Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 7 Dec 2017


/////////////////////////////////////////// Ka mau te wehi, Te Puni Kokiri.

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:40 PM PST

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta congratulates Te Puni Kōkiri on its 25-year anniversary which will be celebrated with a broad range of activities over the next few weeks. “The Silver Jubilee marks 25 years of Te Puni Kokiri realising Māori potential. “Being Māori is fantastic. Speaking Māori is sensational. Having Te Puni Kokiri deliver Māori aspirations and achievements for nearly three decades is exciting and I look forward to working with the Ministry developing new opportunities for te iwi. “I’ve enjoyed introductory hui with the kaimahi at Te Puni Kokiri offices in the regions from Tamaki Makaurau to Otautahi, to meet, greet and understand how we can work best to improve and increase Māori outcomes. “The Labour-led government appreciates the significance and importance of Te Puni Kokiri and its’ role in Māori development, which is why we’ve placed the portfolio back inside Cabinet. It means the crucial calls for Māori receive top level consideration. “Te Puni Kōkiri continues to hold a remarkable mandate that has challenged some of our most esteemed leaders navigating the waka through controversial and contemporary stormy waters, over the years. “I acknowledge the work of founding chief executive Tā Wira Gardiner who headed the organisation in 1991 when Te Puni Kōkiri was established after the Ministry of Māori Affairs (Manatū Māori) and Iwi Transition Agency (Te Tira Ahu Iwi) closed down. “The Ministry’s role has evolved across the public sector to support and measure Māori success and I’m keen to continue the work that’s designed to improve and raise economic, educational, health and home aspirations for all Maori,” says Nanaia Mahuta.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Support for community conservation goals

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 06:28 PM PST

Conservation groups across New Zealand will benefit from $4.2 million in new funding grants announced today by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage. Ms Sage made the announcement at Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens in Dunedin while visiting the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust, an outstanding example of community conservation work receiving a $100,000 grant. “The DOC Community Fund is designed to provide community conservation and recreation groups with an all-important boost to reach their goals for protecting native wildlife, restoring vital habitat and improving access to New Zealand’s outdoors,” Ms Sage says. “The Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust’s work is an inspiring example of community action, volunteers working with farmers and other landowners to protect the Peninsula’s distinctive wildlife from predators. “The richness of the peninsula’s biodiversity must be nurtured and protected. Yellow-eyed and little blue penguins make their home here, and it has the world’s largest mainland albatross colony, as well as geckoes and invertebrates,” To date the group has removed 12,600 possums through volunteer efforts, part of a programme to permanently reduce possum numbers across the peninsula. This will improve forest health and increase the breeding success of bird, lizard and insect populations. The new Community Fund grant will allow the group to increase the number of volunteers and expand its predator control efforts. “Ultimately the Trust hopes to make the entire Otago Peninsula pest free – projects like this are crucial in helping our native plants and wildlife thrive,” Ms Sage says. Other recipients of this year’s funding include: Project Crimson Trust - Trees That Count Community Partnerships ($300,000) A conservation campaign to inspire New Zealanders to restore the environment, clean waterways, encourage native biodiversity and make a tangible difference to climate change by planting millions of native trees. Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust ($40,000) Windy Hill Sanctuary’s objective is to sustain and improve the biodiversity of the south eastern end of Aotea/Great Barrier Island with a particular focus on birds and be a working model of a community-based conservation project for Predator Free 2050. Te Rarawa Anga Mua - Warawara Titipounamu protection project ($106,700) Warawara is home to the only mainland population of titipounamu/rifleman north of Te Aroha/Pureora and is under threat from invasive predators. An intensive control programme is planned to protect and strengthen the population. Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society - Re-establishing Kokako on Mt Pirongia ($40,000) A project to re-establish kokako on Mount Pirongia and transfer 40 birds from Pureora and Tiritiri Matangi Island, including birds descended from kokako that were removed from Pirongia in the 1990's. For a full list of DOC Community Fund recipients, visit

/////////////////////////////////////////// Talented New Zealand students awarded Prime Ministers Scholarships

