Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 5 Apr 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// Helping hand for hospital redevelopment

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 09:46 PM PDT

The Government has today given a small community-run hospital a boost to help with a long-awaited rebuild. Confirming a $1 million grant for the redevelopment of Maniototo Hospital Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said investing in basic services like health was a priority for the Government. “We only have to look at the issues currently playing out at Middlemore Hospital to see the impact of years of underinvestment in the sector. “Maniototo Hospital is an example of the best community-led health providers. It plays a vital role in the region with its integrated services providing primary care, medical beds, aged care and community services,” Jacinda Ardern said. “It is run by a not for profit registered charity and is the only significant health facility in the area. The resident GP is also the chief medical officer and the nearest hospital is over an hour’s drive away.” The $7 million redevelopment will see the existing rest home facilities converted to a medical centre and community services facility while two new wings will house administration, emergency services and 29 new bed for use across acute medical, hospital level and rest home level care. “Funding for the hospital was a promise we made before the election. We have now delivered on it. “However it is testament to the hard work of Maniototo Health Services Ltd and the dedication and passion of locals that the project is finally coming to fruition,” Jacinda Ardern said.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government to wind down irrigation funding while honouring existing commitments

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 08:25 PM PDT

The Government has begun winding down public funding for large-scale irrigation through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL), in line with the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence & Supply Agreement. “The decisions announced today are the result of an extensive review of how to wind down funding through CIIL while honouring existing commitments, as provided for in the agreements signed on the formation of the Government. The decisions will provide certainty to the individual schemes which had applied for Government funding alongside private investment,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “This represents a shift in priorities to the previous government. Large-scale private irrigation schemes should be economically viable on their own, without requiring significant public financing. We must also be mindful of the potential for large-scale irrigation to lead to intensive farming practices which may contribute to adverse environmental outcomes.” All existing CIIL commitments for development contracts will be honoured to the close of the current phase of each contract. In addition, three schemes will be funded for their construction phases due to their advanced status, subject to meeting the normal requirements of the fund. One is already under construction and the two other schemes have signed term sheets with CIIL. The three commitments are for: Completion of Central Plains Water Stage 2: situated on the Canterbury Plains Construction of the Kurow-Duntroon scheme: situated in Kurow, South Canterbury Construction of the Waimea Community Dam: situated in Nelson/Tasman “The funding for these projects can be met within the current appropriations, should Waimea and Kurow Duntroon reach financial close within their allowed timeframes,” Grant Robertson says. “I recognise that this decision will be disappointing for proponents of projects that won’t be considered or progressed. However, a decision had to be taken on how to put into practice the agreements made on formation of the Government. It is important to remember that schemes may be able to continue, but the Government believes that public subsidies for large-scale private irrigation can instead be better directed to other areas of need. “We recognise that year-round water availability is important for drier areas of New Zealand. Smaller-scale, locally run and environmentally sustainable water storage projects could be considered on a case-by-case basis through the Provincial Growth Fund, due to the importance water plays in growing our provinces. Smaller local schemes will help more of our vital regions better prepare for increasingly recurring climatic events such as drought. “Any proposed water storage projects would be expected to meet criteria demonstrating strong alignment with the objectives of the Provincial Growth Fund, and in particular must be environmentally sustainable and deliver benefits across a community.” Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor says access to water is vital to New Zealand’s farmers, growers and rural communities, which provide the grunt for our economy. “My vision is for a resilient primary sector striving for value over volume and this means large-scale irrigation schemes must be environmentally and economically viable, with vital regional infrastructure supported by the Government. This will provide a good balance to ensure better outcomes for all New Zealanders.” Notes to editors on the three schemes which will be funded for their construction phase due to their advanced status, subject to meeting the normal requirements of the fund: Central Plains Water Stage 2: CIIL currently has one investment, a $65m loan facility to fund construction of Central Plains Water Stage 2 (CPW2), a $200 million project. The construction for this is well underway and due to be completed in August 2018. CIIL is contractually bound to honour its commitment to CPW2. Kurow Duntroon: CIIL currently has signed a construction funding term sheet with the Kurow Duntroon scheme in South Canterbury. The Kurow Duntroon scheme incorporates replacement of existing aged open-canal to piped irrigation infrastructure as well as an expansion to the size of the existing scheme. The infrastructure upgrade should increase resilience in the community against drought. The project will retire water abstraction from small streams which are currently allocated via Mining Rights which expire in 2021. Without the scheme, abstraction from these streams will need to be significantly reduced from 2021, which will adversely affect current farming outputs. The scheme serves a mix of dairy, sheep and beef, viticulture and other sectors. The Kurow Duntroon scheme is targeting financial close in May 2018. Waimea: CIIL currently has signed a construction funding term sheet with the Waimea scheme in the Nelson region. The Waimea scheme is primarily targeted towards the horticulture and viticulture sectors in the Nelson region and potentially aids the regional council with their local water supply issues by increasing minimum flows in the Waimea River. The Waimea scheme is targeting financial close in June 2018. CIIL’s potential capital funding commitment for Waimea is $35m.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Prime Minister to attend CHOGM, meet leaders of France and Germany

