Aucklanders getting faster, better healthcare

By | Auckland Central, Health | No Comments

People in Auckland are getting faster, improved healthcare according to the latest Health Target results.

 95 per cent of emergency department patients in the Auckland District Health Board (DHB) were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours.

 “This is a great result during the challenging winter months and reflects the hard work being done by ED staff,” says Nikki Kaye.

 “Our children are also receiving better healthcare.  98.2% of all under-sixes have access to free GP visits, and so far 93.4% of GP surgeries in Auckland DHB are offering free visits to under-13 year olds.

 “More Aucklanders are also getting elective surgery.  Last year 13,902 people received elective surgery, compared to 9,114 in 2007/2008.  That’s a 53% increase.

 “National is supporting health to the tune of $15.9 billion, with an extra $242 million invested in the Auckland DHB since 2008, which is benefiting our local community”.

 

Auckland central schools working together to improve education

By | Auckland Central, Education | No Comments

Three local schools are part of a new Community of Schools in Auckland Central. St Mary’s College and St Paul’s College in Ponsonby, and Marist Catholic School in Herne Bay are part of the Auckland Central Catholic school community.

These communities aim to lift achievement in Kiwi schools by helping schools share their strongest resources – their best teachers and principals. “This means young people in Auckland Central will benefit from shared teaching practices and expertise, with teachers working alongside each other on goals to help improve educational outcomes in the classroom,” Ms Kaye said.

These schools add to the existing Communities of Schools already participating in the Government’s $359 million Investing in Educational Success initiative. There are now 42 communities working with more than 330 schools.

“We are also ensuring our local school environments are modern and responsive for our students,” Ms Kaye said. “I am really pleased the Government has invested $12 million in the redevelopment of Bayfield School which is now complete, and the school will be operating from their new buildings at the start of term three. “The $10 million redevelopment of Freemans Bay School is now in the design phase, and construction is on track in the next six months.

“Last week the Government also announced an investment of millions of dollars in Point Chevalier for a new community Education Hub, which will incorporate the relocated Pt Chevalier Kindergarten. This shows a strong commitment across the city to invest in Auckland schools.

“We are focussed on improving education and achievement so that young people have the best learning opportunities to ensure they achieve their potential,” Ms Kaye said.

Good news for Waiheke Super Gold Card users

By | Auckland Central, Transport, Waiheke | No Comments

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says the outcome of the government’s review of the SuperGold Card scheme, announced by Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss, is good news for cardholders who use Waiheke Island ferry services.

“The review has confirmed that entitlement for Waiheke Island ferry services should continue, with increased funding to account for inflation,” says Ms Kaye.

“It was also announced that the moratorium on new services entering the scheme will be lifted from 1 September, and a tender will be set up for the Waiheke Island (Matiatia Wharf) service.

“I presented a petition to Parliament which asked the Government to give the Explore Group ferry service to Waiheke access to the SuperGold Card subsidy.

“The government has listened and as a result, Explore Group Limited will get a more even playing field.

“I intend to work with local ferry operators, Auckland Transport and the public to confirm the exact process for tendering.

“In the meantime, the key thing is that SuperGold Card holders can be confident they’ll continue to have access to the scheme in a fairer way, now and into the future.

 

Government takes next step to help secure Great Barrier Island Sanctuary

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

Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, has welcomed the government’s commitment to contribute to the purchase of Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island.

“The Minister of Conservation, Hon Maggie Barry, announced the funding from the government’s Nature Heritage Fund while visiting the sanctuary today. I want to acknowledge the Minister’s conservation commitment to the island with this announcement.

“The government will contribute funding as part of a consortium, including the Auckland Council, Great Barrier Local Board and private donors, and this will potentially enable public ownership of the sanctuary.

Ms Kaye said that the possibility of public purchase will allow the sanctuary to be further utilized for the protection of many rare and endangered species that inhabit the Island.

“It’s fantastic that the protection of Great Barrier Island, and the Hauraki Gulf as a whole, is a strategic focus for the Department of Conservation.

“The Glenfern Sanctuary is a critical part of the movement to achieve a pest-free Hauraki Gulf in the near future.

“The team at Glenfern is incredibly passionate about managing and protecting the local flora and fauna, with the help of local volunteers.

“The sanctuary provides great opportunities for tourism and education, and it’s vital that it continues to function effectively.

“This is another great Conservation initiative to complement the new Aotea Conservation Park and Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island.

“Glenfern Sanctuary is the potential gateway or face to the extensive network of trails, tourism options, education opportunities and biodiversity on the island. It’s crucial we secure the sanctuary and all it offers, now and in the future.

