In spite of strike action by ACC medical specialists with at least four more to follow in the next month, we haven’t heard a peep from the ACC Minister as more discontent and industrial action rattles the health sector, National’s spokesperson for ACC Tim Macindoe says.
“Hard on the heels of last week’s nurses’ strike, with those pay claims still unresolved, ACC medical specialists are also striking but like his colleague Health Minister David Clark, the ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is missing in action.
“Given that he also holds the Workplace Relations portfolio, the Minister should be setting the standard and explaining how he is going to quell widespread industrial disruption in our vital public services.
“He is failing to do so and meanwhile the grievances are increasing rapidly, and New Zealanders are suffering major inconvenience and anxiety as a consequence.
“The under-prepared Minister had very little to say about his ACC portfolio when he appeared in front of the Education and Workforce Select Committee frequently deferring to his Chief Executive and Chairperson to hide his lack of answers.
“Our public services are increasingly being disrupted by strike action while the Government fails to live up to its promises.
“It’s time for the Minister to step up and let the public know what is being done about the five weeks of strike action and for him to give an assurance that things in his portfolio are under control.”
Maniototo Area School in Ranfurly and Lawrence Area School will be redeveloped at a combined cost of around $11 million, says Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe.
“Both of these schools have buildings which are generally in poor condition and affected by issues such as weathertightness,” says Mr Macindoe.
Around $7 million will be invested into Maniototo Area School to replace the majority of teaching spaces. The remaining $4 million will be invested in replacing, repairing and modernising existing teaching spaces at Lawrence Area School.
Mr Macindoe says these two Central Otago Area Schools are important centres in their respective communities and, as a result, providing access to high quality learning environments will help to achieve the best possible outcomes not only for the pupils of these two schools but also for the wider Lawrence and Ranfurly communities.
“This $11 million investment comes on top of $37 million announced for new classrooms and school redevelopments in the Otago-Southland region last year,” says Mr Macindoe.
“This project is part of ongoing work across New Zealand to upgrade and expand our schools.
“Overall, this Government has invested more in school infrastructure than any previous Government, with over $5 billion committed to address legacy issues such as old, leaky buildings; provide extra capacity to address roll growth pressures within existing schools; and build brand new schools.”
The Ministry of Education and the schools will work closely together over the next two years to develop plans for the new facilities.
Construction work on the site is expected to commence in mid-2019.
The Government is committing more than $50 million to the full redevelopment of Whangarei Boys’ High School, in one of the largest-ever single investments in a New Zealand school.
“The rebuild will see all existing teaching spaces either refurbished or replaced entirely, and the number of classrooms will be increased to accommodate a growing roll,” Education Minister Nikki Kaye says.
“This will equip the school with outstanding modern facilities, ensuring the students who come here will benefit not only from quality teaching but also a quality learning environment.
“The Ministry of Education has been working with Whangarei Boys’ High School for the last two years on this project, and Cabinet approved funding for the redevelopment last month.
“This is great news for the school and local communities, with Whangarei Boys’ High School catering for students from Whangarei and surrounding areas.”
Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe says the school has faced considerable challenges due to ageing buildings and weather-tightness issues, making this one of the most complex school redevelopments in New Zealand.
“The redevelopment will likely be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), alongside Scott Point Primary (Auckland), the co-location of Marlborough Boys’ and Marlborough Girls’ Colleges and Pukekohe Belmont Primary,” Mr Macindoe says.
“PPPs can provide significant cost savings and efficiency gains, and these projects could benefit from such a model, should we choose to proceed this way.
“In 2013, the Government committed to redeveloping 30 schools with the most complex infrastructure issues. Today’s announcement represents the 36th school to be redeveloped, with over $700 million invested so far.
“A total of 37 new schools have also been approved or built since 2013.”
The Whangarei Boys’ High redevelopment is expected to commence in 2019 and be complete by 2022.
Motorists will now be able to travel up to 110 kilometres per hour on some of New Zealand’s key expressways, made possible by the Government’s significant investment in new and safer roads.
“The Government has invested heavily in our roads, with a focus on making them safer and cutting travel times for motorists and freight,” Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe says.
“With our initial seven Roads of National Significance – with enhanced safety features – either complete or under construction, we can begin rolling out faster speed limits in certain areas.”
Mr Macindoe says faster speed limits will initially be rolled out to the Tauranga Eastern Link, and parts of the Waikato Expressway.
Other roads currently under construction, such as Pūhoi to Warkworth and the southern section of the Christchurch Motorway (once the second stage is completed) will be considered in future.
“Our investment in the national roading network means we are already significantly improving travel times while also ensuring our roads are safer, and the new speed limit will build on that,” Mr Macindoe says.
“This will allow New Zealanders to get to where they need to be faster.
“The faster 110 kilometres per hour speed limit will only apply to stretches of roads built to a standard where the higher speed limit is both safe and appropriate. This includes having at least two lanes in each direction, a median barrier, no significant curves and no direct access to neighbouring properties.
