/////////////////////////////////////////// NZ and Fiji to cooperate on maritime surveillance
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced that New Zealand will deploy a Royal New Zealand Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel to Fiji for three months in 2018 to support maritime and fisheries surveillance. Later this year a New Zealand Offshore Patrol Vessel will also conduct complementary patrols in Fiji’s wider Exclusive Economic Zone. “New Zealand is very proud to be partnering with Fiji to support their programme of maritime surveillance and security,” Mr Peters says. “We share a deep and abiding interest in supporting the region’s maritime security and ensuring that the Pacific’s natural resources are protected for future generations. Fiji has an exclusive economic zone about one third the size of New Zealand’s and, as fellow island nations, both our countries place enormous importance on the security and protection of our maritime environment. “The New Zealand Government recently committed to a ‘reset’ of our relationship with our Pacific neighbours and cooperation with Fiji on maritime surveillance is a clear demonstration of our willingness to work with Pacific countries in areas of mutual benefit. “This deployment will further links between our two countries, detect and deter illegal fishing in Fiji’s waters, and complement regional surveillance coordinated by the Forum Fisheries Agency,” Mr Peters says. The RNZN Inshore Patrol Vessel will be deployed to Fiji between May and August, followed by the Offshore Patrol Vessel conducting patrols later in the year. This will build on the successful deployment on the HMNZS Hawea to Fiji in 2017. ENDS Contact: Stephen Parker, Chief Press Secretary, 021 195 3528
/////////////////////////////////////////// Amendments proposed to forestry rights screening regime
Investments in sensitive land involving forestry rights will be brought into the scope of the Overseas Investment Act under changes proposed today by Associate Finance Minister David Parker. The changes would also introduce a light-handed “checklist” screening regime, which will make it easier for overseas investors to gain approval to buy forestry rights than if they were subject to the current screening regime. Overseas buyers of existing freehold and leasehold forestry land, who already face screening, would also be able to use the light-handed checklist “The changes need to be made before the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into force, or we will lose the chance to screen such sales forever,” Mr Parker says. “It will then be possible for future governments to tighten or further loosen the criteria applied to forestry investment, if required. “Any forest can in effect be purchased as a forestry registration right. This means that a screening regime that covers only freehold and leasehold is ineffective. “Forestry rights can grant a high degree of control over large parcels of land for multiple rotations over long periods of time, so it is important they are included in the regime. There is no evidence that the change will have a substantial effect on commercial values,” Mr Parker says. The forestry sector is reliant on overseas investment with 70 per cent of plantation trees in overseas ownership. Under the proposed changes investors buying up to 1000 hectares of forestry rights each year will not need consent, but purchases above that level would be screened. This would apply to all forestry rights, including bare land planting. Investors would likely pass a new screening test for freehold and leasehold bare land, given they can demonstrate benefit to New Zealand from converting land into forestry, providing jobs and advancing the Government’s “one billion trees” policy. The amendments have been submitted to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. The Government will also be consulting further with Māori. More information, including the draft regulations, can be found at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/overseasinvestment/forestry
/////////////////////////////////////////// EQC Act Changes Announced
The Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Megan Woods has today announced changes to the EQC scheme.
“Cabinet has carefully considered the proposals regarding changes to the Earthquake Commission Act,” Megan Woods said.
“The changes that we have agreed on will improve how the Act functions and enable the scheme to work more effectively for future natural disasters. These are widely agreed, common sense changes that can be made before the independent inquiry into EQC. I’ve asked for them to be brought forward so that, if the worst did happen and we had a major event shortly, these changes will have been made.
“The changes simplify and speed up the claims process, and resolve issues with the EQC Act that have previously been identified by the Ombudsman and the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.”
