Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 12 Apr 01:57


/////////////////////////////////////////// Australian racing expert to review NZ racing industry

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 08:21 PM PDT

Racing Minister Winston Peters has announced the government has appointed senior Australian racing expert John Messara to review the New Zealand racing industry’s governance structures, and provide recommendations on future directions for the industry. “Racing is a significant industry creating $1.6 billion to GDP annually, it employs up to 50,000 people, and has many passionate supporters. However, it is vital an assessment is conducted on whether the industry is meeting its full financial potential, and whether its governance arrangements are top heavy,” said Mr Peters. “For this reason it is pleasing Mr Messara has agreed to conduct a strategic review to provide advice to the Government,” he said. “Mr Messara is considered one of Australia’s most successful racing administrators. As Chair of both Racing New South Wales and Racing Australia, he led reforms to increase and secure long-term revenue,” Mr Peters says. “His review will also assist the government in determining if the current Racing Act 2003 and the proposed Racing Amendment Bill are fit for purpose,” he said. Mr Messara will start the review later this month with the objective of producing a report by mid-year. He will be provided administrative support through the Department of Internal Affairs. Contact: Stephen Parker 021 195 3528

/////////////////////////////////////////// Refresh puts spotlight on cyber security

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 08:16 PM PDT

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran today announced a comprehensive refresh of New Zealand’s approach to cyber security. “Cyber threats are growing in number and are increasingly sophisticated. The reality is that digital technology provides new avenues for criminals and other states to gain advantage and cause harm here,” Clare Curran said. “New Zealander’s widespread use of connected devices and the security challenges of emerging technology are intensifying the problems. “So it’s timely for us to step up New Zealand’s cyber security efforts so that we are not left vulnerable to cyber intrusion and to refresh the 2015 strategy so we can deal with increasingly bold, brazen and disruptive threats. “This Government has committed to building a connected nation, promoting and protecting digital rights. We intend to close the digital divides by 2020, and to make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025. A modern, responsive cyber security system is essential to this. “We must protect the information and network systems that are vital to our economic growth, ensure the integrity and security of our increasingly digitalised government services and make sure Kiwis can interact online without suffering harm.” The refresh of the Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan will involve close collaboration with the private sector and citizens. It will consider whether the government has the right resources and the right arrangements to address the increasing cyber threats facing New Zealand. “We must work collectively to build New Zealand’s cyber security capability and resilience so I invite everyone to join the play a key role in this work to refresh New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy,” Clare Curran said. “The problems are growing and it’s timely to look at what more can be done to improve New Zealand’s cyber defences.” The National Cyber Security Centre, which focuses on countering sophisticated cyber threats and protecting New Zealand’s networks of national importance, recorded 396 incidents over the 2016-17 year. The Centre estimates that advanced cyber threats have the potential to cause $640m harm annually to New Zealand’s organisations of national significance. “The refresh of the current strategy will be led by the National Cyber Policy Office (NCPO) within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and involve a wide range of government agencies,” Clare Curran said. “Workshops will be held at an early stage of the process.” The Cabinet paper is being proactively released and is available at:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Vaccination our best shot to avoid the flu

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 07:49 PM PDT

Health Minister Dr David Clark has rolled up his sleeve today for his influenza vaccination as part of the annual campaign that kicked off last week “Lifting immunisation rates for health care workers is a particular focus this year so I encourage District Health Boards to embrace the Ministry of Health’s goal that at least 80 per cent of healthcare workers are vaccinated to avoid passing the virus to vulnerable patients,” Dr Clark said. “I hope this year is a record-breaker after more than 1.2 million New Zealanders got vaccinated last year, which was a fantastic effort. This year’s funded vaccine will protect against four strains of influenza for the first time, including the A(H3N2) strain that badly affected people in the Northern Hemisphere during their winter. “Our influenza season normally begins from June, so getting vaccinated by mid-May is the best way to be protected for winter. If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to catch influenza, less likely to pass it on to others, and less likely to be severely ill if you do catch it. “Recent research shows about one in four New Zealanders is infected with influenza each winter, but many don’t develop symptoms and may be unaware they’re sick. But many tens of thousands seek medical advice for flu-like symptoms every year and on average, about 400 die of influenza or its complications each year. “People can get their flu shot for free if they’re at high risk of getting influenza, including those aged 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic or serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer or severe asthma. Many employers also provide free influenza vaccination to staff, which it is a great way to protect employees’ health at the same time as reducing the disruption to business caused by influenza each winter. “The vaccine is available from general practices and many community pharmacies for those eligible for it free or for a small fee,” Dr Clark said.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Clean energy a regional development opportunity

