Essential works on SH2 near Paengaroa start tomorrow

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises essential works to complete road reconstruction on a section of State Highway 2 near Paengaroa will get underway from tomorrow.

The works will take place on the north side of the road between the Wilson Road South and Wilson Road North intersections from 7.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. They are expected to take six days to complete.

Work was completed on the south side of the road prior to the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown.

Bay of Plenty Transport Systems Manager Rob Campbell says these essential works will allow the Transport Agency’s contractors to complete work on what is currently an active work site and seal the road ahead of winter to ensure the road remains safe for all road users.

“Safely maintaining New Zealand’s state highway system is considered vital at this time in order to ensure that critical functions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus can continue.”

There will be a 24 hour a day 30km/h temporary speed limit in place for the duration of the works. This will remain in place for 5-10 days following completion of the works to enable our contractors to monitor how the seal beds in with lower traffic volumes than normal.
During the works, traffic travelling on the north side of the road will be shifted onto the south side of the road and separated from traffic travelling in the opposite direction by cones.

Mr Campbell asks people to be patient and respectful to roadworkers, and look out for their safety and wellbeing.

“If you see contractors out on the roads during the shutdown period please remember that they are carrying out essential work to keep us all safe.

“If you are using the roads during this period remember to comply with any temporary speed reductions through roadworks to keep workers safe. They are doing vital work and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”

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Healthy Food and Drink Guidance – Early Learning Services

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health is leading work to improve the food environment in schools, kura, English and Māori medium Early Learning Services.

The guidance helps schools and kura develop a policy to improve access to healthy food and drinks.

The guidance supports boards, principals, canteen managers and food service providers to adopt and implement a policy for their school and guidance on creating supportive environments for children.

Healthy Food and Drink Guidance – Schools

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health is leading work to improve the food environment in schools, kura, English and Māori medium Early Learning Services.

The guidance helps schools and kura develop a policy to improve access to healthy food and drinks.

The guidance supports boards, principals, canteen managers and food service providers to adopt and implement a policy for their school and guidance on creating supportive environments for children.

58 new cases of COVID-19

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Today, there are 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 new probable cases.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There are now 74 reported cases which we can confirm have recovered.

The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 647, 58 more than yesterday.

These numbers are encouraging but they are far from a cause for early celebration. New Zealand needs to continue its vigilance. The numbers today show it’s more important than ever to continue to abide by the Level 4 conditions and observe the lockdown.

That’s the best way we will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19. 

Today we can report 14 people in hospital with COVID-19.  The locations are as follows:

  • Tairawhiti/Gisborne Hospital – 1 
  • Waikato Hospital – 1 
  • West Coast/Grey Base Hospital – 1 
  • Whangarei Hospital – 1  
  • Canterbury – 1 
  • Auckland City Hospital – 1 
  • Hawkes Bay Hospital – 1 
  • Taranaki – 1 
  • Middlemore Hospital – 1  
  • Wairau Hospital, Blenheim – 1 
  • Nelson Hospital – 1 
  • Wellington City Hospital – 3 

Two of these people are in ICU. For privacy reasons we won’t be providing other details on these patients.

Our laboratories are working to process and report test results as quickly as possible. Over the last seven days our average daily test number is 1777.

As usual, people being tested are expected to be in strict self-isolation until advised of the result of their test.

We are still seeing a strong link to overseas travel (53%), as well as links to confirmed cases within New Zealand (29%) and community transmission (1%).

Summary

As at 9.00 am, 31 March 2020
  Total to date New in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand 600 48
Number of probable cases 47 10
Number of confirmed and probable cases 647 58
Number of cases in hospital 14
Number of recovered cases 74 11
Number of deaths 1  

Transmission

Source of transmission, as at 9.00 am 31 March
Source of transmission  % of cases
Recent overseas travel 53%
Contact with known case 29%
Community transmission 1%
Source under investigation 17%

Data is being updated on the Ministry’s website each afternoon at Current cases.

Clusters

We are continuing to actively investigate and contact trace a number of clusters. Again, the way clusters can rapidly spread reinforces the vital importance of following the Alert Level 4 conditions. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The Ministry of Health is opening its national reserves of PPE to make 7 million masks available over coming weeks. We will begin an initial distribution of 1.2 million masks from the national stock to DHBs within the next 48 hours, so they are able to get masks to community health and disability workers who need them.