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 08:10 PM PDT

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to Europe next week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and meetings with counterparts in Paris and Berlin. “The CHOGM meeting sets the agenda for the Commonwealth for the next two years, and I look forward to discussing a range of issues facing all Commonwealth members,” said Jacinda Ardern. “The theme this year – ‘Towards a Common Future’ – is very apt as we will be talking about the important areas of sustainable development and climate change, as well as trade and security.” While in London, Jacinda Ardern will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss bilateral and international issues, including the shared goal of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) once the UK has left the European Union (EU). Prior to CHOGM, Jacinda Ardern will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Édouard Philippe in Paris. Climate change and an EU FTA will be on the agenda in bilateral discussions. She will also deliver a keynote speech at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, outlining ways the two countries can cooperate on climate change and environmental issues. The Prime Minister will then travel to Berlin at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel where she will hold talks with the Chancellor and deliver a speech setting out the Coalition Government’s vision for achieving progressive and inclusive growth. “I am grateful for the strong support we have received from our EU friends in moving towards the launch of FTA negotiations with the EU, and I look forward to discussing this in further detail with President Macron and Chancellor Merkel. “France, Germany and the United Kingdom are important partners of New Zealand. They share our values and our commitment to maintaining the multilateral rules-based system. “As we all face numerous global challenges, it’s important that we maintain strong relationships with those who share these values,” said Jacinda Ardern. The Prime Minister will visit Paris, Berlin and London from 16- 23 April. She will also stopover in Brisbane on 14 April to visit New Zealand athletes at the Commonwealth Games.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Early Learning Strategic Plan terms of reference announced

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 06:12 PM PDT

Education Minister Chris Hipkins today released the terms of reference for the Early Learning Strategic Plan, which aims to give all children genuine opportunities for high quality early learning. “Quality early learning provides children with a strong foundation for their future learning that can influence the rest of their lives. It’s also hugely important to working parents, Chris Hipkins says. “There is a strong case for having a strategic plan to set out a systematic and stepped approach to continuing to develop and strengthen the early learning sector, to meet the needs of children and their families and whānau. “To inform the development of the 10 Year Strategic Plan, I have established an independent Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG), with five members from diverse backgrounds and with relevant expertise, and a Reference Group made up of sector representatives and academic experts. “The two groups will develop the strategic plan alongside the Ministry of Education and public consultation on the draft strategy is expected to begin in September 2018. Key themes will be raising quality, improving equity and the role of choice. “The development process will take into account the Government’s stated objectives for early learning, including revisiting decisions by the previous Government that have undermined the shift towards a more qualified workforce. Over time, this Government’s aim is to achieve 100% qualified teachers in all centre-based teacher-led early learning services and to improve group size and teacher: child ratios for infants and toddlers. “I’m also releasing the terms of reference for the Government’s review of home-based ECE. This review will take place alongside the development of the Early Learning Strategic Plan, with both being closely aligned. “Home-based ECE is the most rapidly growing ECE service type. The number of home-based providers has grown by 158% since the early 2000s. We know benefits of early childhood education are conditional on quality. That’s why the review will make sure the right policy settings are in place to support high-quality ECE for all children at home-based services,” Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry of Education will develop a discussion document on home-based ECE, with public consultation expected to start in July 2018. The Early Learning Strategic Plan Terms of Reference can be found here and Review of Home-based Care Terms of Reference can be found here. Contact: Ranjani Ponnuchetty 027 575 0542

Ministerial Advisory Group members

Professor Carmen Dalli (Chair)

School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington

Carmen has a BA (Hons) from the University of Malta, a MEd from the University of Bristol and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington. Carmen is Honorary Consul for Malta in Wellington. Her research spans early childhood policy studies, professionalism in the early years, and under-three year olds in early childhood settings. She has a strong interest in children’s transitions from home to their first early childhood setting and the nature of learning in the first years. Carmen was recently the principal investigator for the Quality early childhood education for under-two-year-olds report produced for the Minister of Education. Her research in early learning policy and practice has been widely published in New Zealand and internationally.

Professor Meihana Durie

Māori Studies unit, Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi (School of Māori Art, Knowledge and Education), Massey University.

