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Akl Unitary Plan: the good, the bad & the debatable

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, March 17th, 2013 - 39 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, capital gains, capitalism, climate change, Conservation, cost of living, exports, housing, infrastructure, national/act government, public transport, quality of life, tenants' rights - Tags: , ,

The Draft Auckland Unitary Plan, which was released this week, is a massive endeavour with much to commend it.  It focuses on resource management and links in with the Auckland Plan that was released last year.

Like the Environmental Defence Society, I am pleased with some ways that it aims to be protect the environment, but also agree that it will take several months for most people to digest the  content and implications of the Draft Unitary Plan.  The EDS press release also identifies a short coming that needs fixing:

“The plan appears to tackle natural resource management issues well. It has permissive zoning for development areas and restrictive zoning for conservation areas. This clarity and precision will give everyone more certainty and is a change from the woolly language and provisions that characterised the legacy plans it replaces.

“There are some omissions that will need fixing. These include inadequate provisions relating to the marine area. Auckland’s marine space is larger than its land area and contains critically threatened species including Maui’s dolphin and Bryde’s whale. These have not been adequately addressed in the draft Unitary Plan. Council will need to considerably beef up its marine management provisions.

I was pleased to see that the Draft Plan, as accessible in electronic form, directly addresses climate change:

Section 1.5.2 of the introduction says:

To respond to climate change we have identified two approaches, mitigation and adaptation. …

The move to a quality compact city, for example, will help reduce Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging greater use of public transport, more efficient use of energy, and requiring the application of good design principles to new developments. Measures in the Unitary Plan, such as rules around setbacks from the coast and streams, and land use controls in identified hazard areas, will better enable Auckland to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

However, as indicated in Len Brown’s speech to launch the draft plan, he still embraces the “neoliberal’ approach of export-led growth:

The Auckland Plan, which we released last year, reflects the desire and the necessity for a modern, compact city.

It reflects the need for an integrated transport system which provides quality public transport alongside the roading network.

It reflects the need for a concerted drive to develop an export-focused regional economy. …

Auckland’s population is set to nearly double over the next 30 years. Our population will grow by a million people. More than 60 per cent of this will come from our existing populous. They have to live somewhere. The region needs a mix of new housing land, and more intensive housing in key areas of the city.

This plan allows for intensity – but it also expands the existing city by creating a new rural-urban boundary.

I do like his focus on making a more compact and “liveable” city, preserving heritage areas.  Penny Hulse has had a strong involvement in the plan and seems to give priority to the community.  The construction of the Draft Unitary Plan has included some consultation with Aucklanders, according to Brown’s speech:

In particular I want to acknowledge Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, whose leadership as Chair of the Auckland Plan Committee has been vital in getting us to this point….

We talked extensively with Aucklanders about how we could best meet the challenges facing the region, and how we can best seize the opportunities they present.

15,000 people made submissions on the Auckland Plan, many others engaged through public meetings, online forums and involvement with their local boards. We have also consulted widely on the draft Unitary Plan through our 21 local boards and their communities.

According to NZ Herald’s Bernard Orsman, Hulse and husband plan to give up their Swanson house to move into one of the apartments that are part of new medium density housing in New Lynn.   Orsman’s article also reports that a handful of areas, including New Lynn, will have a cap on up to 18 storeys of residential apartments.

As a New Lynn resident  I have been quite excited by some of the recent developments (the rail trench, the shared walking, cycling, motor vehicle spaces, the incorporation of the area’s history into the designs, medium density residential developments within walking distance of public transport  medical centre and commercial centre, and more).

However, I am a little concerned about the 18 storey upper limit, and about the possibility of it becoming widespread.

John Minto, on The Daily Blog, is also critical of both Auckland Council and the NZ government’s plans for Auckland because they incorporate the ideology of “growth”.

But we need neither the Council’s plans nor the government response. Both assume we need growth and that somehow this will make Auckland a more liveable city.

It won’t. We have a liveability crisis for low and middle income families right now and growth will do nothing to ease their struggle.

Instead of growth we need sustainable community renewal as Auckland’s top priority. This would mean Auckland Council focusing on strengthening and empowering local communities, providing the stimulus for jobs, providing more affordable housing and reducing the rates burden on low and middle income families who currently pay a far higher proportion of their income on rates and council charges than do higher-income families.

So what needs to be done?

To make housing more affordable we need a tough capital gains tax to drive “property investors” – almost 50% of current house sales – out of the housing market and leave it for first-home buyers.

To make the city more liveable for low and middle income families the council should abolish all flat charges for such things as wastewater and rubbish and incorporate them within a rates system based on property values.