We want our frontline workers to be safe. There is now clear advice about when to use PPE on our website to help keep them safe.  We are also conscious of the fact that we want people to feel safe, and access to PPE is an important part of that.  

It’s also important that workers know how to use PPE correctly so that they are safe and that they do this alongside all other infection control practices including hand washing and distancing, and most importantly not going to work if they are symptomatic or close contacts of people with COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health is putting in place a national approach to distribution of PPE and is successfully sourcing additional supplies from overseas on a continuous basis. 

Modelling

The Ministry today published a series of mathematical models that have helped to inform its advice warning of the consequences of not moving early to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reinforcing the importance of the current lockdown and other government measures. 

The modelling shows that without the actions currently being taken, the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 would exact a high price in New Zealand in terms of its impact on our health services, including our intensive care units, and deaths.

What is consistent across all the models is that we had a stark choice – let the virus spread unchecked and see large numbers of New Zealanders get sick, our health system overrun and many people dying, or taking firm measures to save lives.

Even with the strong measures in place to stamp out the virus the modelling is still predicting there could be a heavy toll on our health system and loss of life.

This shows how seriously we need to take the virus. It shows how important it is to stick to the rules of the lockdown and for us all to maintain measures that reduce the risk of the virus entering the country.

The reports are available at COVID-19 modelling reports.


Media contact

Charlotte Gendall
021 500 947

Flexible, responsive family violence services needed during COVID-19 crisis

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission

The Family Violence Death Review Committee is adding its voice to the calls to ensure flexible, responsive family violence services are provided during the COVID-19 crisis.

The independent committee reviews and advises the Health Quality & Safety Commission on how to reduce the number of family violence deaths.

Committee Chair, Professor Jane Koziol-McLain, has highlighted the need to support men as well as women over this time.

‘We know crisis services are necessary for women experiencing violence, but we also know men often seek help to reduce their use of family violence. Many of the actions we expect men to take to stop being violent may not be realistic during this time of lockdown.’

She says men are often told to reach out for support or go out with a friend to diffuse the situation.

‘Services need to be vigilant about holding men to account, but also appreciate the stress they and their family or whānau are under.’

Professor Koziol-McLain is cautious about expecting women to take all the responsibility for stopping the violence they may be experiencing.

‘To effectively reduce our rates of family violence, we need to support men when they seek to stop using violence. The deep, personal resolve required to stop using violence is not met by a brief stopping violence programme or a five-minute conversation, but through trusting relationships that embrace the whole family or whānau.

‘During the lockdown, support systems might be best delivered over the phone, but they need to be delivered to ensure safety for families and whānau. We need enhanced, creative and flexible solutions at this difficult time.

‘We also need to ensure we have well-thought-through actions for Police Safety Orders that ensure the safety of women and children. This might include the ability to access supportive accommodation for men at risk of being violent to their family.’

Professor Koziol-McLain said it was important we learn from the experiences of other countries who have seen a dramatic increase in family violence.

‘Family violence is a crisis that has been with us for a long time. We need to be especially aware of the potential for violence when families are forced to spend a long time together without other supports.’

She stressed there are actions men can take.

  • Know your trigger points and seek help early – before you feel as though you could harm yourself or others.
  • Become familiar with helplines. They are there to support you through this time, no matter how minor your concern is.
  • When you are feeling stressed or anxious, make contact with a friend, family or whānau member who you know will help you to resolve the situation without turning to violence.
  • Remember you are a role model for your kids – take a pause when you start feeling stressed or anxious.
  • Make a conscious decision to listen to and support your family.
  • Remember drugs and alcohol are not your saviour.
  • Negotiate a ‘time out’ spot in your house – a place where people know to leave you alone.
  • Walk, run, do burpees, sit-ups, press-ups, or follow online exercise programmes.

