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.
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.