Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 5 Mar 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// New appointment to Reserve Bank Board

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 08:01 PM PST

Dr Chris Eichbaum has been appointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Dr Eichbaum is currently a Reader in Government at the Victoria University School of Government and Associate Dean in the Victoria University Business School. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and has published on topics including public policy and central banking. He previously served on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board between 2008 and 2013. His current appointment is for a five-year term, in accordance with the Reserve Bank Act. Dr Eichbaum’s previous roles include a number of positions at Victoria University and in Government. “Dr Eichbaum brings his experience as a previous Board member at a critical time of change. His understanding of public policy and the place of monetary policy in that context will also be very helpful as the review of the Reserve Bank Act progresses,” Grant Robertson says. Reserve Bank chairman Professor Neil Quigley welcomed Dr Eichbaum back to the Board. “It will be invaluable having someone with Chris’ previous experience as we go through the review, including looking at the role of the Board itself,” Neil Quigley says. Dr Eichbaum’s appointment fills the vacancy left by Rod Carr’s retirement from the board in 2017.

/////////////////////////////////////////// New High Commissioner to Tonga announced

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 05:15 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced diplomat Tiffany Babington as New Zealand’s new High Commissioner to Tonga. “New Zealand has a strong relationship with Tonga, based on a population of more than 60,000 Tongans resident in New Zealand, development cooperation and our shared interest in regional issues,” says Mr Peters. “Cooperation between our countries has been clearly demonstrated in recent days with our support to the Tongan Government following Tropical Cyclone Gita. “Ms Babington will lead the delivery of New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance programme in Tonga, helping to oversee $66 million of investment over three years focused on energy, policing, justice and education.” Ms Babington has previously been posted to Vanuatu and Italy, and worked on global development, Pacific regional, Niue and Tokelau issues. ENDS Contact: Alex Masters, Press Secretary, 021 809 186

/////////////////////////////////////////// New factsheets show extent of crisis in regions

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 04:20 PM PST

New regional factsheets being published for the first time today show the housing crisis is not just an issue for Auckland but is now a challenge for our regions, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says. Factsheets for 11 regions are now available on the Ministry of Social Development website and contain the latest data – including regionally-specific public housing supply figures, government support, transitional housing and numbers on the public housing waiting list – from the December 2017 quarter. “The Labour-led Government isn’t shying away from the housing challenges our regions face. We want the public to understand the extent of these issues,” Phil Twyford says. “This data gives the regions the information they need to work with central government on solutions to increase the supply of housing in their areas. “This information is critical for the Government to understand what is happening at the grass roots level. We know what is happening at a national and main centres level, Auckland especially, but these factsheets shed new light on what is happening in heartland New Zealand in places like Northland, East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury. “Everyone – no matter where they live – should have a warm, dry, safe home. Solving the national housing crisis is a massive task and one we are rolling up our sleeves and getting on with. “This is why last week I announced the first tranche of up to 155 new state houses to be built in the regions by the middle of this year. And there will be more to come,” Phil Twyford says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// NZ supporting resilience of Niue infrastructure and renewable energy

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 03:24 PM PST

Infrastructure and renewable energy programmes are getting support today as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a package to improve water and roading infrastructure on Niue and further develop renewable energy generation. “Niue’s remoteness and susceptibility to extreme weather make high quality and resilient infrastructure very important for visitors and the local population of Niue,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. “New Zealand will invest $750,000 to make immediate improvements to Niue’s roads and water network ahead of the 2018 tourism season. We have also undertaken to carry out an assessment of Niue’s long-term water infrastructure needs to safeguard the resilience of the network. “We will provide a further $5 million to support the development of solar energy generation in Niue. This builds on the $5 million we have already provided and will help Niue meet its renewable energy target of 80 per cent by 2025. “Achieving this target will create annual savings of close to $1 million for the Government of Niue, which can be applied to other development priorities such as health, education and other public services,” Ms Ardern said. Niue and New Zealand share a close relationship built on shared citizenship and our unique constitutional arrangements. Large increases in tourism numbers have been a major success story for Niue’s economy but they have also placed major demands on the atolls roads and water supply. The Prime Minister is currently in Niue leading the 2018 Pacific Mission.

