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By Newsroom America Feeds at 17 Dec 2017


/////////////////////////////////////////// First Important Step towards the Zero Carbon Act

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 07:57 PM PST

18 December 2018

The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, is pleased to announce today the Government’s first important step towards creating a Zero Carbon Act. “Today the Government is making the first important move to deliver on our commitments to be a world leader on climate change,” says James Shaw. “Cabinet has agreed to a process of consultation in 2018, before the Zero Carbon Bill is introduced. The Bill will be a cornerstone of New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions, climate resilient future. “I’m looking forward to engaging in conversations with New Zealanders next year as together we design the framework for New Zealand to transition to a sustainable economy. “Taking action on climate change is about working together to ensure a stable climate for future generations, and creates huge opportunities for new jobs in clean industries, better transport, and cleaner air and water. “This is a big task and the transition will take decades. Climate change challenges us to make fundamental changes to our economy and we have a moral responsibility to do that in a way that brings people and communities along with us. “Everyone will have an opportunity to have their say as we develop the plan for a just transition to a sustainable economy. “The legislation will see New Zealand put a bold new climate change target into law and establish an independent Climate Change Commission,” says Mr Shaw. “Putting our new climate change target into law will hold the Government to account and place New Zealand in a small group of countries who aspire to net-zero emissions in the next few decades. “A Zero Carbon Act provides the certainty businesses need to make long-term investment decisions, and it will drive the growth and innovation we need. “The nature of the challenges we face with climate change are long-term and that means we need an independent commission which can take a long-term non-partisan view, provide independent advice to the government of the day, and ensure New Zealand stays on track to meet its climate change goals. “From May next year, we’ll have a conversation with all New Zealanders about the potential target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “We’ll talk about how we get there and the role of the independent Climate Change Commission. “We’ll gather robust evidence and modelling on the economic implications of the target, and work closely with communities; including Māori, business and other sectors of the economy as we draft a Zero Carbon Bill,” says Mr Shaw. “I intend to introduce the Zero Carbon Bill into Parliament by the end of October next year. “But it’s important that we don’t lose momentum, which is why the Government is establishing an Interim Climate Change Committee from early next year to do the ground work in some priority areas while we set up the Commission. “The interim committee could start by looking at agriculture, which contributes almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and how we can transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity. “I expect that the Climate Change Commission will pick up the interim committee’s work in those areas as it puts together a wide range of recommendations,” Mr Shaw says. A board of public sector chief executives, focused on climate change, will also be established early next year. ENDS

/////////////////////////////////////////// Digital skills landscape report welcomed

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 07:06 PM PST

The Government has welcomed the release of a report on the digital skills landscape in New Zealand and says it’s committed to training and upskilling more New Zealanders with the expertise they need for a 21st century economy. Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Communications Minister Clare Curran say the government recognises digital literacy and the development of digital skills are crucially important to our modern lives and our economic future. “We are committed to increasing the investment in digital learning in schools and also among the wider population through an emphasis on enabling lifelong learning,” Mr Hipkins says. “We’ll do that through a range of measures including supporting the new digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum which starts in schools next year and through the fees-free initiative which will benefit tens of thousands of students next year and even more when it expands by 2024 to provide three years fees free. “The Ministry of Education will also work with the Digital Skills forum to address the issues raised in the report.” Ms Curran says much of what’s in the report aligns with the new Government’s priorities and is very useful in quantifying the size of the skills shortage. “We need to know as much as we can about the size, scale and nature of the digital skills shortage in the digital technology sector, and across New Zealand. This report takes a long term look at digital skills needs and highlights the gap between limited supply and increased demand for digital skills,” Ms Curran says. “The tech sector is New Zealand’s fastest growing industry and makes a significant contribution to our economy. We want to close the digital divides by 2020, and make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025. “We have to grow and support local talent and at the same time grab the best talent worldwide to fill any gaps. If we do, we will have the opportunity to make New Zealand a worldwide technology capital.” “The report provides useful information for the new Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Advisory Group I announced last week. The findings and recommendations from this research will be used to help government identify areas of future focus and potential investment,” Ms Curran says. The report, ‘DIGITAL SKILLS – For a Digital Nation’, concludes New Zealand has a shortage of digitally skilled talent and that women, Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented in computer sciences or information technology courses. “I’d like to thank the Digital Skills Forum for producing this report and I know government agencies on the forum look forward to continuing to work with industry to address the issues raised in it,” Mr Hipkins says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// NZ joins call to stop Japanese whaling

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 04:17 PM PST

New Zealand joins call to stop Japanese whaling New Zealand has joined an international call for Japan to end its on-going whaling in the Southern Ocean and to respect the International Whaling Commission’s processes. Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is a co-signatory to a written statement issued today which reiterates opposition to Japan’s so called “scientific” whaling. The statement is also supported by the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, the European Union and its member states, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. “This statement highlights the strong international disapproval of Japan’s continued whaling in the Southern Ocean contrary to IWC requests,” says Mr Peters. “New Zealand will continue to work closely with other IWC members seeking to have Japan rethink what it is doing,” he says. The international statement can be located at:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Moves to make building rules easier to access and understand

Posted: 17 Dec 2017 03:35 PM PST

The Government is making it easier for people to understand and apply best practice when designing and constructing buildings. By launching a new building system search engine and sponsoring five commonly used building standards and a handbook, we hope to see improved compliance with the Building Code, and even more importantly, safer homes and buildings, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “The online search engine, Building CodeHub helps people locate the latest building rules and guidance information for designing and constructing buildings,” says Ms Salesa. “It’s the definitive source of up-to-date rules and guidance from a range of sources.” “New Zealand’s building regulator the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), has sponsored some of the most commonly-used standards, making them freely available to all users,” says Ms Salesa. “We anticipate that providing free access to these standards, will make it easier for consumers to understand the building code requirements and apply best practice methods when undertaking home building projects.” The sponsored standards and handbook, which can be accessed from the Standards New Zealand website, are: Design for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities (NZS 4121:2001) - provides solutions for making buildings and facilities accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Housing, alterations and small buildings contract (NZS 3902:2004) - a plain English standard building contract. Thermal insulation - housing and small buildings (NZS 4218:2009) - helps establish the levels of thermal insulation for houses and small buildings. Interconnected smoke alarms for houses (NZS 4514:2009) - provides information about the placement and audibility of smoke alarms. Safety barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs (NZS 8500:2006) - describes barriers for residential pools including ways to assess their strength. Handbook on Timber-framed buildings (selected extracts from NZS 3604:2011) - figures and tables to help design and construct timber-framed buildings up to three storeys high. “MBIE will continue to make the building system more accessible with further enhancements to Building CodeHub and considering ways to improve access to more design and construction building standards,” says Ms Salesa.

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