“These changes include:
Increasing the cap limit on EQC residential building cover to $150,000 (plus GST). Enabling EQC to accept claim notifications for up to two years after a natural disaster, rather than the current three-month time limit for such notifications. Removing EQC insurance cover for contents. Clarifying EQC’s authority to share information to support the implementation of the EQC Act and settlement of insurance claims and where this is in the public interest and safety (A recommendation of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission). “Removing cover for contents will increase EQC’s ability to allocate more resources when responding to a natural disaster and help reduce any delays in resolving residential building and land damage claims.
“Government has talked to the insurers and indication is that that private insurance cover for contents will continue to be available at a reasonable cost.
“It is expected that this change, and the increase to the cap limit for EQC residential building cover, will come into effect on 1 July 2019. Ministers have discussed this timing with Treasury, EQC and the Insurance Council of New Zealand.
“These are changes that can be made now without having to wait for the outcome of the upcoming inquiry,” said Megan Woods.
All of the proposed changes will still be subject to the New Zealand legislative process with passage of the legislation expected by the end of December 2018.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary attends Pacific Business Days
Posted: 19 Mar 2018 03:41 PM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/beehive-govt-nz/releases/~3/KC8RU4KtDrI/foreign-affairs-under-secretary-attends-pacific-business-days?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau is travelling to Tahiti today to represent New Zealand at a three-day Pacific business event that will be opened by French Polynesian President Édouard Fritch. “Being able to hear first-hand from key Pacific government and private sector leaders on trade and economic matters will be valuable for creating regional trade and economic business links,” Mr Tabuteau says. Private sector organisation South Pacific Employers’ Representation in French Polynesia is hosting the Pacific Business Days event and has invited trade and economic ministers from the Pacific Islands Forum, as well as private sector representatives. “I look forward to the opportunity to strengthen our ties with French Polynesia, which is one of the newest members of the Pacific Islands Forum.”
Contact: Laree Taula 021 992 200
/////////////////////////////////////////// Holi - a celebration of equality
Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa welcomes over 150 members of the Indian community to Parliament tonight to celebrate Holi, the Hindu Festival of colour. “Holi is celebrated in India and in communities all over the globe where Indians have settled. People irrespective of caste, gender and age take to the streets, to throw coloured water and powder at one another. It is a great leveller,” Jenny Salesa said. “I am honoured to have Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as keynote speaker tonight and while we won’t be throwing water around the Banquet Hall, people can choose to have ‘gulal’ or coloured powder placed on their foreheads, showing we are equal. “It is fitting that Holi, a celebration about connection and equality, is held at Parliament on the eve of Race Relations day. “Race Relations Day was first observed in New Zealand in 2003 and like Holi, it emphasises giving equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion and I think that’s key to improving our race relations and empowering Ethnic Communities in Aotearoa today,” Jenny Salesa said.
/////////////////////////////////////////// More measures to protect Hectors dolphins
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage are accelerating work to improve protection of the nationally endangered Hector’s dolphin, after five were accidentally killed in a fishing net off Banks Peninsula. The dolphins were trapped in a commercial set net about six nautical miles north of Banks Peninsula on 17 February. The fisherman reported the incident to Fisheries Inshore New Zealand (FINZ) and to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Mr Nash and Ms Sage have identified a number of areas where more work needs to be done, and have asked for advice on whether changes can be made to some fishing practices in the short-term. The range of options includes: Prioritising the development of a new Threat Management Plan for Māui’s and Hector’s dolphins Reviewing the use of set nets in a bid to reduce or phase out their use Considering extending the ban on set nets in the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary further offshore Encouraging voluntary closures of certain fisheries to set nets such as those