“Our new Roads of National Significance are our safest roads – with no fatalities to date. This change strikes the right balance between ensuring the safety of road users and faster travel times for our motorists and freight.
“The Government is committed to providing the infrastructure New Zealand needs as a growing country, and that’s why we’re spending over $30 billion over the next four years on schools, hospitals, roads and other public infrastructure.”
The 110km/h speed limit will be in effect on roads that already meet the criteria before the end of the year.
Around $6 million will be invested to build more new classrooms in the Tauranga area, say Education Minister Nikki Kaye and Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe.
Mr Macindoe visited Tauranga Boys’ College today to make the announcement.
“On top of the $33 million already announced through Budget 2017 in the Bay of Plenty region, we are investing a further $6 million to provide 12 new classrooms to two schools/kura in the rapidly growing Tauranga area to accommodate their growing rolls, both now and in the future,” says Ms Kaye.
The schools receiving new classrooms are:Tauranga Boys’ College – 9 classrooms Te Kura o Matapihi – 3 classrooms.
“A school’s physical environment can support and inspire students’ success, and enable them to achieve. The new classrooms will feature high-quality lighting, acoustics and ventilation, as well as the latest digital infrastructure to support digital learning,” says Ms Kaye.
“This significant investment in the Bay of Plenty region is keeping true to our commitment to invest in areas of New Zealand experiencing high growth.”
“Today’s announcement means that Budget 2017 has provided the Bay of Plenty region with a new school and a school expansion in Papamoa and 27 new and replacement classrooms at six schools,” says Mr Macindoe.
“This investment also builds on the $23.2 million provided for through Budget 2016 for 14 roll-growth classrooms and a brand new school. This takes the total Bay of Plenty investment over the past two Budgets to over $60 million.
“Overall, Budget 2017 is investing $456.5 million in education infrastructure which takes our total commitment to school property nationwide to over $5 billion in recent years,” says Mr Macindoe.
Work gets underway next month on safety improvements on a stretch of State Highway 1B between Taupiri and Hamilton, Associate Minister of Transport Tim Macindoe has announced.
Mr Macindoe visited the site today to make the announcement.
Rumble strips, side barriers, shoulder widening in high-risk areas and high performance road markings will be added between the Ballard Rd and Taylor Rd intersections. The project excludes the 1.3km section through Gordonton Village.
Overall $4.6 million dollars is being spent making the highway safer. Safety improvements have already been added to the 1.2km section of SH1, between Taupiri and the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway and the road between the Gordonton interchange through to Ballard Rd.
“These safety improvements will help prevent the most common cause of crashes on this highway, namely motorists losing control and running off the road, vehicles crossing the centreline and people making incorrect decisions at intersections,” says Mr Macindoe.
Mr Macindoe says that there have been nine deaths and 20 serious injuries on the highway between Taupiri to Gordonton between 2006 and 2015. Of these, four deaths and 13 serious injuries were between Ballard Rd and Taylor Rd.
The safety improvements will be completed in the 2017/2018 summer period.
“This announcement is part of the government’s Safer Roads and Roadsides programme which will see $600m invested over six years to prevent deaths and serious injuries on high-risk rural state highways over the next decade,” says Mr Macindoe.
The Safe Roads and Roadsides programme aims to prevent people from dying or being seriously injured on our rural roads. Around 1500km of rural state highways throughout the country will be made safer through relatively simple measures, such as rumble strips, shoulder widening, safety barriers, better signage and changes to speed limits.
Around $9 million will be invested to redevelop Mana College in Porirua, say Education Minister Nikki Kaye and Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe.
Minister Kaye visited the school this morning to make the announcement, along with the Prime Minister, the Right Hon Bill English, and MP Brett Hudson, a Mana College old boy and the school’s first ever member of parliament.
“This is a big day for the college, which has been achieving some great results in facilities which are past their best and affected by weather-tightness issues,” says Ms Kaye.
“The redevelopment will involve the demolition of some existing facilities, the remediation and modernisation of other buildings and the creation of new, flexible learning spaces.
“Now that the broad scope of the project has been approved, master planning can begin and decisions made about the details of the new facilities.
“I know the school and community will be enthusiastic about being involved in this process, and contributing to designs which reflect the college’s special vision and culture.”
Mr Macindoe says the college has a strong commitment to Maori and Pacifika values, and its motto ‘Akona te mahi pai’, which translates to ‘Learn to Work Well’, was gifted by Ngati Toa.
“I know the college, which has its own Marae complex, will be keen to ensure that its strong cultural identity will be supported by the new facilities.
“Once the planning and design process is completed, work is expected to get underway in 2019, and take between 18 and 24 months to complete.
“Today’s announcement means around $148 million has been committed to modernise and expand schools in the greater Wellington region since November 2015.
