A new interchange and trench on State Highway 20A will make journeys between Auckland Airport and the city safer and more reliable, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Transport officially opened the $160 million Kirkbride Trench this morning. The project is part of the Government’s Auckland Accelerated Programme to bring forward key Auckland transport projects.
“The new interchange and trench now provides a motorway standard through this busy intersection, which will reduce congestion and improve traffic flows on both the highway and local roads,” Mr Bridges says.
“State Highway 20A is the primary route to Auckland Airport and connects with the Western Ring Route, one of the Government’s seven Roads of National Significance.
“The completion of this project supports future population and business growth, caters for increasing travellers and improves the efficiency of freight around New Zealand’s largest city.
“As well as the economic benefits, these improvements will also have a measurable impact on the local community, which had previously been divided by the state highway. The design of the Kirkbride Road bridge will allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross the highway safely, reconnecting this community,” Mr Bridges says.
New signalised intersections at Richard Pearce Drive and Westney Road will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the very busy route.
The project is also creating a 3km separated, shared path as well as local cycling and pedestrian connections to improve safety for cyclists.
The Kirkbride Trench is expected to open to traffic later this month, with the full State Highway 20A to Airport project on track to be complete by mid-2018.
“This is one of the many projects across Auckland the Government is delivering to provide Auckland with a safer and more reliable transport network,” Mr Bridges says.
“This latest additional to Auckland’s network builds on the reliability now being delivered by the Waterview Tunnels when travelling to and from Auckland Airport.”
National believes in using the opportunities we have now to benefit all of us down the track.
We’re setting ambitious targets across the board and taking action to tackle climate change.
That’s why we’ve announced that under a re-elected National Government, one in three cars in the government fleet will be electric by 2021. We’ve already set the goal of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021, but we want to lead by example.
There are around 15,500 cars in the Government vehicle fleet, used by everyone from the Department of Conservation, Corrections, to Housing New Zealand and DHBs.
Moving from petrol, diesel and gas to low emission transport is a natural evolution and we want to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later.
Using the Government’s buying power to achieve this target is a no-brainer and will see more electric vehicles on the road, helping us lower emissions and reach the targets we committed to under the Paris Agreement.
We think Kiwis are capable of making their own decisions and we’re already seeing strong uptake of electric vehicles and we think it’s fair for New Zealanders to expect the Government to do their part.
In contrast, we’re facing an unsteady opposition of competing parties with one thing they can agree on – Kiwis should do as they say, not as they do.
While Labour and the Greens believe the role of a Government is to simply impose more taxes, we are focussed on leading the charge with the options available to us, leaving Kiwis to make the right decisions for their own lives.
A party vote for National will re-elect a Government prepared to lead by example and deliver meaningful action on climate change.
Leader of the House Simon Bridges says this afternoon’s adjournment of Parliament brings to an end an extremely busy legislative year.
“Parliament sat for 57 days this year, passing 42 bills, all of which were Government bills,” Mr Bridges says.
“Important Government bills passed into law included the Education (Update) Amendment Bill, Care and Support Worker (Equal Pay) Settlement Bill, Point England Development Enabling Bill and the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill.
“The House sat under Extended Hours six times this year, four of those saw four treaty bills passed. A further four treaty bills received first reading and were sent to select committee.
“Using Extended Hours to progress non-controversial legislation such as Treaty of Waitangi settlements and some other bills has been a positive development over the last two Parliaments.
“I thank all members of the Business Committee for the constructive way they’ve worked to allow Extended Hours to be used more often.
“There have been 677 oral questions across 55 Question Times – 663 to Ministers and 14 to Members.
“As well as oral questions, Ministers received 7361 written questions.
“I want to thank all Members for their contributions to a busy and robust year in the House,” Mr Bridges says.
The Government’s Seed Co-investment Fund is being refocused to achieve greater commercial returns and provide better support to new start-up companies, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has announced.
The $50 million fund partners with angel investor groups to provide early stage capital into young start-ups.
“The fund has been a vital part of helping start-ups thrive, and is an effective tool in linking with angel investors to fund innovative new enterprises, partnering with 17 angel groups to date,” Mr Bridges says.
“Early stage capital markets have developed and grown since the early 2000s, therefore it is time to refocus the Fund to meet the needs of New Zealand’s growing start-up industry.
“We’re making some technical changes in how the fund invests in order for it to target improved investment returns and become self-sustaining. This will remove the need for further investment from the taxpayer,” Mr Bridges says.
Changes include raising the investment cap in companies to $1.5 million and removing the $250,000 funding round limit, and having a national $1 million minimum level of investment committed to each angel network partner.
“The changes mean the Fund will be more effective and able to back both the most promising companies alongside its angel partners. We expect this will improve returns, which New Zealand Venture Investment Fund will use to invest in more new and promising startups,” Mr Bridges says.
“Continuing the development of the early stage capital markets is vital, and the fund achieves this by matching entrepreneurs with high growth potential - but high risk - ventures with investors willing to accept the risks of investing with them.”
Other changes will enable the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund to take a more active approach to portfolio management rather than the passive approach required by its current mandate.
It will also be allowed to undertake investments with investors that are not an existing angel network partner if they are deemed to have the capability to support highly promising companies on their path to commercialisation.
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.