recently put in place by commercial set netters to protect the hoihō/yellow eyed penguin off Southland. The role of observers and camera coverage on fishing boats “The deaths of these dolphins is distressing,” Mr Nash said. “The fisherman did the right thing by coming forward to report the catch, as legally required. There were no observers or cameras on his boat. The Chief Executive of FINZ advises me the fisherman deeply regrets the capture and has now decided to stop set netting in the area. I am also advised he appears to have been fishing outside the area closed to set netting, although MPI compliance staff are still assessing the incident. Mr Nash and Ms Sage are overseeing a review of the Threat Management Plan (TMP) for Hector’s and Māui dolphins, which has been in place since 2008. The review will consider longer-term measures to better protect the dolphins from the risks of set netting and deaths caused by other human activity. “In light of this capture, I have asked officials to prioritise the development of a new plan. A revised TMP would include public and stakeholder consultation,” says Mr Nash. “There are an estimated 9,000 Hector’s dolphins off the South Island’s east coast, and they are a sub-group of the wider South Island population of 15,000 mammals. Fisheries officials believe the east coast population may be declining,” says Mr Nash. “The needless death of five dolphins in one set net underlines the ongoing problem of set net use in places where highly endangered species, like Hector’s and Maui dolphins live, and the indiscriminate nature of set nets as a fishing method,” Ms Sage said. “As well as Hector’s and Maui dolphins, set nets catch and drown seabirds such as hoihō (yellow-eyed penguin), little blue and Fiordland crested penguins, shags, shearwaters and terns. “Areas around Banks Peninsula and on the North Island’s West Coast have been closed to set nets to protect Hector’s and Māui dolphins, but dolphins and seabirds continue to get caught and die in set nets. “Having a serious look at how to best phase out these near invisible and deadly mono-filament gill nets is long overdue. Fishers can use other methods to catch target species such as butterfish, mullet, rig, and school shark. “Hector’s dolphins live close to the coast making them highly vulnerable to being caught in set nets. Official records show 188 Hector’s and Maui dolphin are known to have been killed in set nets since 1973. “New Zealand could follow the example of American states such as California and North Carolina which have banned commercial set nets to protect endangered seabirds, marine mammals and turtles. South Australia has done the same to protect the Australasian sea lion, as has Finland for the Saimaa ringed seal,” Ms Sage said.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Roadmap to harness $1.5 billion transport tech sector
A new Future Technology Leadership Group will help New Zealand harness some of the $1.5 billion a year estimated value to the economy from Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) as well as the social benefits they create, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. The value of the “T-Tech” industry was highlighted in a new report called Unlocking Commercial Opportunities of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) released by Business NZ today. Phil Twyford announced the private and public sector members of the leadership group which will develop the 10-year Land Transport Technology Roadmap at the T-Tech Conference in Auckland today. The conference, hosted by ITS New Zealand, highlights international and domestic trends in urban planning, smart city initiatives, and transport technology and business models. “Zephyr Airworks which last week announced their world leading trial of their air taxi Cora is just one example of how New Zealand can embrace change and pave the way for ITS. “New Zealand is seen as a world leader in ITS. This group will bring together the best domestic knowledge, as well as international expertise. “The Business NZ report focused on three areas – drones, smart logistics and autonomous self-driving vehicles – and found New Zealand has a good regulatory and business environment to benefit from ITS. “A good example of how technology can save lives was the NZTA ‘hackathon’ Save One More Life which last weekend saw 120 developers, and tech, engineering and transport experts spend 48 hours designing ways to make our roads safer. This resulted in a new app to improve driving by teenagers and those on restricted licenses, expected to save 55 young lives a year. “This is an exciting time for transport and technology. Intelligent Transport Systems have the potential to not only make transport more efficient, better for the environment and safer, we now know they can make a valuable contribution to New Zealand’s economy,” Phil Twyford says.
