Civil defence moves to Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

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From tomorrow (Tuesday 1 April) the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) will be part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye said today.

“This move strengthens the Ministry and New Zealand’s ability to plan for and respond to large scale emergencies, and to coordinate the national support needed,” Ms Kaye says.

Since the Ministry was formed in 1959, it has been part of the Department of Internal Affairs. DIA has become the government technology and information management leader, which makes it appropriate for MCDEM to move to an agency closely involved in crisis management.

“DPMC leads national security planning. Having the Ministry within DPMC will benefit that planning and will give the Ministry a greater role in working across all of government to strengthen national emergency management arrangements,” Ms Kaye says.

“New Zealand’s civil defence emergency management system is world-leading in involving communities and local government in emergency management. This focus will not change.

“Our approach of local responsibility, regional coordination, and national support has been tested many times since 1959 by floods, storms, landslides, volcanoes and earthquakes. It remains our philosophy because it works.

“The move to DPMC will strengthen the coordination of national support that can be provided when it is needed.”

The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton, remains the head of the Ministry and keeps all his statutory powers. The Ministry will continue to be fully capable of supporting a response to an emergency during the transition. MCDEM will move its offices to within the Parliamentary precinct.

Flaxmere young people funded for leadership programme

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Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye has today announced one-off funding of $20,000 for 30 Flaxmere College students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award programme.

“There have been difficulties for young people in Flaxmere and I want to ensure that more young people have opportunities to develop their leadership abilities and contribute to their community,” Ms Kaye says.

“In February, I met with leaders in the Hastings community of Flaxmere, as well as a number of young people, to discuss the positive activities they run to support Flaxmere youth. We also talked about what type of additional support they need to tackle some of the challenges young people there face like poverty, youth suicide and gangs.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award is an iconic programme that engages thousands of young people each year in service, skills, physical recreation and expedition activities. It is delivered in more than 130 countries and has been running in New Zealand for 50 years.  In that time more than 200,000 young people have registered with the programme.

“The aim of getting Flaxmere young people involved in an internationally recognised programme like The Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award is to give opportunities for more young people to volunteer in their community. With that, they grow in confidence and motivation and develop leadership skills,” Ms Kaye says.

“The Ministry of Youth Development will work with Flaxmere College and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award to support 30 young people to achieve the Bronze Award.

“This is one-off funding specifically targeted towards young people identified by their school as needing the kind of positive and developmental opportunities offered by the programme.”

The Ministry of Youth Development has a three-year High Trust Contract with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards of $252,291 per year, which contributes to the enrolment of 250 young people from decile 1 to 5 schools. The one-off funding announced today is additional to that and is from MYD’s Services for Young People Fund.

China food safety scholarships announced

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Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced $900,000 has been allocated towards a new food safety scholarship programme with China.

“The Prime Minister confirmed this scholarship programme during his recent visit to China,” Ms Kaye says. “I am pleased to announce both the funding and some of the detail of the programme.

“The scholarship programme is being developed in partnership between New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). It is the first initiative of the Food Safety Cooperation Agreement signed in November last year (2013).

“It is my expectation that the Joint Food Safety Commission will meet in the next couple of months to agree implementation of this programme.” 

The programme will be delivered through Massey University and will give Chinese Food and Drug Administration officials a detailed insight into New Zealand’s food safety risk management systems.

“This is an important part of the deepening cooperation in food safety between our two countries,” Ms Kaye says. “By having official exchanges and scholarships we also increase the understanding of our respective food safety systems. I anticipate at least 10 people from China will participate in the programme over three years. This programme is directed at China to New Zealand exchanges but in the future, it is likely we will also look at New Zealand to China exchanges.

“The scholarship will cover best practice regulation, risk management, food process and design, and the development and implementation of food standards.

“Part of the scholarship will also likely include an internship for Chinese officials to get first-hand experience of New Zealand’s food safety with MPI or nominated food safety providers. 

“It is envisaged that scholarship participants will receive a university diploma upon completion.

“Massey University already has strong relationships with Chinese universities, research institutions and government and is well placed to deliver this programme successfully.”

The scholarship will be formally launched in the second half of this year and will run for three years.

Final Civil Defence payment for councils’ earthquake response costs

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Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye today announced the Government’s final reimbursement to Canterbury councils for civil defence emergency response costs related to the Canterbury earthquakes.

In total, the Government has paid $215.288 million to Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECan), Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council and Selwyn District Council for their responses to the September 2010 and February, June and December 2011 earthquakes.

