,” Mr Bridges says.
“The report identifies faster growth is now expected to occur in North and South Auckland requiring some transport investment to be brought forward to support the housing development in these areas. We will also need to bring forward transport investment to accommodate additional public transport demand.”
Key initiatives from the first decade package that would be brought forward into the next three years with this extra funding include:Advancing development of the “next generation” of State highway projects, including the SH16/SH18 interchange, Southern Motorway widening between Papakura and Drury, improved Eastern Airport Access (SH20B) and the Northwestern Busway. Accelerating Auckland Transport’s programme, targeting high priority and well developed investments including the Mill Road, AMETI Eastern Busway and associated Reeves Road flyover, the earlier purchase of new electric trains, along with earlier completion of key city centre bus lanes and interchanges. Completing approximately $250 million of rail network infrastructure upgrades to cater for ongoing rapid growth in rail use and increasing freight volumes, including an additional track from Westfield to Wiri and a variety of key network resilience and performance upgrades.
“Current and committed investments include $3.4 billion for the City Rail Link, $1.85 billion for the East-West Link, and up to $1 billion in upgrades to the Northern and Southern motorway corridors,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is a very useful update of the agreed ATAP programme. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor of Auckland on addressing the remaining funding required for the first decade.”
Notes to editors:
The ATAP report, released in September 2016, set out an agreed strategic approach to the development of Auckland’s transport system alongside an indicative package of transport investments.
Since ATAP concluded, Statistics NZ has released revised population projections which indicate that Auckland’s population will increase by 100,000 more people by 2028 compared to the projections used in ATAP. In response to this, the Government and Auckland Council have worked together to identify the scale and mix of investment that may need to be brought forward into the next decade to accommodate this additional growth. This work has resulted in an updated estimate for the funding gap required in the first decade of $25.9 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion compared with the original ATAP estimate. Current available funding is $20 billion.
More information, including the final report, is available at www.transport.govt.nz/atap
Improvements to the intersection of State Highway 14 and Hospital Road in Whangarei are making it easier and safer for the growing number of people moving through the area, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
The improvements have involved the NZ Transport Agency, Northland DHB and Whangarei District Council working together to make it easier for hospital staff, patients and visitors to access and leave the hospital.
“The hospital is an important base servicing the growing population of the wider area and these improvements show our commitment to maintaining the efficiency of key transport links,” Mr Bridges says.
“New traffic signals are improving traffic flows for those turning into and out of the hospital, while the new signalised pedestrian crossings across both State Highway 14 and Hospital Road are improving access for those on foot.
“The upgrade is part of a series of safety and efficiency improvements on state highways through Whangarei and recognises the area’s growing population and the role the hospital plays in servicing the wider Northland area.
“The existing cycle lanes have also been extended to improve cycling connections between Maunu and the city as part of wider work on the Whangarei Urban Cycling Network,” Mr Bridges says.
A median strip has also been painted along the state highway from Hospital Road to Silverstream Road to make it safer for people coming into and out of their driveways.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has appointed Captain James (Jim) Veere Dilley to the Oil Pollution Advisory Committee (OPAC) for an open-ended term, commencing on 11 August 2017.
OPAC gives advice to Maritime New Zealand on matters related to marine oil spills, and the fixing and levying of oil pollution levies.
“Captain Dilley has wide-ranging experience in the marine sector, including 12 years of experience with marine oil spill responses, having worked as a Regional and National On-Scene Commander,” Mr Bridges says.
Captain Dilley has also previously served as Harbourmaster for Canterbury and as Deputy Harbourmaster for Auckland. In each role, he implemented the region’s Port and Harbour Safety Code.
“Captain Dilley’s appointment will bring a new perspective to OPAC, as well as complement the current committee team,” Mr Bridges says.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed the start of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) build in four more regional towns as the extension of the Government’s broadband programme continues to roll out across the country.
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 12 towns and areas, with the build starting in Omokoroa, Te Puna, Ngaruawahia and Stratford this month.