/////////////////////////////////////////// HMNZS Te Kaha arrives in Canada for major systems upgrade

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 02:11 PM PST

Minister of Defence Ron Mark announced today the arrival of HMNZS Te Kaha in Canada, where a major upgrade of its sensor and weapons systems will be undertaken. Focused on the frigates’ surveillance, combat and self-defence capabilities, this upgrade is the latest in a series of projects that will extend the vessels’ operational life to around 2030. Earlier projects delivered a refit of the frigates’ propulsion, heating and air-conditioning systems, and the close-in weapon system. “There is a significant programme of work to upgrade or replace New Zealand’s defence equipment that aims to maintain the safety of our military personnel and the country’s ability and readiness to deploy when needed, both in this country and overseas,” says Mr Mark. An additional $148 million was approved by Cabinet to ensure the upgrade could proceed, bringing the total project budget to $639 million. To fund the cost overrun, and consistent with the Coalition’s commitment to fiscal prudence, Cabinet agreed to reallocate a portion of the money that was provisioned in Budget 2017 for the Littoral Operations Support Capability project. “The Government’s decision reflects the value placed on our frigates and their ability to operate across and support a wide range of operations. “In the time the frigates have been operational New Zealanders have come to expect their involvement in constabulary and humanitarian, to combat roles as part of a multinational coalition. These contributions are valued by our international partners.” When completed, the frigate will have updated equipment and systems including the combat management system, radar and underwater sonar. Following an international tendering process, the contract for the work was awarded to Lockheed Martin Canada. The company’s design for the systems upgrade of 12 Royal Canadian Navy Halifax Class frigates has been adapted for use in New Zealand’s vessels. “New Zealand and Canada have a close and enduring partnership based on shared history and common interests. Our cooperation on the Frigate System Upgrade is a demonstration of the maturity of our bilateral relationship, which continues to strengthen in 2018,” says Mr Mark. The 25-day passage to Esquimalt in British Columbia, where the upgrade will take place, was marked by a brief port visit in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor where Te Kaha and her crew represented New Zealand as part of the United States’ commemoration of Presidents’ Day. For the final leg of the voyage, the crew was supplemented by a group of 10 Royal Canadian Naval Reserve personnel who had an opportunity to experience working life on board the frigate. The upgrade of the second frigate, HMNZS Te Mana, is scheduled to take place in 2019.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Insurance contract law review starts

Posted: 05 Mar 2018 01:29 PM PST

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi has today released the terms of reference for a review of New Zealand insurance contract law. “Insurance plays an important role in the lives of New Zealanders, helping people cope with unforeseen life events and providing businesses with greater certainty. “But there are significant problems with New Zealand’s insurance contract law which are undermining the effectiveness of our insurance markets and impacting those who do not receive the support they anticipated from their insurance policies. “I have heard, for example, that consumers are sometimes not covered for losses or unable to claim for important needs like health treatment because they innocently did not disclose seemingly unrelated matters to the insurer. “This is really tough for people who genuinely believe they have met their requirements and are later unable to rely on benefits of insurance. So onerous disclosure requirements are one of the issues I am keen to look at.” Mr Faafoi says the review will also consider whether there is a case for greater regulation and supervision of insurer’s conduct. The International Monetary Fund has identified that New Zealand has room for improvement in this area. “Insurance contract law has been significantly updated in comparable markets including Australia and the UK, so this work is long overdue,” Mr Faafoi says. “Reform is needed so that all New Zealanders have the protection of a well-functioning insurance market. The sector has been supportive of the need for a review so I am optimistic that stakeholders will be involved in order to make good progress swiftly.” The terms of reference outline the review’s scope, process and an indicative timeline. “I see this as an important piece of work so I am asking officials to move this forward quickly. With Cabinet approval I hope to release an issues paper for public consultation in mid-2018. If I find that change is warranted I’ll be working towards introducing legislation in the current Parliamentary term,” says Mr Faafoi. More information on the review of insurance contract law is available here.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister of Defence Departs for Papua New Guinea

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:04 PM PST

Minister of Defence Ron Mark departs tonight for Papua New Guinea. The purpose of the visit is to conclude a bilateral Status of Forces Agreement with his counterpart Minister of Defence Solan Mirisim. While there Mr Mark will engage with a range of counterparts and contacts, as well as meet with New Zealanders living and working in Papua New Guinea. “It’s a great chance to strengthen relationships with Papua New Guinea’s leadership ahead of APEC 2018, and to discuss New Zealand’s support to their efforts,” says Mr Mark. “Our nations have a long history of cooperation and engagement and New Zealand is pleased to be able to continue this by supporting the successful hosting of APEC 2018. “As outlined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week, New Zealand is committed to the Pacific and we see our relationship with Papua New Guinea as a vital piece of our work in the region. “While I’m there I will reaffirm New Zealand’s condolences for those communities affected by the recent earthquake. “New Zealand is working with Papua New Guinea and today an RNZAF C130 Hercules Aircraft carrying emergency relief supplies departed for Port Moresby. “NZDF remains willing and able to assist as required,” says Mr Mark. Mr Mark will be visiting Papua New Guinea between 6 and 8 March.

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