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 05:32 PM PST

Nearly 200 young New Zealanders are about to deepen New Zealand’s connections with Asia and Latin America. Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern today announced that 192 young New Zealanders have been awarded Prime Minister’s Scholarships in the first 2017/18 round. Of these, 139 are recipients of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and 53 recipients of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America (PMSLA). Award recipients – 108 individuals and nine groups – have largely come from tertiary institutions around the country. “This Government is ambitious for young New Zealanders. This scholarship is another way we can increase access to a broader education, equipping young New Zealanders with skills that will serve them well in this rapidly changing world,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We are going to place students at the centre of the education system, with a much greater focus on personalised learning, strong foundations and lifelong learning. We will also recognise and celebrate diversity and put a focus on learning environments that are culturally and socially responsive.” The prestigious scholarships will help awardees to undertake study, research or an internship at top institutions in Asia and Latin America. The international education experiences were selected to enhance students’ study to date, and are from four weeks to two years in length. Individual programmes range from a 12-week internship with Engineers Without Borders in Chile, one year of Chinese language studies at Nanyang Technological University in Taiwan to a 12-week internship with the Human Rights Law Network in India. Group scholarships will support programmes such as a 16-week Global Business and Innovation Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a four-week exchanges to Chile, Argentina and Colombia. A total $1,720,387 has been awarded as part of the first funding round for 2017/18 across both the PMSA and PMSLA scholarships. “The PMSA and PMSLA programmes have the real potential to change the lives of the young Kiwis who take part,” said Ms Ardern. “Equipping students for the 21st century is a priority and, with this in mind, our young people have a lot to gain from spending time in an offshore institution – opportunities to further develop intercultural competencies, language and empathy, for example. “The scholarships also enable students to build connections and friendships in Asia and Latin America. Relationships established at this level have been found to contribute positively toward trade flows and business ties – so there is clearly value for New Zealand in a broader sense.” The scholarship programme is funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education New Zealand. The PMSA was first launched five years ago, and was extended to Latin America with the launch of the PMSLA in 2016. Through both programmes, 1,362 awards have been made to date. Applications for the second round for 2017/18 for PMSA and PMSLA must be submitted online by 30 March 2018 and 30 April 2018 respectively. More information on the application process can be found here. Institutions are strongly encouraged to contact ENZ to discuss potential group applications. PMSA funding increased to $3 million per year in 2016/17, and will increase to $3.5 million in 2018/19. Funding for the PMSLA is currently $1 million per year. The PMSA recipients’ names are here. The PMSLA recipients’ names are here.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Trade Minister to attend WTO conference

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 04:30 PM PST

Trade Minister David Parker will depart this weekend to attend the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “At Buenos Aires I will be seeking to secure better rules in the WTO in order to limit subsidisation of agriculture and fisheries,” says Minister Parker. “WTO Members will be seeking further progress on these issues from the meeting in Buenos Aires which builds on New Zealand’s efforts in two previous meetings in Bali in 2013 and Nairobi in 2015. “The WTO membership has chosen New Zealand to be one of the Vice Chairs for the Conference. In that role, I look forward to working with the Argentine Chair, and with all other WTO members, in brokering a successful outcome.” “The WTO system is the most important set of international trade rules. They can, if used properly, help not just trade, but also the environment, as they allow issues to be addressed more effectively,” says Mr Parker

/////////////////////////////////////////// 20 years of kaupapa Maori units a major milestone

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 03:00 PM PST

The 20 year anniversary of Maori Focus Units at prisons marks a major milestone in the use of kaupapa Maori values to help reduce re-offending, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Twenty years ago today New Zealand’s first Maori Focus Unit opened at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. Four more units have since opened at Rimutaka, Waikeria, Whanganui and Tongariro prisons. The units, and the kaupapa Māori rehabilitation programme delivered within them, are collectively known as Te Tirohanga. “The first unit marked the start of a truly kaupapa Maori approach to rehabilitating prisoners,” Mr Davis says. “Over 9,300 men have been through Te Tirohanga in the past 20 years, which is a massive achievement for those men, as well as the staff, whanau, kaumātua and iwi involved. “Introducing something like this would have been a hard sell 20 years ago, and I know people like Sir Pita Sharples spent many years advocating for kaupapa Māori at prisons. Today’s milestone is certainly something to celebrate.” Te Tirohanga provides a culturally supportive environment with interdisciplinary teams and a whanau centric approach to help prisoners address their offending. The programme includes a range of tikanga-based courses and activities and regular involvement of local iwi groups. “Te Tirohanga helps prisoners learn better attitudes and behaviours, strengthens their cultural identity, and motivates them to take up further treatment, education or training opportunities while in prison,” Mr Davis says. “It gives them skills to help stay on track once they’re back in the community, which is good for them and their whanau and critical to keeping our communities safe.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Transport Ministers welcome Auckland busway station announcement