“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 1,000 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 is available at www.broadband.govt.nz. A list of the areas that are receiving access to UFB in each region and an indication of timing for the rollout is available on Crown Fibre Holdings website here.
Information on new builds
Omokoroa and Te Puna (Bay of Plenty region)
In total, the Government is investing around $106 million to deliver UFB in the Bay of Plenty region. The build in Omokoroa will be completed in mid-2018, and Te Puna in the first half of 2019, providing 1,872 premises with access to UFB. Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Te Puke, Kawerau, Katikati, Opotiki and Ohope/Coastlands, among other areas in the region.
Ngaruawahia (Waikato region)
In total, the Government is investing around $170 million to deliver UFB in the Waikato region. The build in Ngaruawahia will be completed in mid-2018, providing 1,877 premises with access to UFB. Cambridge, Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Taupo and Tokoroa already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Waihi, Thames, Morrinsville and Matamata, among other areas in the region.
Stratford (Taranaki region)
In total, the Government is investing around $32 million to deliver UFB in the Taranaki region. The build in Stratford will be completed in mid-2018, providing 2,756 premises with access to UFB. Hawera and New Plymouth already have access to UFB. Fibre deployment is also planned for Waitara, Inglewood, Eltham and Opunake, among other areas in the region.
Almost 1.2 million New Zealand households and businesses now have access to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB), Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.
The June 2017 Quarterly Broadband Update released today shows that deployment for phase one of the UFB programme is close to 80 per cent complete, providing 1,185,351 New Zealand households and businesses with the ability to access UFB.
“Our UFB programme is making fantastic progress. We’re fast approaching our target of 1.5 million households and businesses being able to connect to UFB by 2019, and for 85 per cent of New Zealanders to be able to connect by 2024,” Mr Bridges says.
“The update for this quarter also shows New Zealanders’ continued strong demand for UFB, consistent with previous updates. The number of households, business, schools and hospitals connected to UFB has increased 12 per cent in the past three months to 413,047.
“The UFB build is now fully completed in 22 cities and towns across New Zealand and as the rollout gathers pace, many more Kiwis will soon have access to this world-class fibre.
“UFB provides speeds of close to 1,000 Megabits per second, allowing households and businesses to have near-instant access to information, entertainment and online tools that allow them to do more,” Mr Bridges says.
The Government has allocated approximately $2 billion to deliver better connectivity to New Zealanders through the UFB programme and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
The first phase of RBI delivered faster broadband to over 300,000 rural households, businesses, schools and hospitals outside of UFB areas. An announcement about the areas that will receive coverage under the second phase of RBI and the Mobile Black Spot Fund will be made soon.
The latest Quarterly Broadband Update is available http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-comm....
Further information about the Government’s UFB and RBI programmes is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.
Operators of electric vehicles (EVs) are set to benefit from rule changes which will see heavy electric vehicles exempt from road user charges and potentially allow drivers of electric vehicles to use bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
From 1 September 2017 heavy EVs will be exempt from road user charges, which otherwise apply to vehicles that do not pay for petrol at the pump, until they make up two per cent of New Zealand’s heavy vehicle fleet.
“Light EVs are already exempt from paying road user charges until 31 December 2021. On top of all of the other benefits that EVs generate, extending this exemption to heavy EVs will offer a significant cost reduction to the operators of these vehicles,” Mr Bridges says.
Changes have also been made to Land Transport rules, which from 1 September, will enable road controlling authorities, such as the NZ Transport Agency and local and regional councils, to make bylaws to allow EVs access to special vehicle lanes, such as those dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles.
“The positive acceptance of EVs in New Zealand is having real benefits. We are now offering more choice in new EVs than ever before. We are also seeing an increase in the number of used EVs importers are bringing into the country,” Mr Bridges says.
“It is great that both private and public sector organisations are helping uptake by choosing EVs over conventional petrol or diesel vehicles for their fleets.