However, I would have thought a focus on constructing more state houses, and on keeping private rents affordable should also be on the agenda.  The plan is open for discussion, so now is the time for people to look at the draft and make their views known.

39 comments on “Akl Unitary Plan: the good, the bad & the debatable”

  1. Green Viper 1

    Regional development is all but dead in new Zealand. Auckland’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor are both proselytizing growth in Auckland when we should be talking about dealing with the death of small town New Zealand. Real long term vision not piting Auckland against the rest of the country is what’s needed – not short term arguments that enable the Mayor and Deputy to grandstand.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      2M people in Auckland by 2035, a smidgeon under 40% of NZ’s total population in 0.3% the land area.

      While, as you say, small towns and cities all through the provinces struggle and struggle.

      • Pete 1.1.1

        I read an interesting article yesterday calling for the Reserve Bank to increase loan to value ratios in Auckland, but keep them low in other centres. This would keep Auckland house inflation in check through reducing the amount of capital available to borrowers for their mortgages. It would also encourage people to consider moving elsewhere, reducing the growing demand on Auckland’s infrastructure. Plus if the Reserve Bank is the one who does it, then the political risk would be minimal compared to the government pissing off Aucklanders.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Clever thinking

        • The Chairman 1.1.1.2

          The notion (regional LVRs) has merit and would largely make a capital gains tax (and the risk it carries) redundant.

          However, first home buyers would have to be exempt.

    • karol 1.2

      I don’t know that the mayor and deputy are grandstanding. They are fulfilling their allotted roles. However, I think the focus on growth, and growing Auckland is a bit misplaced.

      I agree with their focus on keeping Auckland compact. However, I also agree that they should be coordinating with regional provisions. Isn’t this the responsibility nationally of Chris Tremain? And will he do anything other than endorse Joyce’s priorities, as expressed in the House in February?

      Joyce’s idea of regional development is Ultra Fast Broadband, oil and gas, Wellington film industry, and RONS.

    • ghostrider888 1.3

      Yes Green Viper. Yes

  2. DH 2

    “However, I am a little concerned about the 18 storey upper limit, and about the possibility of it becoming widespread.”

    Do you think it too high or not high enough Karol?

    • karol 2.1

      Too high. I had envisaged something like up to about 6 storeys around New Lynn and similar Auckland suburbs.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Interestingly there is no height restriction right now and the Plan is the first to set limits. I am comfortable with high rise very close to the train stations although this should level out as you get further away.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          Yes, micky, I don’t mind so much if it’s kept to one or two fairly high rise buildings near the station – that was what I meant by being concerned about it becoming widespread.

          I guess it hasn’t been an issue before because the buildings were never that high.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          I have no problems with the height just so long as it’s done well enough so that sunlight isn’t blocked from the ground too much and that there’s enough green space to go with it. I am fully against the concrete jungle type that we see in L.A. and Manhattan.

      • DH 2.1.2

        “Too high”

        Ok. It does sound pretty high but you might want to look into the numbers for affordable housing sometime. In most built-up areas you need to buy both land and existing dwelling to build apartments. The dwelling has no value in that case, it will be demolished, but you still have to buy it to get the land below.

        It’s very expensive land and I can’t see 6 stories being enough to amortise the cost of the land down enough for an apartment to be what we here would call affordable. I don’t know New Lynn prices but I’d think you couldn’t buy the land & dwelling(s) for a 6 story block for under $1million. At that price you’ve got a land cost of $166k per unit there already with improvements to come.

        • ghostrider888 2.1.2.1

          they must go up (not down to Wellington) for approvals

        • karol 2.1.2.2

          I don’t know about the cost of the land and who has owns it. here are some prices for the apartments about to be built in the 6 storey block at the centre of New Lynn – they are selling them beforet hey build them:

          NZ Herald article: apartments selling from $246k.

          Barfoot and Thompson (who have somehow made the Library and CAB building to the right of the block disappear:):

          Realestate.co.nz gives details of the kinds of apartments on offer:

          Freehold Unit Titles, comprising 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom plus study and 2 bedroom options, 110 units in total and 100 units with balconies and great views not seen before from buildings in New Lynn.
          Priced from $246,000, they all include window furnishings, whiteware as a bonus!

          Some for $400k.

          • DH 2.1.2.2.1

            So cutting through the RE sales BS it’s $246k for a tiny 47m2 one bedroom apartment. $35k extra for a carpark!!

            25yr mortgage of $250k at 6% is $486 a week. Plus unit fees. A lot to pay for a single brdm unit, as an investment the rent wouldn’t be much less.

