State Highway 6 Nelson to Blenheim reopens

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

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Road crews have managed to clear treefalls, slips, and debris that had forced the closure of this road overnight and today. This involved significant effort as not only did fallen trees have to be removed but so too did those at risk of falling onto the road.

The link between Nelson and Blenheim is open to traffic. However, the continuing bad weather means the risk of slips and treefalls remains. Road users should drive to the conditions and be prepared for delays. 

Clean-up work on state highways across the region continues. Waka Kotahi asks drivers to be alert to the presence of contractors and to follow temporary speed limits and traffic management at road work sites.

Tree falls and dangerous trees on SH 6 Blenheim to Nelson, 9 August 2022.

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Government working on preliminary steps to improve support for abuse survivors

Government working on preliminary steps to improve support for abuse survivors

Source: New Zealand Government

Work is under way on preliminary steps to improve the Government’s support for survivors of abuse in care while a new, independent redress system is designed, Public Service Minister Chris Hipkins says.

These steps – recommended by the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry – include rapid payments for claimants, a new listening service, and easier provision of survivor records of their time in care.

The Government has also instructed officials to begin work, later this year, on a national apology to abuse in care survivors, as was also recommended by the Royal Commission.

.“Designing the new system will take time – it is a complex task, requiring input from many different survivor groups to get it right,” Chris Hipkins said.

“While that work happens, the Royal Commission recommended some interim steps, including rapid payments to elderly or terminally ill abuse survivors who are waiting for their claims to be processed.

“I’ve asked for options on faster payments and for options for establishing a listening service, to give survivors a safe place to tell their stories after the Inquiry finishes in June 2023. I expect to see faster payment options within the next two months.

“In addition, I’ve asked for work on how we can improve survivors’ access to their own records, following concerns raised with the Inquiry about the timeliness and quality of records provision.

“The Government agrees we shouldn’t wait for the new system to improve the way we help survivors. At the same time, we have committed to meaningful change, and I want to ensure that any interim steps are done right.

“I expect to get detailed advice and options across the three areas – payments, the listening service, and records – later this year, when I will also consider options for the collaborative design of the new system.

“Once design proposals for the new system are developed, there will be significant engagement before any final decisions are made. This will allow all survivors to have their say on this important work.” 

The Government will work with survivor groups, tikanga experts and representatives from other communities affected by abuse in care on what a national apology might look like and how it might be delivered.  

The proactively released Cabinet paper is here.

Seatoun Tunnel to remain closed overnight

Seatoun Tunnel to remain closed overnight

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

The Seatoun Tunnel will remain closed overnight, due to the risk of a tree falling on to the road.
 
Contractors are expected to begin work tomorrow to remedy the issue. 
 
Motorists are asked to continue using alternative routes until further notice. 
 
ENDS
 
Issued by Police Media Centre. 
 

Better long-term planning needed for COVID

Source: Green Party

COVID-19 is here to stay and so the Government needs to put in place long-term protection measures, including mandatory ventilation standards, the Green Party says.

“The Government has made the right decision today to remain at Orange. But COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere and so we need more than the occasional review of protection settings to make sure we are protecting communities long-term,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for COVID-19, Teanau Tuiono. 

“Staying at the Orange traffic light setting was the least the Government can do considering current case numbers, the number of people in hospital, and the current pressures on the health system. 

“But the Government is making these traffic light decisions every once in a while as if one day we’re going to wake up and find that we have once again eliminated COVID. There doesn’t seem to be any chance of that happening, at least for a while, and so it is about time that we plan for the future. Not only to get our communities through the current outbreak, but to prepare for any new variants or another wave of Omicron cases.

“Reinfection is also becoming increasingly common and could become an ongoing feature of the pandemic. Experts have also pointed out that in July COVID became the equal leading cause of death in Aotearoa for the first time. If the current trajectory continues, annual COVID deaths could be about five times influenza deaths – but still the Government doesn’t seem to have a long-term plan.

“We need to do everything we possibly can to protect whānau and reduce the risk of people experiencing long COVID, particularly among Māori and Pacific people, and  immunocompromised people.

“The Green Party has been the only party to consistently call on the Government to follow the path of caution and to put in place measures that protect everyone equally. 

“Following months of political pressure from our Green MPs, the Government confirmed that medical masks will be available free for everyone. The Government should now go one step further and make N95 masks free. 