Membership of the Future Transport Leadership Group is as follows:
NZ Transport Agency
Ministry of Transport
Christchurch City Council
Greater Wellington Regional Council
ITS New Zealand
Ministry of Education
Local Government NZ
Transport Accident Investigation Commission
Australia New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI)
Telecom Users Association
Road Transport Forum
/////////////////////////////////////////// Joint Statement on Cooperation between New Zealand and the Republic of Indonesia
Posted: 18 Mar 2018 10:01 PM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/beehive-govt-nz/releases/~3/Ff0iolwhgmU/joint-statement-cooperation-between-new-zealand-and-republic-indonesia?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, His Excellency President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia paid a state visit to New Zealand on 18-19 March 2018. During his visit President Joko Widodo met with the Right Honourable Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and with Prime Minister Ardern. The two sides held warm and forward-looking discussions on wide-ranging areas of bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues of shared concern. The strength of the long-standing partnership President Widodo and Prime Minister Ardern noted the importance of the 60th Anniversary of the formal diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Indonesia. The relationship was built on a solid foundation of people-to-people links and had blossomed into one of each nation’s most valuable relationships. As such, it was fitting that President Widodo’s visit to New Zealand also marked the elevation of the bilateral relationship to that of a Comprehensive Partnership. The Leaders reaffirmed the two countries’ mutual respect and support for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – and to the maintenance of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and secure Asia-Pacific region. Trade and economic cooperation Prime Minister Ardern expressed appreciation for the convening of a New Zealand-Indonesia business forum that took place in Auckland on 16 March 2018, and for President Widodo’s in-depth discussions with New Zealand business CEOs. Both Leaders noted this would contribute to the deepening of two-way trade and investment links. Both Leaders reaffirmed a commitment to increase two-way trade in goods to NZ$4 billion (IDR 40 trillion) by 2024, building on the platform created by the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. They emphasised that open, stable and conducive business environments are key to achieving this goal. Leaders also welcomed the two-way growth in trade in services, and affirmed the importance of increasing investment to support mutually beneficial growth, boost productivity and increase meaningful employment. The central importance of the agricultural sector to the bilateral relationship was discussed, with both Leaders recognising the importance of agricultural trade to ensuring food security in the region, and the need to remove barriers that prevent trade in food and agricultural products from reaching its full potential. Both Leaders also underscored the importance of regional economic integration and increasingly open trade in the Asia-Pacific region, and reaffirmed their objective to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial outcome in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement negotiations. They reaffirmed that RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognising the individual and diverse circumstances of RCEP participating countries. Renewable energy and environment cooperation The two Leaders welcomed progress in implementing the Arrangement on Cooperation in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, particularly education and technical capacity building for geothermal energy. President Widodo and Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged the key contribution renewable energy makes to climate change mitigation, and re-affirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Both Leaders reaffirmed their commitments under the New Zealand – Indonesia Joint Communiqué on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Promoting Sustainable Fisheries Management, which was signed in 2016. Prime Minister Ardern also confirmed New Zealand’s interest in participating in the 5th “Our Ocean” conference, to be hosted by President Widodo in Indonesia in October 2018. Education and tourism The two Leaders highlighted the cornerstone contribution that people to people connections provide in building a relationship that is as enduring and robust as that shared by New Zealand and Indonesia. Both Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to increase two-way education links. Both Leaders noted the growth in tourism, which has seen an increase in the numbers of New Zealand citizens travelling to Indonesia, and Indonesian citizens travelling to New Zealand. Both Leaders noted the prospects for future growth with the addition of new Bali-Auckland direct flights in 2018. This would add significantly to travel between the two countries, as well as increase freight options. Development cooperation Both Leaders endorsed the extension to the Memorandum of Cooperation on Disaster Risk Management between the National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Noting the value of New Zealand’s development assistance, particularly in renewable energy and geothermal development, agriculture, disaster risk management and education, Prime Minister Ardern announced funding for two new development projects: a NZ$4.5 million three-year project that will enable the Indonesian Red Cross to respond more effectively to disasters; and a NZ$3.5 million five-year project to develop a network of skilled young civic leaders, with a commitment to sustainable development in Eastern Indonesia, through participation in a New Zealand-based leadership programme. Security cooperation Prime Minister Ardern and President Widodo noted the positive bilateral cooperation in police and defence