“Over the past year we’ve also seen an increase in businesses opting for EVs as non-passenger vehicles, including light vans for food delivery, public transport and refuse trucks, all of which are great uses for EVs. We want to see this extend to operators of heavy vehicles as well with these latest changes designed to encourage this growth.
“Going electric is not only good for business, but makes best use of New Zealand’s plentiful renewable energy supply, improves air quality and minimises greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Bridges says.
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.
Note to editors
In May last year, the Government set a target to double electric vehicle, or EV registrations each year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021. An EV has a different engine to a petrol or diesel fuelled car – it has a motor that is powered by a battery which can be charged by plugging it into an electric power point (a bit like charging your cell phone battery).
For more information about electric vehicles visit www.electricvehicles.govt.nz
For more information about the special vehicle lanes visit www.nzta.govt.nz/ev-special-vehicle-lanes
KiwiRail has linked up the track between Picton and Christchurch for the first time since November’s Kaikoura earthquake devastated the line, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today.
“Staff held a small ceremony near Rakautara, north of Kaikoura this morning, and completed the final weld,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is an important milestone in getting the line open again, and in easing the pressure on upper South Island roads.”
Teams from around the country have been working to replace twisted track, rebuild bridges, repair tunnels, and clear enormous slips along the route in order to get freight moving again on rail in the South Island.
“The line is a critical component of the New Zealand transport network, carrying around 1 million tonnes of freight annually before the earthquake,” Mr Bridges says.
“While there is still work to be done, KiwiRail is making good progress towards returning freight services to this route.
“Getting it open will ease pressure on the alternate road, which has been the main route to shift freight south since the earthquake closed the coastal road and rail networks. It will also help with the reinstatement of State Highway 1 and the railway by moving materials to worksites along the route.
“A lot of work still remains to be done, but the workers from KiwiRail and its partners in the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance have done a great job getting it to this stage,” Mr Bridges says.
There were close to 60 major damage sites including tunnels, bridges, embankments, and the line had been buried under more than 100 slips and landslides. Approximately 60 bridges were damaged and repairs are being carried out at more than 750 sites.
“The Government is committed to restoring the road and rail services along this important coastal corridor, and it is great to see the significant progress being made,” Mr Bridges says.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges will introduce a Bill to Parliament today that brings New Zealand’s telecommunications regulatory framework into the 21st century.
“The telecommunications market is changing, with new technologies, shifting consumer behaviour and evolving business models. Alongside this, consumers have vastly improved connectivity through the Government’s $2 billion rollout of world-leading communications infrastructure, with more to come,” Mr Bridges says.
The Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill is the outcome of an extensive consultation process that was undertaken between 2015 and 2017.
The Bill introduces a more predictable utility regulation model for Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre, deregulates copper lines where fibre is available, and includes measures that will improve the quality of service for consumers by increasing regulatory oversight.
“We need to ensure the regulatory settings continue to be fit-for-purpose and support the evolution of this fast-moving sector,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Bill supports the shift to fibre as the technology of choice among an increasing number of consumers, by establishing a stable and predictable framework for regulating fibre and by removing copper regulation from 2020.
“To ensure that consumers are protected, copper will continue to be regulated outside of fibre coverage areas. Safeguards will make sure that customers do not lose their copper landline or broadband unless there is an alternative service available at a comparable price and service level,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bill introduces a number of other changes that are aimed at lifting consumer service quality in the telecommunications sector. This includes: requiring the Commerce Commission to regularly report on retail service quality in a more accessible way and to review the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service regularly to ensure it is working effectively.
The Commission will also be able to make codes that address retail service quality, if the industry fails to develop industry-led codes that are adequate.
“These changes are intended to enhance industry responsiveness to consumer needs. Telecommunications services are a vital part of everyday life and business in New Zealand, and the level of service needs to reflect this,” Mr Bridges says.
The Bill is set down for its first reading this month.
More information on the Telecommunications Act review, including a link to the draft Bill, is available here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/regulating-the-telecommunications-sector/review-of-the-telecommunications-act-2001.