            The Herald article notes the bodycorp fees average $1786 a year. They’d go up with inflation too whereas the mortgage doesn’t. $1786 is an extra $34 per week – $530 a week for a 1brm, $584 if you want to park your car.

            It’s housing for the middle class. At 14 stories the units are grossly overpriced in relation to what they cost to build, developer is making a killing on them.

            • karol 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Thanks. Interesting analysis. So we wouldn’t want to see too many of those sorts of apartment blocks.

              I think more terraced style housing, or 2-3 storey apartment blocks are planned for elsewhere in the area.

              • DH

                Karol I think that realistically we’ll only see affordable housing if the Govt or Council underwrites the builds, preferably owning the land beneath and contracting out the design & construction. Those units are being sold at ‘market price’ which has no relationship whatsoever with the cost of building them.

                The cost of building multi-level apartments is much lower than people realise. The big developers aka finance companies who all went broke a while back had nearly 100% financing cost on top of their construction costs, interest etc literally almost doubled the build cost. And they still made a killing when their developments were completed & sold.

                I guess it depends on how people see it, those buying the units obviously don’t see any problems. A those sorts of prices though I can see low income earners being squeezed out of New Lynn. They won’t be able to afford the rents.

                • karol

                  A those sorts of prices though I can see low income earners being squeezed out of New Lynn.

                  That is a worry. There does need to be some guarantee of affordable rents, and of increased availability of state housing, along with the return of some industry to wider Auckland.

                  New Lynn used to be an industrial and working class area. It now is a transport hub, and a lot of the development is around the commercial centre, which ia planning to expand in the near future.

                  Those new apartments will also deliver consumers to the neighbouring mall. I find it a little disturbing that LynnMall is owned by (the misleadingly named “Kiwi Income Properties Ltd”. Their ultimate parent company is The Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

                  And I don’t see any plans for retirement housing in the central area – maybe they want to attract mainly middle-class salary earning consumers…?!

                  • DH

                    Totally agree but what’s the answer? You can’t argue the arithmetic and the private sector isn’t going to provide ‘affordable’ housing. They charge what the market will pay and always will. Welfare isn’t the answer, the taxpayer just underwrites the market that caused the problem in the first place and makes it even worse.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      State housing is the answer and for the state to build enough to run a 2% to 3% excess of housing rented out as a percentage of household income. Best way for the government to do that is high density housing.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.2.1.2

              Notice what the middle class has to accept as realistic is declining year by year by year. Deflation in action.

  3. ghostrider888 3

    here are some Hickeys / non-realpolitik pipe-dreamshttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10871689

  4. ghostrider888 4

    here are some Hickeys / non-realpolitik pipe dreams
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10871689

    • karol 4.1

      Yes, I saw Hickey’s article a little while ago. He makes some interesting suggestions – eg opening up lots more green and brownfields for development. Shouldn’t we be looking for more industry in brownfields? And to keep a lot of our greenfields?

      An Auckland land tax to stop developers sitting on land til the price goes up, seems a good idea. these ones sound worth considering, too:

      3. Introduce macro-prudential controls to slow high LVR lending, including extra capital requirements for mortgage lending and making banks fund all their lending locally through term deposits. These tools are used by Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Sweden and Norway.

      4. Restrict or control migration so fewer migrants from offshore and other parts of New Zealand are able to move to Auckland. That could include a regional development strategy.

      5. Restrict non-resident investment in houses in Auckland, as Hong Kong and Australia have done.

      6. Encourage the development of, or build, one or two large-scale pre-fabricated house manufacturers to drag down the cost of building.

      7. Launch an apprenticeship training scheme in Auckland for trades staff to build the 400,000 dwellings needed over the next 30 years.

      I don’t know what the impact would be of raising the official cash rate.

      • ghostrider888 4.1.1

        hows the sinuses?

      • KJT 4.1.2

        Basically Hickeys ideas are good except for raising the OCR.

        The OCR is a blunt instrument.

        Raising the OCR bludgeons our productive industries. Raises the exchange rate and raises their interest rates, compared with offshore competition, at the same time as it takes money from the internal economy and cuts demand for all goods..
        It adversely affects those who have already borrowed, and cannot change their borrowing to react.

        The sole use of the OCR to fight inflation should have been changed long ago.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1

          The sole use of the OCR to fight inflation should have been changed long ago.

          True, as it obviously doesn’t work. The whole point of the OCR is to control the amount of money in circulation and it’s just not doing that. The higher the OCR, the more the banks borrow from overseas to fund their reserve base which is then used to further increase the money supply through the Fractional Reserve system.

          Not that the banks are increasing the amount of money in circulation all that much – just the amount that being passed from bank to bank in a game of musical houses.