issues, and expressed a desire to see this further develop. The two Leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and emphasised the importance of regional stability for economic and development outcomes. In this light, the two Leaders agreed to work to develop an Arrangement on Counter-Terrorism to set out future bilateral cooperation. Prime Minister Ardern also appreciated Indonesia’s holistic approach to countering the threat of violent extremism, and for its efforts to bring coherence to the response in South East Asia through initiatives such as the “Manado” sub-regional framework on foreign terrorist fighters and cross-border terrorism, of which New Zealand is pleased to be a member. Regional and multilateral agenda The Leaders acknowledged the importance of effective regional architecture in maintaining security and prosperity in the region. New Zealand values its participation in regional groupings such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum that are based on ASEAN centrality. Indonesia and New Zealand have worked closely on regional political, security and economic issues, and New Zealand expressed its particular thanks to Indonesia for serving as its country coordinator within ASEAN since 2015 and helping to implement New Zealand’s strategic partnership with ASEAN. Both Leaders noted challenges and opportunities shared by the Pacific and Indian Oceans and committed to open, transparent and inclusive regional architecture based on the respect for international law. The Leaders emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region. They noted the value of peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for freedom of navigation and overflight, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Both Leaders encouraged the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. Both Leaders shared the view that peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula are of great importance. They expressed support for dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes, aimed at establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. They welcomed the recent rapprochement and encouraged all relevant parties to continue to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The Leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to work closely on the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regarding the Korean Peninsula. President Joko Widodo expressed his heartfelt thanks for the warm hospitality of the New Zealand Government and people extended to him and his delegation during his official visit.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Removing year and a day provision in Crimes Act
Posted: 18 Mar 2018 09:51 PM PDT http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/beehive-govt-nz/releases/~3/XAuMMtat9pI/removing-%E2%80%98year-and-day%E2%80%99-provision-crimes-act?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
The Government will remove the ‘year and a day’ rule in the Crimes Act to ensure it no longer prevents those who break the law from being held to account, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The ‘year and a day’ rule prevents people from being prosecuted for causing the death of a person who dies after that length of time, or is not prosecuted in that length of time. “I made an undertaking to the families of the CTV building collapse when I met them that changes needed to be made so that those whose actions lead to tragedies, can still be prosecuted no matter what length of time has elapsed,” said Jacinda Ardern. “I know this won’t help those families, but this law change will help ensure that those who face similarly tragic circumstances will not be prevented from seeing justice done. “The ‘year and a day’ provision was referenced as one of the factors taken into account in the decision not to prosecute anyone over the CTV building collapse. In that instance the building design occurred many years earlier, in fact, in 1986. “This provision has already been abolished in most like-minded jurisdictions including the United Kingdom through the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996, Ireland, Canada and most Australian states. “It has also become obsolete because of medical advances that keep people alive for longer than a year and a day. “This is the right thing to do so those who do break the law in these circumstances can no longer escape prosecution,” said Jacinda Ardern.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Resolution of southern waste issue welcomed
Collaboration between central and local government agencies, local landowners and NZ Aluminium Smelters has resulted in an agreement that will see stockpiles of aluminium dross, which is a by-product from aluminium production, removed from sites around Southland and Central Otago. The dross produces harmful gases when in contact with water. Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the agreement as a positive outcome to a challenging situation. “While details are still to be finalised and a formal agreement signed, I’m encouraged that the parties have verbally come to an agreement to share the multimillion dollar cost of its removal. “The removal of this waste is important to the protection of the local environment. In particular I want to acknowledge the brokering role that the Gore District Council has played. Likewise the Ministry for the Environment contribution has helped the parties come together,” Mr Parker said. “Obviously it would have been better not to get into this predicament in the first place. This situation has developed over a number of years. Prior attempts to resolve it have failed. I believe primary responsibility for the by-product from the smelter should rest with the smelter. “Any future occasions will result in a response from central government. But I am pleased that this situation appears to be resolved. “I urge the parties to quickly finalise the agreement and make their respective financial contributions, so that the actual clean up can begin."
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