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 02:56 PM PST

Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today welcomed the announcement by Auckland Transport of a new busway station for Rosedale. The Rosedale Busway Station will align with the NZ Transport Agency’s plans to extend the Northern Busway from Constellation Busway Station to Albany Busway Station as part of the wider Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project on Auckland’s North Shore. “This Government is committed to providing truly mode neutral solutions to issues of congestion, particularly in our major urban centres,” says Mr Twyford. “Today’s announcement by Auckland Transport is an important step towards that goal, leveraging off the Transport Agency’s planned infrastructure improvements to improve public transport accessibility.” Ministers Twyford and Genter joined Auckland Mayor Phil Goff for the announcement, along with senior Auckland Transport and Transport Agency officials. The project, with an estimated cost of $70 million, is a joint project between Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency and will be delivered as part of the NCI project. “Not only does this demonstrate the increased collaboration between central and local government that is necessary to drive significant change, coordinating the busway station project with the wider NCI project will allow us to work more efficiently and with less disruption to the local community,” says Mr Twyford. Julie-Anne Genter says: “Making public transport more frequent, reliable and easy to use is key to making Auckland a better place to live.” The NCI project has recently been successful in receiving consent approval after completing a Board of Inquiry hearing process. Construction is expected to begin on the NCI project next year (2018) with an expected completion date of the end of 2021. Detailed design and further planning for the Rosedale Busway Station will continue throughout next year, with the station expected to also be completed by the end of 2021.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Wellbeing survey shows need to resolve outstanding claims

Posted: 07 Dec 2017 02:39 PM PST

The latest Canterbury District Health Board’s Canterbury Wellbeing Survey shows good progress on the Canterbury recovery but underscores the urgency of resolving outstanding EQC and insurance claims, says Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods. The survey shows Cantabrians’ quality of life has stabilised since the earthquakes and that those experiencing stress most or all of the time, is at its lowest level since the survey began. “The latest results show 82 percent of people rate their quality of life positively – with 24 percent rating it as extremely good and 58 percent good – and only four percent rating it as poor or extremely poor. This is consistent with previous surveys. “However, there are a number still suffering major or moderate impacts from living day to day in a damaged home, still making decisions about house damage, repairs and relocation, dealing with EQC and insurance issues, or still suffering additional financial burdens. “Fourteen percent still feel the negative impacts of being in a damaged environment and/or surrounded by construction work.” “For these people, they are trapped, unable to move on with their lives. We’ve got to do better for those people. That’s why this government is prioritising establishing an insurance and EQC arbitration tribunal to speed up the resolution of earthquake claims. It’s also why we saved the Residential Advisory Service which provides help for people still in these situations. “This Government knows that our recovery can’t just be about laying more bricks and mortar, it’s about giving people the support they need to get their issues resolved, and get their lives back together,” says Megan Woods.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Financial advice Bill puts Kiwis needs first

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 08:41 PM PST

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says the first reading of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill in Parliament today is the first step in a significant package of changes to ensure all Kiwis can get good quality financial advice based on their individual needs. The Bill will require all providers of financial advice to operate to strong, clear standards and ensure transparency around commissions. “One of the significant changes is that we’re moving to an even playing field where all financial advice will have to meet good standards of conduct and competency,” says Mr Faafoi. “The current situation where some advisers are required to put the consumer first while others are not is really concerning to me. “Some people are looking for relatively simple advice – like what KiwiSaver fund is right for me – while others will need more in-depth advice and financial planning services. Either way, I want all New Zealanders to be able to access the really sound advice and assistance they need to make informed financial decisions. “Consumers put a great deal of trust in the people and institutions that provide financial advice, and good financial advice can make a huge difference.” Mr Faafoi says both consumers and the industry have pointed out problems with the way financial advice is currently regulated. “So this Bill strikes a balance between ensuring consumers can access quality advice, and not imposing undue compliance on the industry that could create unintended consequences that make advice less freely available. The Bill will also improve disclosure to consumers. “Currently, consumers are often left in the dark about commissions and other factors that may influence the advice they receive.” Mr Faafoi says. “We need that to change to ensure people are well informed at every stage of seeking or receiving advice.” The Bill will now be considered by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee.

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