          • DH 4.1.2.1.1

            “True, as it obviously doesn’t work. The whole point of the OCR is to control the amount of money in circulation and it’s just not doing that. ”

            Agreed, partly. You’d be one of the few I’ve seen who’s actually asked how & why the OCR works and seen the flaws. It has worked but for all the wrong reasons. Milton Friedman, arguably the architect of monetarist policy, made it clear in his work that the path to controlling inflation was to keep growth in the money supply closely aligned to growth in economic output. The RBNZ have never done that, they simply used the OCR reactively whenever the CPI started wobbling.

            The consequence was that consumer inflation was held down by cheaper imports, courtesy of the high OCR pushing up the $NZ, and the money supply grew out of control via the banks offshore borrowing. We did see rampant inflation from that uncontrolled growth in M3, as Friedman postulated would happen, but it was in the property market which isn’t shown in CPI figures so the RBNZ donkeys had the gall to keep telling us that inflation was under control.

            It’s one of the reasons I don’t have much time for Hickey. He doesn’t put all the pieces together, too shallow for my liking.

            • KJT 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Hickey is unfortunately a product of his upbringing. He is firstly, part of the finance industry.

              All the more credit to him though, for eventually seeing the woods, and starting dialogue about the failing neo-liberal system.

              His other ideas in the article are valid solutions to overly inflated land and housing prices (Note that dairy farms are equally priced way beyound earnings value).

              Also unfortunately, we have become too dependent on land as savings, for perfectly understandable reasons, but no one is going to like the correction.

  5. Lefty 5

    Nationalise all land that could be used for housing in the Auckland area.

    Only allow building by the state,not for profit organisations and individuals for the use of their own families.

    Stop growing. We don’t need as many migrants as we are getting at present. It is a nonsense that we need to grow to prosper.

    Stop trying to kid ourselves we can build housing skyscrapers that will not quickly become slums and will not end up producing some severely disturbed people because of the unnatural situation they are living in. It hasn’t been done anywhere else so why would we be able to do it here.

    Its also completely unnecessary unless you are trying to base your housing planning on how you provide the cheapest possible housing while still allowing big profits for developers. The second part of the equation is unnecessary and those public commentators and politicians who persist in doing this are a big part of the problem.

    There are better ways of intensification.

    Have greater local community participation in planning – not fucking consultation over massive complicated plans that are just a license for lawyers to make a lot of money, speculators to find holes in and highly paid senior council staff to pull the wool over everybodies eyes with. Instead start listening to people, like the tens of thousands of homeowners who already own land and try to find solutions for extended families on their own land but are forced into building illegal structures because of the fuck wit control freaks who actually set council policies to the background sound of the pointless middle class jabbering and confusion of our elected representatives.

    Put in rent controls and stronger tenancy protection.

    Outlaw hypocrysy. Too many of the middle class people making a fuss about housing are hyprocritical capitalist bastard landlords (including a big percentage of our politicians from most of the parties).

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Stop trying to kid ourselves we can build housing skyscrapers that will not quickly become slums and will not end up producing some severely disturbed people because of the unnatural situation they are living in.

      But, we can.

      It hasn’t been done anywhere else so why would we be able to do it here.

      It’s been done in many places around the world.

      Sure, need to put some thought into it but it can, and should, be done.

      Its also completely unnecessary unless you are trying to base your housing planning on how you provide the cheapest possible housing while still allowing big profits for developers.

      Ah, no. Compact cities are far cheaper to run which is why cities went upwards several centuries ago.

      There are better ways of intensification.

      You may not have noticed but the Auckland Plan uses all of them and not just skyscrapers.

      Put in rent controls and stronger tenancy protection.

      Best forms of those that can be put in is state housing – lots of state housing. Some people don’t like it though as they think that they’re entitled to live on other peoples work.

  6. Michael Wood 6

    This is a useful post on the issue and I think that the point about the marine environment being somewhat sidelined is valid.

    John Minto’s critique of ‘growth’ in the plan is more problematic. The growth that the Unitary Plan is talking about is not some kind of construct, it is demography. There is large population growth in Auckland, and there will be something like 1 million more people to accommodate in the time period under consideration. The UP (primarily) is about how we do that well. In this respect quality intensification is a no-brainer. In any other situation in which you are dealing with a valuable resource, you will look to use that resource as efficiently as possible, getting the best possible value out of each unit. Why would we treat land any differently?

    I’m convinced that affordable housing is not something that can be ‘nudged’. The incentives for developers to go in the other direction are just too strong. It requires direct action from central government, and for stronger tools to be given to local government.

    • karol 6.1

      Thanks Michael for you valuable assessment of the plan.