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 10:16 AM PDT

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones welcomes the opportunity to work with New Zealand’s energy sector as the country begins a just transition to a low carbon economy. The Government has today announced no new permits for offshore oil exploration, limiting block offer 2018 to new onshore acreage in Taranaki. However, existing permits will not be affected, which was the priority of New Zealand First in negotiations. As is the normal practice, existing permit holders will continue to be able to apply for permit extensions and change of conditions in line with New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals protocols. “Last week I launched the Taranaki Regional Economic Development action plan, which identifies ‘four futures’ for the region, including energy,” Shane Jones said. “The initial money the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) committed to investigate establishing Taranaki as an internationally recognised leader in clean energy technology is an example of the collaboration needed between Government and the energy sector going forward. “I was heartened by the conversations I had with various stakeholders, who show a genuine willingness to lead the way and seize the opportunities that the transition provides us with. “The block offer does not affect any jobs that are already there. New Zealand First’s support is predicated by its commitment to protect the rights of existing permit holders to ensure certainty for all of those in the industry that currently hold exploration, prospecting and mining permits – these permits continue as far out as 2046. “With ten years’ worth of natural gas consented, plus potentially billions of dollars of natural gas reserves permitted but yet to be consented, we can ensure economic returns and security of supply. “With a long-term plan, we can protect jobs and provide the time needed for economies that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels, such as Taranaki, to diversify and future proof. “The just transition will not happen overnight so there’s no need for scaremongering and, while it will undoubtedly pose challenges, it also provides opportunity through investment in new technology and new industries. “I’ll be working to ensure our regions are supported to tap into these opportunities and will be encouraging clean energy proposals that meet the criteria of the PGF,” Shane Jones said.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Consultation opens on Block Offer 2018

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 10:11 AM PDT

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has today announced the start of consultation with iwi and hapū on the proposed Block Offer 2018 release area for petroleum exploration permits. The proposed release area is restricted to the onshore Taranaki Basin, and covers a 1,703 square kilometre area. “The onshore Taranaki Basin has a long history of oil and gas production and exploration,” said Megan Woods. “The purpose of the consultation is to identify areas of sensitivity or significance that I need to be made aware of. This could include sites that might need to be protected for their cultural, social or spiritual significance. “Iwi and hapū can request the removal of areas within blocks, or put conditions on any permits over certain areas to protect them. “To be clear, the area for consultation includes a small amount of conservation land – approximately 2 percent of the entire release area. All conservation land will be excluded from the final tenders. Iwi and hapū will have 40-working days to make a submission and the final area for tender is expected to be announced in August.

Further information will be made available at

/////////////////////////////////////////// Planning for the future - no new offshore oil and gas exploration permits