This final payment of $65,000 is to ECan, and brings the full reimbursement for ECan to $1.952 million.

“Each council has the initial responsibility for a civil defence response in its area. I would like to acknowledge the important and significant work done by the councils in Canterbury and thank all the individuals involved,” Ms Kaye says.

“The financial assistance for the response period pays for essential civil defence costs incurred in accommodating, transporting, feeding and clothing displaced people, and for essential infrastructure repair, and other response costs.

“Canterbury has had a tough three years and civil defence emergency management has played a significant role in earthquake response,” Ms Kaye says. “Finalising the response-related issues is an important step forward. The focus is now on the rebuilding that is underway.

“The Government remains absolutely committed to rebuilding Canterbury.”

In a significant civil defence emergency, central government supports local authorities with direct financial assistance. The aim is to cover the response costs and allow the community to focus on recovery as quickly as possible.

Ministers launch education portal

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Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye today launched a new digital portal for teachers, students and education administrators with Crown-owned company Network for Learning (N4L).

Ms Parata says the Government has invested $211 million in the N4L managed network as a fully funded package for schools and has also tasked the company with developing the portal.

“Through the N4L managed network, the Government is picking up the cost to provide schools with safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.

“It will also provide greater accessibility to a growing collection of teaching and learning resources through this portal.

“The portal will provide schools with access to trusted, high-quality learning resources and will make safe, online collaboration easy.

“Technology, and digital learning, are part of our modernising of the education system to raise achievement for all our children and young people.

“The pace at which schools are connecting to the Government-funded managed network service is encouraging, and we’re expecting 700 schools to connect by the end of this year. All schools will be invited to connect by 2016,” Ms Parata says. 

“It is great to be launching this portal today and that we now have a collaborative online environment where students and teachers will soon be able to connect, and share information,” Ms Kaye says.

“A number of teachers and principals are now testing this new digital space. During this first phase, they have been able to access and review material. At the heart of the portal’s functionality is the ability for teachers and students to create, share and rate the quality and usefulness of content.

“A handful of teachers and principals have been putting the portal’s search and sharing functionalities to the test. Their vital feedback has helped N4L to continue to develop a robust and useful tool for the whole education sector.

“It can be a challenge for teachers and students to find information that they can trust. N4L is working hard to ensure that information from key government agencies will be accessible through the portal, including the Ministry of Education’s Te Kete Ipurangi, which provides schools and students with a wide range of trusted information and resources.

“N4L have told me that around 500 teachers will be invited to explore the portal early next month and that all educators will have access by the end of this year,” Ms Kaye says.

More information about the portal is available on the N4L website:

www.n4l.co.nz/pond

NZ supports Philippines farmers’ recovery from Typhoon

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Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye today announced that New Zealand will provide $2.5 million to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to help farmers in the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan.

“Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most devastating storms in recent history and it is estimated that almost 6 million workers’ livelihoods were destroyed, lost or disrupted,” Ms Kaye says.

“In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan New Zealand made around $5 million available to support the emergency response and relief effort and the New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully indicated that we would  consider further support aimed at helping the Philippines recover.

“New Zealand’s contribution will help to restore the livelihoods of 128,000 vulnerable households in rural areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 

“The FAO programme will focus on crops (rice and corn), coconuts, forestry, livestock (pigs, poultry and buffalo) and fisheries restoration. It will see seeds, tools and livestock distributed to farmers, as well as providing training in agricultural techniques.

“Over time the aim is to increase agricultural production, secure and diversify food sources, improve technical knowledge and establish a pre-emergency level of income for affected households.

“New Zealand knows first-hand how hard responding to natural disasters can be. We also understand that supporting individuals to restore their livelihoods is critical to the long-term recovery of communities,” Ms Kaye says.

Today’s announcement takes New Zealand’s total contribution to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan to around $7.5 million.

Minister Kaye is currently in the Philippines. She will also visit China and return to New Zealand next weekend.

Minister visits Philippines to support Typhoon recovery

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Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye will be in the Philippines March 16 and 17.

Ms Kaye will visit the area hit last November by the most powerful typhoon ever recorded, Typhoon Haiyan. Haiyan is regarded as a ‘super typhoon’, with wind speeds of up to 235 kilometres per hours and tsunami-like storm surges. Ms Kaye will spend time in Tacloban, the main city in the eastern Visayas, which bore the brunt of the typhoon when it made landfall. Of the more than 6,000 people that died in the typhoon, more than 2,600 people died in Tacloban alone. She will meet with city officials to see the humanitarian response and recovery efforts underway. She will also visit Palo where she will meet with farmers affected by the typhoon.