Aotea Conservation Park Opens on Great Barrier Island

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

Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, is delighted to be attending the opening of the Aotea Conservation Park on Great Barrier Island today.

The park will be officially opened by the Minister of Conservation, Hon Maggie Barry, in the presence of local community members and iwi.

“This is a great day for the people of the Barrier and New Zealand, as it means this land can now be protected and enjoyed for generations.

“The conservation park covers 12,282 ha or around 43% of the Island, making it the largest park of conservation status in Auckland and comparable in size to the Hunua and Waitakere Ranges parks.

“I would like to acknowledge the work that Ms Barry has done to enable the opening today.

“In September 2013, I put forward a proposal to establish the park, and after significant consultation it was confirmed by the Government last July.

“Since then, Ms Barry has worked quickly and collaboratively with the Department of Conservation to bring the park to fruition, and ensure the community and local iwi were at the heart of the project.

“The next steps will be to ensure a strong Aotea Conservation park advisory committee, with good iwi and community representation to ensure management of the park is world-class.

“There’s been a lot happening on the island recently, with the government investing more than $2 million towards repairing storm damage to the Aotea track. This is a great attraction for people who want to see first-hand the beautiful birds, flora and fauna the island has to offer.

“Over the last 5 years, the government has also invested more than $1 million in telecommunications, while the Auckland Council has made significant investments in local roads and the Community Arts Heritage Village has been developed.

“It will also be great to formally open the Great Barrier Island Community Olive press this afternoon with Ms Barry. This will be an important asset to help grow the island’s economy.

“Many of these initiatives are community projects driven by committed locals, who I have had the privilege to work with.

“With attractions such as the new Aotea Conservation Park, Great Barrier Island is a real treasure and I hope more people will visit to see some of the best of New Zealand.

 

 

 

 

Govt to invest $350m in Auckland schools

By | Auckland Central, Press Releases | No Comments

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced that the National-led Government will invest at least $350 million over the next four years to build new schools and classrooms in the rapidly growing Auckland region.

Ms Kaye made the announcement during a visit to Ponsonby Primary School with Prime Minister John Key.

“New Zealand is growing strongly and the school network will come under pressure in different parts of the country as the population grows,” Ms Kaye says.

“We have recently invested in new schools in areas like Hamilton and Queenstown, and Auckland is an obvious candidate for significant new investment.”

Forecasts show work will need to begin on as many as nine schools and at least 130 new classrooms in the Auckland region over the next four years.

“We want to get ahead of the demand by expanding and redeveloping schools for students before serious capacity issues arise,” says Ms Kaye.

“That’s why today we are announcing our plan to invest at least $350 million over the next four years to get on with addressing the roll growth pressures that are coming to Auckland.”

The new schools will be spread across different parts of Auckland, with four likely in the northern part of the region, three in South Auckland, and two in West Auckland.

The additional classrooms that will be built to deal with forecast roll growth will go onto existing school sites across the entire Auckland region.

“All of these projects will need to go through the appropriate process before they are finally approved and built, but we are determined to get on with the task of making sure Auckland’s school network is ready for population growth,” Ms Kaye says.

“In addition to the money we are committing to new schools and classrooms, we can also announce today our plan to quickly address specific redevelopment needs at existing Auckland schools.

“Up to eight schools in Auckland are going to require major redevelopments or reconstructions in coming years.

“We will deal with major redevelopments at Western Springs College in Western Springs, Southern Cross Campus (second stage) in Māngere East, and Sherwood Primary in Browns Bay as first cabs off the rank if we are returned to Government at the election.

“We have identified these three at the outset due to their locations in high growth areas, the need to provide certainty to their school communities, and because of the complexities facing each project.

“We will also work to confirm within three months of the election the other five major redevelopments that we expect to be required in Auckland.”

Ms Kaye says the funding for classrooms, schools and redevelopments will come from a mixture of the Future Investment Fund – which contains the proceeds of the Mixed Ownership Model programme – and existing baselines, including possible public/private partnerships already used successfully in Auckland.

“We know that other parts of New Zealand are also facing roll growth pressures and we are well prepared to deal with those too,” Ms Kaye says.

“Today’s focus on Auckland reflects the fact that the city is very much at the front end of the forecast growth.”

New Aotea Conservation Park an Auckland treasure

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

The new conservation park on Great Barrier Island will ensure greater protection for the island’s unique flora, fauna, birds and wildlife, while also increasing tourism opportunities for the local community and Auckland, says Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.