      It seems to me that the notion of economic “growth” is indicated in Len Brown’s speech, part of which I quoted in the post. In that quote, Brown is referring to the Auckland Plan’s aim for regional economic, export led development. I had in mind to look at how much this includes revitalisation of manufacturing in the Auckland area/region.

      I think maybe affordable housing needs to be related to a return to the kinds of industries that were doing well in New Lynn before the Rogernomics shift to “free trade”. That as well as the central government increasing the state housing stock. This would go some way to counter the housing developments becoming another wave of gentrification of the areas most accessible to the CBD.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        I think maybe affordable housing needs to be related to a return to the kinds of industries that were doing well in New Lynn before the Rogernomics shift to “free trade”.

        However – there is no economic pathway or political leadership available back to the import substitution model of industry. I’m not familiar with what used to be manufactured in New Lynn, but when I think of all the apparel, foot wear, domestic item manufacturers and all the engineering services that those factories around the country used to use…they’re all gone and not coming back.

        Also, since Rogernomics occurred, China has become the low cost manufacturing power house of the world.

        Len Brown has minimal power over all of these factors.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          New Lynn was notable for its thriving clay & ceramics industry. Crown Lynn/Ceramco was the most notable. It moved to South East Asia in the 80s, I think. There was also the Astley tanneries, Cambridge Clothing (still in New Lynn) and others like a chocolate factory I think.

          Yes, it requires the government to contribute to developing manufacturing. Back to the tensions between Brown and Smith & Co.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      In any other situation in which you are dealing with a valuable resource, you will look to use that resource as efficiently as possible, getting the best possible value out of each unit. Why would we treat land any differently?

      Bravo – I know many a dairy farmer who hold exactly the same sentiments.

  7. The Chairman 7

    A capital gains tax carries the risk of being passed on.

    Property investors would want to offset the burden.

    High demand coupled with the property shortfall will give scope for this.

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    3 weeks ago
  • West Coast tech firms and iwi get Provincial Growth Fund cash boost
    Pounamou and technology industries in the West Coast region are set to receive more than $2 million in Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding. This was announced by the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau during Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika. He said $800,000 would be given to Development West ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 70 marae online through PGF
    Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF supports West Coast connectivity
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika today. The PGF projects announced are: $800,000 to Development ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Proposed new measures to improve Aotearoa’s air quality
      Improved air quality to support better health and environmental wellbeing is the focus of proposed amendments to air quality regulations, says the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  “Although our air quality is good in most places, during winter certain places have spikes in air pollution, mainly from ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Water investment in Raukokore
    The remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokere will receive a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $10.6 million for a water storage facility, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “This is great news for the rural community. The landowner, Te Whānau a Maruhaeremuri Hapū Trust, will use ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Better protection against late payments
    New legislation is being proposed which aims to reduce the stress and financial hardship caused by late payments to small businesses. The Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash is considering stricter rules around payment practices between businesses. “Late payments from large organisations to smaller suppliers can be crippling for these ...
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    8 hours ago
  • Police partnership programme with Fiji launched
    A new partnership programme between the New Zealand Police and Fiji Police will focus on combatting transnational organised crime and enhancing investigative skills, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on the first day of her visit to Fiji. The programme will see: ·       New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Joint statement from Prime Minister Ardern and Prime Minister Bainimarama
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama met today in Suva, and renewed their commitment to continue to strengthen Fiji-New Zealand relations on a foundation of shared values and equal partnership. The Prime Ministers acknowledged the kinship between Fijians and New Zealanders, one that has endured over ...
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    23 hours ago
  • $19.9 million from PGF for Kawerau
    A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund will help develop essential infrastructure for an industrial hub in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “The funding will go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub, an industrial ...
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    1 day ago
  • PGF funds Mahia roading package
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.3 million on a roading package for Mahia that will lead to greater and wider economic benefits for the region and beyond, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at an event in Mahia today. The $8.3 million announced consists of: $7 ...
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    1 day ago
  • 18,400 children lifted out of poverty
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package.   Stats NZ has released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government ...
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    1 day ago
  • 20,000 more Kiwi kids on bikes
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that Bikes in Schools facilities have been rolled out to 20,000 more kiwi kids under this Government. She made the announcement at the opening of a new bike track at Henderson North School in Auckland. “Bikes in Schools facilities give kids ...
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    1 day ago
  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
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    2 days ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
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    2 days ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
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    2 days ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
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    3 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
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    4 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
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    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
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    5 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
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    5 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
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    5 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
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    5 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
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    6 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
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    6 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
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    6 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
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    6 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
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    6 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
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    7 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
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    7 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
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    1 week ago