In Manila, Ms Kaye will meet with senior government officials involved in disaster preparedness and recovery from major disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.

“Very few countries in the world can respond on their own to a national disaster of this scale,” Ms Kaye says.

“It is important that as good international citizens we are ready to provide assistance when it is needed, especially to our Pacific and Asian neighbours.

“It helps us to learn from what happens in other countries’ emergencies and for others to learn from what happens in New Zealand.”

More than 20 countries and the United Nations are now involved in a large humanitarian response.

New Zealand’s contribution to date has been around $5 million in direct funding and emergency supplies, providing a member to the UN Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination team, a surgeon and a support staff member to the Australian medical assistance team, as well as provision of an RNZAF C130 Hercules aircraft.

Minister Kaye will travel on to China where she will speak at an event hosted by Massey University in Beijing. This is to celebrate the graduation of students who have completed the Master of Veterinary Medicine (Biosecurity) and Master of Public Health (Biosecurity) programmes. 

“This is part of a programme funded by the World Bank, building human and institutional capability throughout the region to detect and effectively respond to epidemic and pandemic disease threats,” Ms Kaye says. “Government disease specialists from China will be graduating.”

Ms Kaye will join the Prime Minister’s delegation in China on Tuesday 18 March.

Government welcomes NEXT Foundation $100 million

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Government Ministers attending today’s launch of the $100 million NEXT Foundation have welcomed its establishment and its commitment to New Zealand’s environmental and education projects at the Foundation’s launch in Auckland today.

“This new philanthropic foundation represents a huge commitment to New Zealand’s conservation and environmental challenges that Governments will never be able to fully fund. Its founders, through Project Janszoon and the Rotoroa Island Trust, have already shown a great commitment to New Zealand’s natural environment. This new foundation opens the door to other high impact conservation projects in other parts of our country,” Dr Smith says.

“This exciting development reinforces the merit of the Department of Conservation developing a new partnership approach to its work of protecting New Zealand’s flora, fauna and special places.”

“Education is the best investment New Zealand can make in its future. This new foundation will help drive innovation and excellence, and complement the work the Government is doing to raise standards and provide our children with a modern learning environment,” Ms Kaye says.

“We are committed to working with the NEXT Foundation to maximise the environment and educational gains from this incredible act of generosity towards New Zealand’s future,” the Minister say.

New PPP school procurement announced

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Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced that building and maintaining four new schools around New Zealand could be delivered using a public private partnership (PPP). 

An invitation for Expressions of Interest will be issued for the design, construction, financing, and maintenance of Aranui Community School and Rolleston Secondary School in greater Christchurch, Wakatipu Secondary School’s new site in Queenstown and a new school in Auckland yet to be confirmed.

“If the expression of interest is successful and the PPP goes ahead the Ministry of Education estimates the cost of construction and maintenance for the project will be more than $200 million,” Ms Parata says.

“The Ministry advises that the use of a PPP for this bundle of four schools could deliver savings of two to eight per cent over traditional procurement by the Ministry. 

“A big benefit of a PPP is that professional facilities managers take care of school property freeing up school staff time for teaching and learning.

“The four new schools in this project are being developed either as part of the Greater Christchurch Education Renewal Programme (GCERP) or to meet population growth in Auckland and Queenstown. These schools will be built whether we use a PPP or not, but together they make a viable PPP project that promises to deliver real benefits for students and teachers.

“This Government is committed to investing in education and making sure schools have high-quality infrastructure to get the best learning outcomes. The use of PPPs for new school projects is a key part of our plan to achieve this,” Ms Parata says.

The green light from Cabinet for this project follows the Ministry of Education’s first PPP contract signed in April 2012 with Learning Infrastructure Partners for the development, financing, construction and maintenance of Hobsonville Point primary and secondary schools. 

“This Government has made it clear we are open to greater use of private sector expertise where it makes sense. This second school property PPP demonstrates the benefits of this model of procurement,” Ms Kaye says.

“These schools will be built via the traditional Ministry of Education procurement if the expressions of interest don’t result in the best value being delivered.

“Over the past 12 months the Ministry has conducted a comprehensive market sounding exercise. Feedback from market sounding participants also shaped the Ministry’s thinking about which schools should be included in the project,” Ms Kaye says.

The Cabinet paper is available on the Ministry’s website: www.minedu.govt.nz/pppschools