“I am absolutely delighted that Minister of Conservation Nick Smith has accepted a proposal I put forward last year to establish a conservation park on Barrier – this means that more than 12,000 hectares will receive higher status and better protection,” says Ms Kaye.

“Since it was first proposed in September last year, I have talked with many locals and Aucklanders who are very supportive of having another park, along with the benefits of greater protection for Barrier’s precious wildlife and plants.

“The area included in this new park is home to some of New Zealand’s most special native plant and wildlife. The park is the largest park of conservation status in Auckland, comparable in size to the Auckland Council’s Hunua and Waitakere Ranges parks.

“In particular I hope that young Aucklanders will visit the new park in the years to come. I have met many who have never visited the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The park will be a major draw card and great for enhancing conservation education.”

The Aotea Conservation Park also presents the community with increased recreation and tourism opportunities, which can only benefit the island, Ms Kaye says. 

“I welcome Minister Smith’s decision and look forward to working with residents on the next steps, which include ensuring strong island and iwi representation on the park’s advisory committee. I want to specifically acknowledge Ngati Rehua and the importance of ensuring it is an integral part of this committee.

“The estimated more than 50,000 visitors to the island each year are the main source of income for the island and local businesses.

“The Government has already invested around $1 million to ensure the island has better cellphone and broadband coverage. The $2.5 million announced today to help repair recent storm damage to island infrastructure, and ensure the Aotea track is in good shape, is crucial for the economic development of the island.

“The next project that I would love to see happen for the island is the designation of Aotea track as one of the ‘New Zealand Great Walks’. To have it recognised alongside the Milford, Tongariro, Heaphy and Routeburntracks would be an additional  boost for tourism for the island and Auckland.

“Finally, I would like to thank the Minister of Conservation for his work in considering the proposal and submissions.  This is a great day for Great Barrier Island and Auckland.”

Celebrating the electrification of Britomart

By | Auckland Central, Press Releases, Transport | No Comments

Electrification BritomartIt was fantastic to recently help celebrate the electrification of Britomart with the Minister of Transport, Hon Gerry Brownlee, and National MPs Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Simon O’Connor.

The electrification of Britomart is an important element in supporting a better, more efficient transport system for Auckland, and a milestone for three projects, representing a total of $1.7 billion investment in the rail network including:

  • The upgrade of the network to enable 10-minute peak frequencies (Project DART)
  • The Auckland Electrification Project
  • The purchase of 57 new electric trains

It is great to see that Aucklanders made 10.7 million trips by rail across the city in the year to January 2014.  The upgraded and electrified network, along with the new trains, will encourage even more people to take the train instead of driving and help tackle congestion.

The Government is investing around $1 billion a year on roads and public transport to meet the needs of Auckland’s growing population and to improve the transport system’s contribution to economic growth.  The completed Newmarket Viaduct and Victoria Park tunnel are already making a difference.

Other projects include the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) which is a 30-year, $1.5 billion strategy aimed at dealing with traffic congestion, poor traffic options and growth in key areas; the green light for a second harbour link and the City Rail Link business case; design and construction of the Auckland Domain Road Corridor Upgrade; and the planned SH16 Central Auckland connection cycle-way.

$9 million in new classrooms for two Auckland schools

By | Auckland Central, Press Releases | No Comments

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today $9 million funding for new classrooms at Auckland schools Mt Albert Grammar and St Thomas’s School in Kohimarama.

“The Government will provide funding for 21 new classrooms at Mt Albert Grammar as part of a $6 million rebuilding and expansion project,” Ms Kaye says. “And will contribute funding to a new two-storey classroom block at St Thomas’s School, as part of a $3 million building replacement and expansion project.

“The Auckland region is growing rapidly and the Ministry of Education anticipates that up to 600 new classrooms will be needed across the region over the next four years. The new buildings for Mt Albert Grammar and St Thomas’s School are part of a broader classroom building programme provided for in Budget 2013, which will address the capacity needs for the region.

“Nineteen of the Mt Albert Grammar classrooms will accommodate roll growth and two will replace older buildings. The new buildings include 11 standard classrooms and 10 specialist classrooms, all of which will meet modern learning environment standards.

“Until the classrooms are completed, temporary accommodation is being used to support the school’s roll.

“The new block at St Thomas’s will include 12 classrooms, as well as breakout spaces and a resource area.

“St Thomas’s roll has been growing significantly. This project will accommodate that growth with buildings that meet modern learning environment standards and will replace old classrooms that are either in the way of the new building or are beyond modernisation.

“The Government has good plans in place to match expanding school rolls in areas where population grow is rapid, such as Auckland, and these new classrooms are part of that plan,” Ms Kaye says