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Latest Government News

  • 17 January 2018, 10:23 am
    More electric vehicles will be hitting New Zealand’s highways, bus lanes and streets with funding announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods today. Dr Woods announced $3.74 million for 20 projects under the third round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The projects will see Government funding matched or bettered by businesses. “These exciting projects include a 58 tonne fully electric truck to be used by Coda in Hamilton to shuttle Fonterra’s dairy goods to the railway,” Dr Woods said. “Projects like this are vital to show others in the heavy logistics and transport industry that electric trucks are not only viable but have very low running costs.” Dr Woods said $1.7m of the funding would help fill gaps in the country’s charging infrastructure. Funding was also going towards tourism opportunities such as electric campervans. “The projects we are funding show there’s an EV for almost every job or use in New Zealand, be it delivering fruit and veg or taking a holiday.” Also announced was a Motor Industry Training Organisation project to develop a qualifications framework for mechanics working on electric vehicles. The fund is one of a range of initiatives in the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme, which has a target of doubling the numbers of electric vehicles every year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021. The fund offers up to 50% funding towards projects. Applicants must match or exceed the amounts granted. For this round recipients are contributing $4.30m. Projects are approved conditionally until contracts are prepared and signed. For more information about the fund visithttps://www.eeca.govt.nz/funding-and-support/electric-vehicles-programme/ For general information about electric vehicles, see www.electricvehicles.govt.nz  
  • 16 January 2018, 5:34 pm
    A 150-year-old pub is among three heritage buildings to receive funding to help with earthquake strengthening, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. The Hurunui Hotel, a Category One historic place, was built in 1868. Constructed from two layers of local hand-hewn limestone blocks packed with a mixture of tussock, clay and lime, it has been awarded $132,503 in the latest round of Heritage EQUIP (the Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme) funding to help repair stonework damaged in the Kaikoura earthquakes. “Heritage buildings like the Hurunui pub bring the past to life,”Jacinda Ardern said. “For many rural communities they are an impressive backdrop to everyday activities, reconfigured as shops, offices or restaurants. I am sure locals and visitors alike will be pleased to see the pub up and running again.” The other two buildings to benefit from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding are the Marshall Building in historic Tees Street, Oamaru ($48,000) and a William Gray Young-designed one in Petone’s Jackson Street Historic Area. The Marshall Building - designed in the 1880s by architectural firm Forrester and Lemon - features an ornate façade which, along with a parapet, will be braced and secured. Once strengthened, the building will be converted into accommodation for visitors to Oamaru. Two connected buildings dating back to 1926 and located on Petone’s main shopping street have been awarded $100,000 towards foundation and bracing work. They will provide both retail and residential space once they have been upgraded. The Heritage EQUIP fund assists private owners of heritage buildings throughout New Zealand to maintain and keep them safe. It has supported 16 projects with a total of $3.1 million in grants since it was established in Budget 2016. Applications for the next funding round close on 28 March.
  • 15 January 2018, 4:30 pm
    Foreign Affairs Minister to attend international meeting to discuss North Korea Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is leaving for Canada tonight for an international meeting on North Korea. Twenty one nations have been invited to the meeting which is co-chaired by Canada and the United States, and is taking place in Vancouver from 15-16 January. “I look forward to discussions which will seek to find diplomatic solutions,” Mr Peters says. “This meeting is also an opportunity for the international community to demonstrate solidarity in opposition to the North Korean nuclear tests and missile launches.” “We want North Korea to understand the importance which the international community places on it returning to a meaningful dialogue on denuclearisation,” says Mr Peters. Last week New Zealand joined 17 countries in a Joint Statement pledging to enforce UN sanctions on North Korea. These countries belong to the Proliferation Security Initiative, a global grouping that seeks to block shipments of materials used to make nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. “New Zealand is committed to implementing United Nations Security Council sanctions effectively,” Mr Peters says. Ends
  • 10 January 2018, 9:58 am
    Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor has extended the medium-scale adverse event classification to the drought-hit Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast. These are the first South Island additions to the medium-scale event, which was announced for regions of the lower North Island just before Christmas. “While last week’s rainstorm left parts of coastal New Zealand drenched, the famously wet West Coast has been struggling through an unusually hot, dry start to summer and missed out on the much-needed rain,” said Mr O’Connor. “We are keeping a watching brief on neighbouring areas, including Murchison, which have also missed out on the rain. “On the back of an extremely wet winter that left many farmers unable to grow pasture or crops for spring, the early and unusual dry start to summer turned West Coast pastures from swamp to concrete. “It was agreed that while farmers needed to plan for the worst, there was hope that the forecast rainstorms could break the drought before central government assistance became necessary. However, the Grey and Buller districts now meet the criteria for a medium-scale event.” The classification gives the local Rural Support Trust and other recovery organisations a funding boost of up to $50,000 to help serve their communities, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers. The classification lasts for six months unless things change substantially beforehand. Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, will be made available where appropriate.
  • 8 January 2018, 8:24 am
    NIWA’s annual climate summary for 2017 sends a clear message that New Zealand is right to be addressing the impacts and risks of climate change says the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw. NIWA’s data ranks 2017 as the 5th warmest year on record since the Institute began annual measurements in 1909. Seven of the warmest ten years since 1909 have been in the last decade. “NIWA’s latest data is in line with patterns of climate change that are becoming clearer every year, and shows why we have a responsibility to future generations to do what we can, as soon as we can, to limit more climate change and prepare for the effects the changing climate is already having,” said Mr Shaw. “When you combine NIWA’s latest report with New Zealand’s new ranking at a ‘high hazard’ level for most flooding and cyclone events, according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, it’s clear the government is moving in the right direction by adopting strategies like Zero Carbon legislation to move New Zealand towards a low emissions economy. “In 2018 all New Zealanders will have the chance to participate in setting our national plan for climate action, which will create huge opportunities to increase communities’ resilience to extreme weather and, at the same time, make our towns and cities better places to live in. “As we reduce our climate pollution together as a country over the coming decades, we will also invest in infrastructure that will withstand the extreme weather, which even modest amounts of climate change will bring. “Moving public and private sector investment into clean technology and sustainable infrastructure both reduces climate-related risks and sets up New Zealand for a prosperous and stable economic future. “If further warnings were needed that we cannot be complacent, the fact that New Zealand’s insurance bill for extreme weather events - at $242 million in the first seven months of last year was five times higher than the bill for 2016 - sends that clear warning,” says Mr Shaw.