Glenfern Sanctuary secured as conservation gateway to Great Barrier Island

By | Auckland Central, Environment, Great Barrier Island | No Comments

Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, this morning attended the formal announcement of the purchase of Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island, on behalf of Minister of Conservation, Hon Maggie Barry.

“After a lot of hard work it is fantastic that the purchase of Glenfern Sanctuary is now finalised, and it will therefore continue to be a critical part of the movement to achieve a pest-free Hauraki Gulf,” says Ms Kaye.

“As the local MP for Great Barrier Island, I am delighted that the Government has contributed $ 975,000 to the successful purchase.”

The purchase of Glenfern from the Bouzaid family is a combination of contributions from the Department of Conservation (DOC) through the Nature Heritage Fund, the Auckland Council and Great Barrier Local Boards and Foundation North.

“I want to specifically recognise the hard work and leadership of Councillor Christine Fletcher, for helping bring together the different agencies and organisations that made this possible,” says Ms Kaye.

The 83-hectare Glenfern Sanctuary was founded by the late Tony Bouzaid, who created the sanctuary to protect endangered native birds on the Island.

“I would like to acknowledge the Bouzaid family for making the property available for purchase and to Tony, who was tireless in his determination to have the sanctuary established.

“Glenfern is a significant gateway for the Island, providing both tourism and educational opportunities, making its acquisition into public ownership invaluable.

“Last week I was on the Island to open the redeveloped Aotea Track, and this sanctuary provides an additional conservation experience. I hope that many schools and families will be able to visit the sanctuary and walk the track in the future.

“The team at Glenfern is incredibly passionate about managing and protecting the local flora and fauna, with the help of local volunteers, and this announcement ensures this will continue.”

Glenfern will be placed under the ownership of Auckland Council and form part of their parks network.


BUDGET 2016: $51 Million increase in funding for Auckland DHB

By | Auckland Central, Health | No Comments

Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, has highlighted the significant $51 million increase in funding received by the Auckland District Health Board in Budget 2016.

This amount is additional to the DHB’s total funding of $1.3 billion for 2016/17. This is the biggest increase in 7 years.

“Investment in health services in Auckland is vital to provide high quality healthcare to meet cost pressures and population growth, says Ms Kaye.

“Currently, a record number of doctors and nurses are employed by the Auckland DHB, and this funding will assist them in delivering better and faster treatment to patients.”

This year’s Budget signals an overall record investment in health throughout the country totalling $16.1 billion over four years.

“This funding for DHB’s complements the $124 million package for Pharmac to provide more medicines, and a $96 million investment to increase the number of elective surgeries.

“Providing better health services will continue to be this Government’s number one funding priority. This Budget has targeted specific areas of health so that New Zealand families will continue to have access to timely, quality healthcare.”


Opening of Redeveloped Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island

By | Auckland Central, Environment, Great Barrier Island, Local Projects | No Comments

Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, on behalf of the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry, will this afternoon re-open the Kaiaraara Track (part of the Aotea Track), on Great Barrier Island.

The track suffered major damage during a storm in June 2014. Large sections of the DOC track were washed out and bridges and huts were extensively damaged. Since then, DOC has invested $353,000 in the redevelopment project.

“As the local MP for Great Barrier Island, it is fantastic to see the track re-opened today. In conjunction with the Aotea Conservation Park, the Aotea Track is a vital tourist attraction and economic asset to the Island, says Ms Kaye.

“I would like to recognise the hard work of DOC staff who worked tirelessly alongside the local community and Board members to repair the track during the last two years. Their commitment to the track redevelopment has ensured that New Zealanders and tourists alike can experience the beauty of the 25 kilometre track.

“I would also like to specifically acknowledge Ngāti Rehua, who has been working closely alongside DOC, and who have offered on-going support to the success of this project.

“Now that the Aotea Track redevelopment is complete, I am going to ask that consideration be given for the track to get greater recognition. I expect to seek advice from local and central Government over the coming months about how we can do this. “I would love to see more New Zealanders visit and experience Great Barrier Island. The Island is a special part of New Zealand and the Government’s investment in the track is an important boost for tourism on the Island.”