“The Green Party is also calling on the Government to adopt mandatory ventilation standards for workplaces and schools, to provide financial support for community organisations to install better monitoring and filtration, and to improve support for Māori and Pacific health providers to boost vaccinations,” says Teanau Tuiono. 

Parliament Hansard Report – Tuesday, 9 August 2022 – Volume 761 – 000958

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 5—Revenue

5. NICOLA WILLIS (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Revenue: Does he agree with the Minister of Finance’s statement from 17 July 2022 regarding the cost of living payment that “this payment will support an estimated 2.1 million people”, and is he satisfied with the delivery of this payment?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister of Revenue): Yes, and yes. This payment has already reached over 1.3 million New Zealanders promptly, supporting them through a time of elevated cost of living. An estimated 800,000 additional people will become entitled as they file their tax return for the year ended 31 March 2022 or provide their bank details.

Nicola Willis: Does he stand by his statement made to Tova O’Brien in an interview last week where he said that for an ineligible person to have received the payment, they “would have to be acting fraudulently”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: No, I don’t think I did say that.

Erica Stanford: Yes, you did.

Hon DAVID PARKER: If I said that, that’s been taken out of context. I always made it clear that the payment was being made on the basis of the details held by Inland Revenue.

Nicola Willis: Does the Minister stand by the statement he made to Tova O’Brien that “The French man as your example … He will know or should know from the information that he has received that because he is no longer resident in New Zealand he’s not qualified. Therefore for him to get the payment he would have to be acting fraudulently.”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, I do, because I heard the radio station play a clip in respect of that person which indicated that the person knew that the entitlement was based on being resident in New Zealand and he knew that he wasn’t.

Nicola Willis: Did IRD conduct data matching with Immigration New Zealand or other agencies to check whether potential recipients had moved overseas, and, if not, why not?

Hon DAVID PARKER: No, they haven’t, in part because their information-sharing arrangements with Customs don’t cover the use of the data in that way.

Nicola Willis: Did it not occur to the Minister that not everyone in IRD’s database would have updated their address after having moved overseas, and why were no steps taken to prevent them receiving the payment?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Indeed, Inland Revenue advised Cabinet, and Cabinet agreed, that this would be paid on the basis of eligibility criteria that would not always be correct. Inland Revenue advised, and Cabinet agreed, that the payment in those situations would be non-recoverable, other than in the cases of fraudulent activity.

Nicola Willis: Can the Minister guarantee that no money has been paid to prisoners through the cost of living payment, who are just as ineligible for that payment as those living overseas?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I can guarantee that they’re ineligible to receive the payment, and I can also advise the member that I’ve received no reports of any such instance.

Parliament Hansard Report – Karakia/Prayers – 000957

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2022

The Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

KARAKIA/PRAYERS

DEPUTY SPEAKER: E te Atua kaha rawa, ka tuku whakamoemiti atu mātou, mō ngā karakia kua waihotia mai ki runga i a mātou. Ka waiho i ō mātou pānga whaiaro katoa ki te taha. Ka mihi ki te Kuīni, me te inoi atu mō te ārahitanga i roto i ō mātou whakaaroarohanga, kia mōhio ai, kia whakaiti ai tā mātou whakahaere i ngā take o te Whare nei, mō te oranga, te maungārongo, me te aroha o Aotearoa. Āmene.

[Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on us. Laying aside all personal interests, we acknowledge the Queen, and pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the welfare, peace, and compassion of New Zealand. Amen.]

Parliament Hansard Report – Motions — New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team 2022—Congratulations – 000956

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH (Green): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It’s a privilege to rise on behalf of the Greens to congratulate Aotearoa’s athletes who participated in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I reiterate the very wholesome list of athletes presented by the previous speakers and just acknowledge their amazing work. As the previous speakers, I want to also acknowledge the athletes’ family members and the support staff who were there for them and who are a core part of the team. It’s been heartening to hear that athlete wellbeing was such a big focus for the New Zealand team in Birmingham, and I hope that this emphasis continues in future games and in other spaces.

It was also great to note the wide range of diversity represented in the games: 54 percent, or 125, of our athletes were women, which is the highest representation in New Zealand Commonwealth or Olympic history. The team members came from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, including athletes from Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Philippines, China, and Australia, and people from African heritage as well. There were 46 Māori athletes selected too. I also want to note that compared to the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games are the only multisport event of their kind with an integrated parasport programme. I do hope that the Olympics and other multisport events move towards this approach in the future.