If you need support to stop using violence:

  • 0800 HEY BRO: for men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one or whānau member
  • Lifeline, Call 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354) or text HELP (4357): Ask to speak to one of the male support workers, Lifeline also provide family violence help and support
  • Safe to talk (0800 044334 or text 4334): Sexual violence helpline
  • SHINE (call free 0508 744 633: 9am to 11pm, 7 days a week)
  • Local stopping violence services can be found at https://nnsvs.org.nz/about/
  • Free call or text the Mental Health Foundation on 1737
  • He Ara Mataora: Tools to Stop Violence https://mataora.wananga.com/

Last updated 31/03/2020

Chris Collins appointed interim CEO of NZIST

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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  • Chris Collins appointed interim CEO of NZIST

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Bill Kimberley will lead EIT as acting CEO.

Chris Collins will head the new NZIST for a three-month period

EIT’s CEO Chris Collins has been appointed as Interim CEO of the new national institute, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology which the Government has established on 1 April.

Mr Collins will undertake the NZIST Interim CEO role until the Stephen Town, currently CEO of Auckland Super City, is able to take up the NZIST CE role in July.

Chris Collins’ appointment is a reflection of the high regard with which EIT is held as one of New Zealand’s leading institute of technology.

On 1 April, EIT also becomes part of this new national institution as a result of the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education. During Mr Collins’ appointment as Interim CEO of NZIST, EIT’s Human Resources Director Mr Bill Kimberley will step into the role of Acting CEO at EIT and will be responsible for overseeing all operational matters.

“Mr Kimberley is a highly respected, experienced and senior member of the Executive Team at EIT,” says Mr Collins. “I look forward to continuing to work with him during my Interim CE role. I will stay in close contact with him and EIT during this period.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic makes this a very challenging time for everyone, but EIT staff are working incredibly hard, along with all of NZIST, to explore ways to enable students to continue engaging in their courses, as much as is practically possible, during this lockdown period.”

Tax Outturn Data – February 2020

Source: New Zealand Treasury:

Tables of monthly tax revenue and receipts from collecting departments

Tax data are sometimes difficult to interpret as economic indicators, but tax outturns are among the earliest data available about the state of the economy. The Government has decided that it is important that this information about the economy should be available to market analysts, and the general public, as soon as possible.

Monthly tax outturn data are published here, usually by the end of the following month, shortly after they are reported to Ministers.

Outturns for February 2020

Total unconsolidated tax revenue for the eight months ended February 2020 was $50 million (-0.1%) below the 2019 Half-year Economic and Fiscal Update forecast and $4,112 million (6.9%) greater than last year. All major tax types were above forecast, except for company tax.

Total unconsolidated tax receipts for the eight months ended February 2020 were $487 million (0.8%) above forecast. Most major tax types were above forecast. For further details, refer to the Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the Eight Months ended 29 February 2020.

Note

The figures reported in the spreadsheets are on an unconsolidated basis, adding to total tax, and differ from the figures reported in the monthly financial statements of the Government. The monthly financial statements are prepared on a consolidated basis, meaning they eliminate tax transactions between Departments, State-owned enterprises and Crown entities. The eliminations are included in Section III in the Monthly History spreadsheet for comparison with the figures in the financial statements of the Government.

Next Release of Tax Outturn Data

The Treasury publishes tax outturns in conjunction with the release of the monthly Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand. Sometimes there are delays in data collection due to audits, holidays, or changes to processes. If the release date should change, a message will appear on this page and on the Treasury main page. The upcoming release dates are listed on the Treasury’s Calendar of upcoming releases. The standard time for each release will be 10am.

Tax Revenue Outturns

Tax revenue, which measures tax due in a given time period, entails estimation. Some tax types use taxpayers’ own estimates from their tax returns. These are subject to revisions when new returns are filed, application of revenue recognition rules when assessments and payments do not reconcile, etc. Other tax types require some estimation from the tax-collecting entity because returns for the current period are usually unavailable at the time of reporting. While several checks are done, such as sampling and individually reviewing exceptionally large estimates, the nature of revenue means it is more difficult to measure than receipts. Tax revenue figures are audited independently at 30 June each year and adjustments made if necessary. For these reasons, the monthly track of many tax types may be more erratic for revenue than receipts.

Notes on Historical Data

The “Monthly history” spreadsheet includes monthly tax receipts and revenue data from July 1990 and July 1993 respectively. Each worksheet tab contains up to four sections. The first section displays monthly cash receipts/accrual revenue by tax type. We have omitted some very minor taxes.