Meihana is the head of Massey University’s Te Pūtahi-a-Toi (School of Māori Knowledge). He is a previous recipient of the Health Research Council of New Zealand Hohua Tutengaehe Postdoctoral Fellowship and received the Sir Peter Snell Doctoral Scholarship in Public Health and Exercise Science in 2008. He helped establish Ngā Purapura, a development committed to the empowerment of whānau through education in health, exercise, sport and the growth and creation of new Māori bodies of knowledge.

Dr Alex Gunn

Associate Dean, Teacher Education University of Otago

Alex has taught in urban and rural not-for-profit and community-based education and care settings for children aged between birth and school-age. She has worked in general education, initial teacher education and post-graduate education studies at the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago. Alex’s research interests include early childhood education, inclusive education and social justice, and educational assessment and teacher education.

Professor Stuart McNaughton

Chief Science Advisor, Ministry of Education

Professor of Education and Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland

Stuart research areas are literacy and language development, the design of effective education for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and cultural processes in development. He has published extensively of these topics and was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education in New Zealand. As a Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, Stuart leads a research team in studies of effective educational interventions for schooling success with a focus on Māori and Pasifika children. He is a member of the Literacy Research Panel of the International Literacy Association and in 2014 was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame.

Dr Tanya Wendt Samu

Senior Lecturer, Pasifika education University of Auckland

Tanya has over twenty years’ experience in under-graduate and graduate teaching, including course development and coordination. Tanya has experience in the tertiary sector focused on teacher education and collaborative research projects in Pasifika education – beginning with the former School of Education of the University of Auckland (1996-2000; 2002-2003), and then with the former Auckland College of Education (2004). Tanya has contributed to international curriculum development and teacher capacity building education projects in Samoa, Tonga, Kyrgyzstan and Nauru.

Reference Group members The Reference Group membership will be drawn from existing early learning representative groups: the Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) and the ECE Policy Research Forum. The following members of the Early Childhood Advisory Committee and ECE Research Policy Forum have been invited to join the Reference Group:

Thelma Chapman

Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa

Hellen Puhipuhi

Pasifika Advisory Group

Cathy Wilson

Montessori Aotearoa of NZ (MANZ)

Charmaine Thomson

NZEI Te Riu Roa

Sandie Burn

NZEI Te Riu Roa

Marianne Kayes

Hospital Play Specialists

Karen Affleck

The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand

Kathy Wolfe

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

Susan Bailey

Playcentre Federation of New Zealand

Kararaina Cribb

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust

Peter Reynolds

Early Childhood Council

Karen Shields

Early Childhood Leadership Group

Susan Foster-Cohen

Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)

Clare Wells

NZ Kindergartens Inc

Susan Phua

New Zealand Home-based Early Childhood Education Association

Keith Newton

Barnardos New Zealand

Raewyn Overton-Stuart

Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)

Helen McConnell

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu

Hikitia Ropata

Education Council

Professor Margaret Carr

University of Waikato

Professor Helen May

University of Otago

Dr Anne Meade


Dr Linda Mitchell

University of Waikato

Dr Lesley Rameka

University of Waikato

Professor Claire McLachlan

University of Waikato

/////////////////////////////////////////// Rollout of innovative Kauri dieback cleaning stations

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 02:38 PM PDT

The roll-out of 20 innovative cleaning stations has started as part of the Department of Conservation’s efforts to reduce the spread of kauri dieback, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. Stations will be installed on busy and high-risk DOC managed tracks in the kauri region, including the Kauri Loop track in the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve, near Huntly – the first track to have one of the new cleaning stations installed. Other tracks are in the Kauri Coast and Bay of Islands Districts, Whangarei, Auckland, Whitianga, Hauraki, Tauranga, and Waikato, including two tracks managed by Auckland Council and Whangarei Regional Council. "Human traffic is the main way kauri dieback is spread, so cleaning footwear and gear and staying on the track is the best way to contain the disease and save these forest giants,” Ms Sage said. “Research shows people are far more likely to use cleaning stations if they see others do it, and if they can see the stations are good quality and well signposted.” DOC has trialled various cleaning methods and stations over recent years. Two years ago it piloted world-first prototype cleaning stations at four sites in Northland and the Coromandel. Extensive testing, monitoring and evaluation of the stations resulted in further improvements. This led to the installation of a large walk-through, partly-automated cleaning station at Tāne Mahuta in Waipoua Forest last year. It is helping to ensure that every one of the almost 150,000 people who visit the site every year arrive at the tree – and depart again – with clean footwear. “Stations are designed to be easy to install and maintain and hard to ignore.” The cleaning stations feature a brush fixed to the base, so people can clean their shoes while holding onto a rail, rather than balancing on one foot holding a scrubbing brush. They also feature a pedal pump to spray disinfectant on to the bottom of footwear. Information from ongoing monitoring and feedback will inform any further refinements, ahead of future roll-outs later this year.

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