“This includes additional classrooms at various schools, and significant upgrades at Wainuiomata College, Thorndon School, Aotea College, Wellington East Girls’ College, Newtown School, Kelburn Normal School, Khandallah School, Ngaio School, Northland School, Churton Park School, Brooklyn School and Wairarapa College.”
Since 2008, over $5 billion has been invested in school upgrades and roll growth projects, the largest ever investment in school infrastructure by a New Zealand government.
Customs Minister Tim Macindoe has recognised 165 long-serving Customs officers and staff across the country, who have protected our borders and served New Zealand for more than 3,739 years collectively.
“I would like to congratulate and thank every one of these committed Customs officers and staff members for the work they do every day to protect our borders and our country from harm and to help our economy grow,” says Mr Macindoe.
Those who have been awarded medals and long service awards have dedicated anywhere from 10 to 50 years to serving New Zealand through their roles at Customs.
“Their vast experience, the depth of their knowledge and the work they do combine to ensure that our border remains protected and secure,” says Mr Macindoe.
“The role of Customs has evolved over time and continues to do so with our ever-increasing travel and trade volumes. A record 12.8 million people crossed the border in the last financial year and that number is expected to increase to around 16 million travellers per year by 2020/21.
“These long-serving officers and staff have experienced a dynamic environment of growth at the border. They have used their skills, experience and agility to manage increasing volumes of travel and trade while also managing the risk that comes with that growth.”
The New Zealand Customs Service Medal recognises 14 years of service, professional conduct, and contribution as a frontline Customs officer. Clasps to the medal are awarded for each subsequent seven years of frontline service.
Mr Macindoe says the award ceremonies, which have taken place across the country over the previous couple of weeks, have provided a great opportunity to honour the commitment and achievement of Customs’ hard-working employees.
In this year’s ceremonies Customs staff received a total of 59 New Zealand Customs Service Medals and Clasps, and 106 long service awards.
A new site has been purchased for Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu in Hastings, Education Minister Nikki Kaye and Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe announced today.
“I’m delighted to announce that the Ministry of Education has purchased 90-120 Bennett Road in Waipatu, Hastings, to provide a long-term home for the kura,” says Ms Kaye.
“This is a great outcome for both the kura and the community. The site provides plenty of room for future growth and development, and its location will enable the kura to build on its local cultural connections.
“I’d like to acknowledge the patience of teachers, students and whanau who have had to wait for a new site to be identified, after an earlier site earmarked for the kura was ruled out on environmental grounds.
“Student safety and wellbeing is always paramount, and the Ministry must be guided by due process to ensure sites chosen for education purposes meet required standards.”
Mr Macindoe says around $12 million will be invested in the land purchase, design and construction of facilities for the new kura.
“The process to designate the new site for education purposes is now underway,” says Mr Macindoe.
“It’s estimated that designation could be confirmed early in 2018. In the meantime, the Ministry will progress a master plan for the new kura and prepare for the capital works project.
“Our investment in the kura means we’ve now committed around $37 million for education infrastructure projects in Hawkes Bay since June 2016.
“This is part of this Government’s record investment of over $5 billion to upgrade and expand schools nationwide since 2008.”
Recent investments announced for Hawke’s Bay schoolsHavelock North Primary School, $1.9m approx for four new classrooms, on-track for delivery by October 2017 Lucknow Primary School, $1m approx for two new classrooms, on-track for delivery by December 2017 Te Mata Primary School, $1m approx for two new classrooms, on-track for delivery by December 2017 Eskdale School, $0.8m approx for two new classrooms, on-track for delivery by October 2017 Clive School, $0.4m approx for one new classroom, on-track for delivery by October 2017 Greenmeadows School, $0.8m approx for two new classrooms, on-track for delivery in Term 1, 2019 Flaxmere College, $14m approx redevelopment, on-track for completion in early 2019 Kimi Ora Community School, $5m approx redevelopment, on-track for completion in early 2019.
Rail Safety Week begins today, and Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe is encouraging everyone to stay alert around railway tracks and trains.
“Last year, there were 101 near-misses between pedestrians and trains at level crossings and railway stations, and there have already been 58 near-misses this year,” Mr Macindoe says.
“Rail Safety Week raises awareness about rail safety, and encourages safe and sensible behaviour around trains and tracks.
“In urban areas, the increasing use of headphones around railway tracks is particularly worrying, as their use has been a contributing factor in a number of recent fatalities, as well as near-misses,” Mr Macindoe says.
“This year’s focus of ‘Remove your headphones. Remove your risk’ encourages pedestrians to pay attention when crossing train tracks ─ as trains can come from both directions at any time,” Mr Macindoe says.
In rural areas, the ‘Expect Trains’ billboards will continue to reinforce the message that trains can come from either direction at any time.
“Rail Safety Week is a timely reminder that we all need to take care around railway tracks, crossings and trains all year-round,” Mr Macindoe says.
Rail Safety Week runs from 14 until 20 August 2017.
To find out more about Rail Safety Week, visit www.tracksafe.co.nz.