The second section consists of aggregates: individuals, corporates (net company, foreign-source dividends, non-resident withholding), net GST.

The third section shows the eliminations that, when removed, give Core Crown Tax and Fully Consolidated Tax respectively.

The fourth section shows tax write-offs by tax type. From June 2007, tax revenues have been reported gross of tax write-offs, whereas previously they were reported net of tax write-offs. Tax write-offs are now included separately as an expense item in the financial statements. To get a series consistent with the figures prior to June 2007, users of the data may like to subtract tax write-offs from the corresponding tax revenue line above.

Largest number of graduates in EIT’s history

Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic EIT had to cancel all graduation celebrations, however students still graduated – and for 2019 the number was well up on previous years.

EIT, including the three campuses in Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti and Auckland, continue to achieve strongly in awarding qualifications, 4,104 for 2019 – compared to 3,604 in 2018. 

In 2019, 901 students graduated with a degree or a postgraduate qualification (2018: 656).

Particularly pleasing were the numbers for Auckland and Tairāwhiti (including the regional learning centres) reflecting EIT’s commitment to off-campus delivery and outreach into regions and communities.

  • Auckland: 1580 (2018: 1327);
  • Tairāwhiti (including the Regional Learning Centres in e.g. Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria etc.): 791 (2018: 787);
  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Learning Centres in e.g. Wairoa, CHB, Hastings, Maraenui etc.: 789 (2018: 540). 

For the 2019 year, 46 percent of EIT Hawke’s Bay student body and 78 percent of the Tairāwhiti study body were Māori. 22 percent of Maori students were studying at degree level or higher.

EIT registered significant increase in international student numbers. 18 percent of those gaining qualifications were international students (2018: 13 percent) with the wider international student body coming from 45 countries

CEO Chris Collins notes that the growth in graduate numbers reflects the growth in student numbers. While the rest of the sector experienced a decline in enrolments and graduates, EIT enrolled a record number of over 5000 equivalent full time students, being made up of 10,817 students (2018: 10,325).

COVID-19 modelling provides a clear warning of consequences of not acting swiftly and decisively

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

A series of mathematical models warning of the consequences for the lack of early action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 reinforce the importance of the current lockdown and other government measures.

“The modelling shows that without the actions currently being taken, the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 would exact a high price in New Zealand in terms of its impact on our health services, including our intensive care units, and deaths” says Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

The Ministry of Health today published a series of modelling reports – all looking at how a range of measures can help reduce the impact of COVID-19.

The modelling was considered alongside a range of other information to inform the Ministry of Health’s advice to the Government on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Other key information sources were the 16-24 Feb WHO joint mission to China, the University of Auckland report, and the 18 March publication from Imperial College, London, (a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling), which was particularly significant in informing the development of New Zealand’s Alert levels and the decision to move quickly from Alert level 3 to Alert level 4.

As COVID-19 was a rapidly evolving situation the Ministry asked for a range of scenarios to be prepared, including an appropriately informed worst-case scenario.

The reports have been completed by Wellington researchers from the University of Otago in collaboration with university colleagues from Germany. The models were revised based on feedback from peer reviewers, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Science Advisor and public health officials.

“It’s critical to understand that each of the models presents a number of potential future scenarios, none of which are future predictions” says Dr Bloomfield.   

Each model has its own degree of uncertainty determined by the assumptions required for any modelling work, and those assumptions are based on the best information available from overseas evidence at the time.

The key assumptions within this model are sourced from available literature and expert judgement. 

“The key value of modelling like this is to assist with planning and decision making at an early stage – when prevention measures can have greater effect – and along with a range of other information, modelling can guide decision makers,” Dr Bloomfield said..

Other international modelling studies are based on similar information but are specific to their country and stage of the epidemic. 

New Zealand’s island nation status, low population density and limited mass public transport may all help reduce the impact here.

“There is broad support from the modelling that containing the spread of the disease is crucial to reduce and delay the impacts of the epidemic on human health and to allow health systems to prepare.

The impact and effectiveness of the measures announced by the Government – our lockdown, closed border, internal travel restrictions, work closures, excellent hygiene practices, greater physical distancing and testing, contact tracing and isolation – all play a critical role in reducing the impact on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders,” Dr Bloomfield said.

Media contact

Peter Abernethy
021 366 111