I also want to reflect on the shared history of colonisation and dispossession of indigenous peoples that we have with so many other nations participating in the games. It was called the British Empire Games until the 1950s, after all. But as we move forward I also think we can find solidarity with each other and the work that is happening across so many nations who are fighting for justice and healing from the harms of this shared history. I want to shout out to the activists, the athletes, and the indigenous groups who have long demonstrated during the games and aptly called them the “Stolenwealth Games”. I want to recognise that today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Another aspect that I want to reflect on as part of this motion is how we can best ensure that the public has access to the broadcasts of the games in a way that is ethical and does not contribute to harm. I was somewhat disappointed to hear the Minister of Finance say on Morning Report this morning that he wanted to maintain the ability for broadcast sport—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will come back to the motion, please.

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH: Well, I do think that for the wellbeing of our athletes and the sporting—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will come back to the motion. There’s another matter which is before the House at some stage in the future—it’s not now.

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH: Ngā mihi. Well, I will end then, just putting a hearty congratulations to all the athletes, and that we can all work together towards a better, fairer Aotearoa. Thank you.

Update on COVID-19 cases — 9 August 2022

Source: Covid-19 New Zealand Government Announcements

Read today’s update on COVID-19 cases from the Ministry of Health.

Today’s COVID-19 numbers

  • 5,939 new community cases
  • 634 cases in hospital
  • 5,120 7-day rolling average of community cases
  • 35,823 active community cases
  • 12,729 total RATs reported in the last 24 hours
  • 4,454 total PCR tests in the last 24 hours

COVID-19 data and statistics

Update from the Ministry of Health

Today we are reporting 5,939 community cases and 634 current hospitalisations.

The 7-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5,120. Last Monday it was 6,683.

There are now a total of 1,688 deaths confirmed as attributable to COVID-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. The 7-day rolling average increase in total deaths attributable to COVID-19 is now 16.

Read the full update on today’s cases | Ministry of Health (external link)

Last updated: at

Auckland’s recycling takes a step into the future

Auckland’s recycling takes a step into the future

Source: Auckland Council

The sorting of Auckland’s household recyclables is about to take a big step up with Visy’s recycling sorting facility getting an upgrade.

The Onehunga Materials Recovery Facility was built in 2008, and introduction of new technology will increase the quality and diversity of recycled paper and cardboard to be sold in markets.

Parul Sood, Waste Solutions General Manager at Auckland Council says, “The facility is being upgraded with a $16.6 million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) grant to improve the accuracy of our recycling, resulting in better products and less contamination.

“It’s exciting for Auckland to have such an up-to-date facility that is going a long way towards reducing the amount of waste to landfill and ensuring we can recycle as much as possible. It’s a win for not only residents but also the environment.

“Paper and cardboard materials are one of the common recyclables collected from households, making up around 40 per cent of what the facility processes each year. The total processing capacity of the recycling plant will increase by 28 per cent, from 140,000 to 180,000 tonnes per annum, and improve the quality of sorted material, which provides some security in a changing market.

“It will also mean more diverse recycling streams, such as more plastic grades and cardboard being sorted from paper, creating more sought-after material and getting our sorting accuracy standard to 98 per cent,” shares Ms Sood.

The upgrade gets underway on 12 August and will take about 8 weeks.  During this time, the facility will be closed, but there will be no disruption to kerbside collections; they will continue as usual. While some of the materials collected during this period will be required to go to landfill, alternative arrangements have been made to keep levels to a minimum, including processing some recycling at a nearby facility, and undertaking recycling of commercial glass.

“The upgraded recycling centre will offer huge benefits for years to come, and we urge Aucklanders to keep up their good habits and continue to recycle as they usually do.”

The investment will, in the longer-term, help more recycling materials be used here in New Zealand, rather than overseas. A recent upgrade to the plastic sorting equipment at the facility has kept 1/3 of our plastics in New Zealand. Further investment is needed within other recycling processing facilities, like for paper, to create materials that can be used in local manufacturing.

In keeping with the spirit of the facility, as much as possible of the old machinery that is being dismantled will be reused and the remainder recycled.   

Update: Fatal crash, Burkes Pass

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)


Location:

Canterbury

One person has died following a crash on State Highway 8 through Burkes Pass.

Sadly, one person died at the scene. Two other people had minor injuries.

The road remains closed and will be for some time.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre