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By Newsroom America Feeds at 11 Dec 2017


/////////////////////////////////////////// Report on public broadcasting welcomed

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 07:09 PM PST

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran has welcomed a report on the future of public broadcasting and media and thanked the group behind it for its work and commitment to public interest media. “The People’s Commission report has come out of a series of public meetings where three key themes emerged – investment, independence and inclusion. It’s broadly in line with my view that quality New Zealand programming and journalism is crucial to our national identity,” Ms Curran says. “I believe a well-resourced public media is necessary to tell our stories and inform our democracy.” The People’s Commission On Public Broadcasting and Media calls for increased funding for both RNZ and NZ On air and includes six recommendations to the government including an annual inflation-adjusted funding increase, effective immediately. “The report was crowd-funded by small donations from almost 1,000 people plus a $5,000 contribution from Better Public Media. I want to thank BPM for keeping the flame alive at a time when public broadcasting was being starved of funding under the previous government,” Ms Curran says. “We want to transform RNZ into a truly multi-platform provider dedicated to quality New Zealand programming and journalism and want NZOA to be able to better support independent commercial producers and commercial networks to make content that’s valued by people. “This report gives us some additional ideas to consider as we move to support services that reflect Labour’s values of cultural diversity, artistic expression, and independence.” The report and an open letter were handed to Ms Curran at Parliament this afternoon. “The Government has already pledged to increase the funding to NZ On Air and Radio New Zealand from 2018 and we are working through the details of that now. It’s a significant investment in the quality of our public media so they can continue to produce and fund content that is diverse, innovative and relevant,” Ms Curran says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Progress accelerating on 100 Day Plan

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 04:52 PM PST

This week marks the half way stage of the Government’s 100 Day Plan and will see further pleasing progress on delivering on our commitments, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We promised we would be a different government, one that makes dealing with child poverty and reducing inequality a priority. We are delivering on that promise. “On Thursday we will introduce legislation to give effect to the Families Package. Changes to Working for Families will boost the incomes of low and middle income earners and lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty. “In addition, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment will provide other much needed support to parents, superannuitants and beneficiaries. "We also promised we would be a fiscally responsible government. By cancelling the National government’s tax cuts we can afford to deliver that support while still meeting the financial targets we have set ourselves. “This week we will reach the half way stage of our 100 Day Plan and I’m pleased with the significant progress we have made to date. “There’s much more to come as we continue to deliver on our plan, tackle National’s legacy of underfunding in health, housing and education and ensure the gains of economic growth are more fairly shared,” says Prime Minister Ardern. Update on 100 Day Plan Fees free for post-secondary school education or training for first year from 2018 - announced 5 December Student allowances and living cost loans to increase by $50 from 1 January 2018 - announced 21 November Extension of Paid Parental Leave - legislation passed 29 November Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill setting minimum standards for rentals - legislation passed 29 November Legislation to give effect to the Families Package - to be introduced this week Ban on overseas speculators buying existing houses - legislation to be introduced this week Issue directive to Housing New Zealand stopping the sell-off of state houses - to be delivered shortly Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and KiwiBuild programme - underway Tax Working Group - Terms of Reference announced and Chairman appointed 23 November, further appointments shortly Restart contributions to the Super Fund - announced at the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update Pike River Recovery Agency - establishment underway Legislation to provide greater fairness in workplace - to be introduced when Parliament resumes late January Minimum wage to rise to $16.50 to take effect from April 2018 - formal approval underway Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty - Child Poverty Reduction Bill to be introduced early next year when Parliament resumes Legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain - to be introduced next week Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care - underway with chair and scope of inquiry to be announced in January Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis - underway, announcement early in New Year with inquiry members and terms of reference Set zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up independent Climate Commission - underway.

/////////////////////////////////////////// National Standards ended

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 02:36 PM PST

The Government has taken the first steps to turn around a decline in educational achievement among Kiwi children, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Last week’s international report showed that since National Standards were introduced in 2010 reading levels of New Zealand children have dropped to their lowest level on record. It made sobering reading,” Mr Hipkins said. “Today I am announcing that the Government has stopped National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori and will instead focus on the progress and achievement of all children across the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. “Schools and parents have lost confidence in National Standards. They were too narrow, neither national nor standard, and did not do what the previous National government claimed they would do and lift the bar.” “Starting in 2018, schools will no longer be compelled to report annually on National Standards to the Ministry of Education. The process was little more than a compliance exercise and was a major distraction to schools. There are better ways to build a nationwide picture.” “Parents will still receive reports at least twice a year on their child’s progress and achievement in maths, reading and writing as well as across the curriculum areas. But this reporting will focus on children’s progress, rather than measuring them against arbitrary National Standards. “The reports, written in plain English, will relate to where their child is at, at a given point, and the progress shift that has occurred, rather than being judged against others.” “Next year parents can be sure they’ll get quality information about their child’s progress in reading, writing and maths, and schools will be freed to report on the full breadth of the curriculum. “The one thing National Standards did teach us is that if you force rushed change onto the education sector with little or no input or consultation, you get an inferior product and students will bear the brunt of that decision,” Mr Hipkins said. “We will take the next few months to work with the sector, students, parents, whānau and iwi to develop a new approach for understanding progress across the curricula that will meet their needs, and contribute to the education system supporting the success of all students. I will report back to Cabinet by September 2018.” The new approach will strengthen partnerships between home, school and kura. Mr Hipkins said the Government has made sure that going into 2018 schools and parents will be clear about what to expect. “The Ministry of Education is today issuing good practice guidance to schools, kura, and Kāhui Ako to give them more flexibility in the assessment tools they use in their planning, teaching and reporting practices.” More information on the change is available at:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister calls on WTO to support fossil fuel subsidy reform