Local Government Commission decision to assess Waiheke Unitary Council application

By | Waiheke | No Comments

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has this afternoon commented on the Local Government Commission decision to assess an application by “Our Waiheke” for a Unitary Council for Waiheke.

“I do think it is important for people to understand the process and that the Commission has only agreed at this point to assess the application and there are several more steps. Further steps include determining the area affected by the application and assessing whether there is evidence of community support, says Ms Kaye.

“Only if it passed these steps would there be public notification of the application, including a call for alternative applications.

“From my perspective it is important to acknowledge that Waiheke has had a long history of moves by some members of the community to shift away from Auckland. Following a petition to separate from Auckland City Council a referendum was held in 1991. This vote failed and Waiheke remained part of Auckland City.

“Additionally, in 2008 the Royal Commission received a number of submissions opposing Waiheke being part of the proposed Auckland Council. This did not occur but the separate 5-member Local Board was established.

“I am a bit worried that this is going to be a polarising issue for Islanders. I know there is some support but there are also a number of people opposed.

“My concern is that potentially some people’s dissatisfaction with the existing council and rates is driving some of this petition. I think it will be important to separate electoral and governance issues to the management of the council.

“At this point I do have real concerns about the ability of another entity to fund Waiheke’s infrastructure requirements, given the number of residents now living on Waiheke and the huge number of tourists visiting the island. I will be listening and seeking the community’s views on the application over the coming months.”


Better investment in strategy for cameras and lighting needed for Central Auckland

By | Auckland Central, Community, Education | No Comments

Following several recent incidents in Central Auckland, Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, facilitated a meeting today with representatives from the Local Board, New Zealand Police, Auckland Transport, Auckland Council staff, Auckland University Students Association and the New Zealand Chinese Students Association.

“This meeting was to discuss ways that we can make Central Auckland safer, says Ms Kaye.

“There was a good discussion between everyone who attended, and we have agreed on a way forward.

“Since the incidents, some people have made comments regarding police numbers. I understand there has been an increase in police numbers and general police resourcing in both the wider Auckland City and Central areas, and this was confirmed today.

“From our discussions, it was agreed that a report will be commissioned by the Local Board, focusing on additional investment in other solutions, including cameras and lighting in Albert Park.

“The Board will work with the Police, Auckland Transport and the Student Associations. They will then present a report to Council for consideration.

“The engagement of students in this issue has been positive, and I congratulate them for taking the initiative to secure better safety resources for students and others in Auckland.

“I have committed to ongoing work with the Student Associations, especially on the safety information provided to international students, and other support available to them. We will also work with Auckland Transport to ensure that transport connections in the central city are a safety focus.

“I am aware that there will be an event tonight in Albert Park. It will be positive that this update can then be given to students. At the meeting we did have an update from the Local Board and Council where they confirmed that investment in Albert Park has happened over the last few years.

“I’m pleased that we’re making progress, and I look forward to working with all groups involved on this issue.”

New Cell Site confirmed for Okiwi, Great Barrier Island

By | Great Barrier Island, Local Projects | No Comments

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has today welcomed Vodafone’s announcement that a new cell site at Okiwi on Great Barrier Island will go live at the end of May.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the Great Barrier Local Board, Vodafone, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Auckland Council in ensuring that this cell site come to fruition,” says Ms Kaye

“Over the last year I have had numerous discussions and advocated for this project as it is important step for the Okiwi community.

“I want to congratulate these parties that have worked hard, and collaborated to deliver an asset that will assist with conservation, community education and business services.

“It has been a long road that has taken several years, but it has been worthwhile to be able to provide improved coverage for Okiwi Village, which includes Okiwi Primary School and a new DOC headquarters.

“This announcement follows on from the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative, which saw a $1 million investment in a wireless broadband tower to support services at Claris, opened in 2013 on the Island.

“This Government is actively seeking ways to improve telecommunications across more remote areas of the country.

“People should never underestimate the difference that communications can make to an isolated Island like Great Barrier. I will be working hard with the local board and the community to ensure that we continue to expand coverage and communication services for Great Barrier Island.”