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 10:08 AM PDT

The Coalition Government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted,” said Jacinda Ardern. Minister Woods has announced that this year’s block offer will be limited to onshore acreage in Taranaki alone. “We are protecting existing exploration and mining rights. No current jobs will be affected by this as we are honouring all agreements with current permit holders. “There are 31 oil and gas exploration permits currently active, 22 are offshore. These permits cover an area of 100,000 sq kms, nearly the size of the North Island, and run as far out as 2030 and could go an additional 40 years under a mining permit. “Today we are providing certainty for industry and communities so they can plan for the future. We are making careful and considered changes over time and supporting communities with a managed transition. “We will be working with the Taranaki community and businesses in particular on this as a long term project and I will be visiting myself later in May to underline this Government’s commitment to ensuring there is a just transition to a clean energy future. “Last week’s announcement of the Taranaki Action Plan was a first step in that process. “All three of the parties in this Government are agreed that we must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change. I’m grateful for the support of New Zealand First in ensuring the transition away from fossil fuels protects jobs and helps regions equip themselves for the future. I also thank the Green Party for their continued advocacy for action on climate change. “In each of the last two years only one permit has been granted for offshore oil and gas exploration. This decision does not affect current reserves or the potential finds from current exploration permits. As the industry itself admits, there is good potential for more to be found. “This is a responsible step which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels. We’re striking the right balance for New Zealand - we’re protecting existing industry, and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Jacinda Ardern.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Four well-beings core to local governments role

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 03:28 AM PDT

Two important local government bills have had their first reading in Parliament tonight. The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill seeks to restate the promotion of social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities to the statutory purpose of local government. Re-inserting the four well-beings back into the Local Government Act will acknowledge the valuable role local leadership has to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of citizens and communities, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said. “We face serious challenges such as the impact of population growth, climate change and ageing infrastructure. A broader focus in the way councils meet the challenge of setting priorities and planning for the future is required. “Reintroducing an emphasis on the four well-beings will engage councils and citizens on an intergenerational approach to improving quality of life outcomes in our towns and cities.” The Bill also seeks to give councils back the ability to collect development contributions in order to fund increased demand for community facilities, such as libraries, sports grounds and swimming pools resulting from developments. “This will provide some relief to councils as we continue to work towards a broader range of funding and financing tools to assist local government.” The minister thanked Labour’s Rongotai MP Paul Eagle for the considerable effort he had put into developing a private member’s bill to restore the four well-beings. This bill is due to be withdrawn given the new legislation introduced by the minister. Meanwhile, a Local Electoral Matters Bill introduced by the minister addresses the design, trial and analysis of new voting methods for local elections, and will make it easier to trial electronic voting, including online voting. “The detail of how a trial will be implemented will be set out in regulations and I expect further consideration of any privacy issues to be thoroughly canvassed prior to introduction to better enable a full analysis of participation via different voting methods.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Privacy Bill to protect and promote privacy risks

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 01:27 AM PDT

A Bill introduced by Justice Minister Hon Andrew Little to replace New Zealand’s Privacy Act has had its first reading. “The protections in the Privacy Bill are vitally important. The key purpose of the reforms is to promote and protect people’s privacy and give them confidence that their personal information is properly protected. “The Bill gives the Privacy Commissioner new powers. It allows the Privacy Commissioner to issue notices requiring an agency to comply with the Act, or direct them to provide access to a person’s information. The Bill increases privacy protections for cross-border data flows, by requiring agencies to take reasonable steps to ensure personal information disclosed overseas will be subject to acceptable privacy standards. “Under the Bill, it will be an offence to mislead an agency in a way that affects someone else’s information. It will also be an offence to knowingly destroy documents containing personal information where a request has been made for it. “The Privacy Bill implements recommendations made by the Law Commission in 2011. The Law Commission found that it needed updating to better address the challenges of the digital age but overall the Act’s principles were sound. “The Privacy Act has been in operation for over 25 years. Over that time, technology has revolutionised the way personal information is collected, stored, shared and used. “The Bill retains the Privacy Act’s flexible, principles-based framework, and introduces new reforms to encourage agencies to earlier address privacy risks. “The Bill will require public and private sector agencies to notify affected individuals if they experience a data breach which poses a risk of harm. Agencies must also notify the Privacy Commissioner. “Data breaches can have a significant effect so it’s important people are aware of what has happened to their personal information. After its first reading, the Bill will be referred to the Justice Select Committee for consideration,” says Andrew Little.

-- You are subscribed to email updates from "Releases."


[D] [Digg] [FB] [R] [SU] [Tweet] [G]