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 01:47 PM PST

Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker today started a dialogue to encourage the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to address the global harm being caused by inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. “Each year, governments are spending at least 425 billion dollars subsidising the production and sale of coal, oil, gas and other greenhouse gas emitting fuels,” says Mr Parker. We want to change this. “This money could be better used to pursue other development goals or invest in the renewable energy sector. Mr Parker co-hosted an event with Finland to deliver a Ministerial statement to the WTO on Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR). Endorsed by twelve other WTO Members, the statement confirms the environmental, development and trade benefits of fossil fuel subsidy reform, especially the most inefficient ones that encourage waste and includes a political commitment by participants to look at avenues to bring the issue into the WTO. “Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies will offer huge opportunities for promotion of sustainable development, renewable energy, removal of trade distortions and the reduction of global warming” says Mr Parker. “A partial phase-out of subsidies would contribute to climate change mitigation efforts and the Paris Agreement. Removing fossil fuel subsidies for consumption alone could lead to the reduction of global emissions by between 6-8% by 2050.” “I believe that trade policy can contribute to global environmental solutions and we will be making appropriate steps to achieve that,” says Mr Parker.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Climate Change Minister Welcomes One Planet Summit

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 01:22 PM PST

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has welcomed the One Planet Summit being hosted in Paris on 12 December – two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement was concluded. “Climate change affects everybody, everywhere. The action people take in their everyday lives, however, must be supported by strong and sustained political leadership.” “The One Planet Summit aims to bring together that political leadership and reinforces the growing momentum for global climate action, not just from the 170 governments that have already ratified the Paris Agreement, but also from local government and the finance sector,” Mr Shaw says. On 12 December 2017 the One Planet Summit will bring together heads of government, along with local government, finance and business leaders, to showcase their support for accelerated global efforts to fight climate change. “It will be two years to the day since 150 heads of state turned up in Paris in support of a new international agreement on climate change. “I am heartened by the growing focus around the world on moving to ‘green’ investment. Finance flows are increasingly being managed to get the incentives right for a shift away from coal and oil and towards support for decarbonisation. “The One Planet Summit complements the recent UN climate meeting I attended in Bonn. Momentum continues next year when Governor Jerry Brown will convene a summit of business and other non-state organisations, and in 2019, when Secretary General Guterres will host a UN Climate Change Summit. “Regular gatherings such as the One Planet Summit are essential to maintain our focus on collective progress in dealing with climate change,” Mr Shaw says. New Zealand will be represented at the One Planet Summit by our ambassador to France, Jane Coombs.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Booming sector ready for new challenges

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 08:00 PM PST

The growth in New Zealand’s primary industry exports is impressive and provides the sector a strong base to deal with the challenges ahead, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report shows the sector’s exports will grow by 8.5 per cent in 2018, to $41.4 billion. “This would be the largest annual increase since 2014 when dairy prices rose to very high levels,” says Mr O’Connor. “Growth this year is spread across all sectors and these gains are expected to be built on a more sustainable foundation.” Mr O’Connor says dairy exports are leading the way, with a forecast increase of 15 per cent to $16.8b in 2018 despite the wet spring affecting production. “Despite a decline in cow numbers, there has been some better value for exporters. The sector continues to provide a solid base for a better future. “Meat and wool exports are forecast to grow 4.2 per cent to $8.7b, with lamb prices looking really good and beef, mutton, and venison also doing very well. “The forestry sector is on pace for a third consecutive year of strong export growth with exceptional demand from China. Forestry exports are forecast to reach nearly $5.7b in 2018.” Mr O’Connor says New Zealand’s primary industries are evolving. “Our horticulture sectors are leading the charge in producing high-value products tailored to target markets overseas. This isn’t just true for kiwifruit, wine, and apples - there are also emerging opportunities for cherries, avocados, and berries. “We are also seeing a huge shift to high-value products in the dairy sector. For example, infant formula exports are forecast to exceed $1b in 2018 for the first time. UHT milk, yoghurt, and other specialty products are also doing very well. “We are a primary producing nation and it is very encouraging that the prospects for the primary industries look so bright. However, New Zealand and other primary producing nations face the global challenge of sustainability – we need to provide good quality, nutritious food for a rapidly rising global population but we must do this in a way that is sustainable. “This means placing an even greater focus on high-value production, sustainable resource use, managing the risks posed to our primary sector by harmful pests and diseases, and meeting ever changing consumer demands.” The news is also good for other sectors: * Horticulture exports are forecast to grow 5.2 per cent in 2018 with broad-based growth across the sector. Wine, kiwifruit, and pipfruit are all contributing to this growth story, and there is a high level of investment supporting further growth. * Rising prices for wild capture fisheries products and aquaculture volumes are expected to contribute to a 4.4 per cent increase in seafood exports to $1.8b. * Honey export volumes are forecast to resume growth after a dip in 2017, while exports of innovative processed foods, including dietary supplements products, are expected to resume their growth. The Situation and Outlook report is available on the MPI website at:

Contact: Sean Scanlon 021 863 138

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