Unions welcome extension of Flexi-Wage Scheme Policy

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: CTU
The Council of Trade Unions is supporting the announcement from the Labour Party today to revamp the existing flexi-wage scheme to support more Kiwis getting into, and staying in, jobs.
“In the months and years ahead we’ll need to reimagine the ways that things can be done differently. One of the best things about this policy is that it could be actioned quickly through the scaling up of the existing model,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.
“It is great to see Labours clear commitment to support getting people into work and supporting those whose jobs might have been on the edge due to COVID. Everyone benefits when people can get jobs and keep their jobs. It was heartening to hear our Prime Minister speak about how she, and Labour, will do everything possible to ensure that working people and jobs suffer as little as possible as a result of COVID,” Wagstaff said.

Business – Flexi-wage extension would boost business – Business NZ

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: BusinessNZ
The Labour Party’s proposed support package to assist businesses in hiring at least 40,000 New Zealanders impacted by Covid-19 is welcomed by BusinessNZ.
The Party today announced it would provide targeted support to people receiving a benefit or at risk of losing their job by paying a flexible wage subsidy to employers via a $311m expansion of the Flexi-wage programme.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says it’s good to see the recognition from political parties that business needs to be at the forefront of New Zealand’s economic recovery.
“This revamp could offer additional support to struggling businesses and will support those most affected by the current economic uncertainty.
“It may also act as a strong incentive to employ those who are most at risk of unemployment. Ultimately, we need to see political parties deliver on these policies and get behind business.”

Wellington Police disappointed following alcohol-fuelled disorder

Wellington Police disappointed following alcohol-fuelled disorder

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police are investigating following a large disorder on Courtenay Place overnight.

About 3:30am Police responded to a fight at the intersection of Courtenay Place and Taranaki Street.

In the ensuring hour, Police received several more reports relating to disorder in the block between Taranaki Street and Tory Street.

One person was seriously injured from an apparent stabbing, and nine people were arrested.

A nineteen-year-old man has been charged with common assault and is due to appear in Wellington District Court on Monday.

“Almost every weekend Police are attending at least one serious incident on Courtenay Place,” says Acting Area Commander, Inspector Dion Bennett.

“In some cases we have been very lucky not to be dealing with fatalities. The officers who attend these incidents and security staff trying to keep the peace are also often abused or assaulted while trying to keep those involved and the general public safe.”

Police will continue to have a visible presence in the area tonight and is encouraging those who are planning a night out to take care.

“Wellington is a great place to live, work, and play. We want you to have a good time when you go out, and that includes being kind and looking out for one another,” says Inspector Bennett.

An easy guide to a safe night out:

* Have a plan to get home safely – whether that’s a sober driver or money for a taxi.
* Stick with your group and stay connected with your friends.
* Leave your alcohol at home – there’s a liquor ban in place across the city and that includes consuming alcohol inside your vehicle.
* Manage your alcohol consumption by drinking water between alcoholic drinks – managing your intake will help you manage your emotions.
* Feeling overwhelmed? If you need a minute, find the Take 10 safe zone where you can take refuge, drink some water and recharge your phone. 
* Finished at the bar for the night? It’s probably time to go home, don’t hang around the city after leaving the bar or nightclub.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Terms of Reference for gymnastics independent review and management of complaints

Source: Sports New Zealand

Back

Terms of Reference for gymnastics independent review and management of complaints

8 August 2020

Gymnastics New Zealand (Gymnastics NZ) has released the terms of reference for the Independent Review to be conducted by David Howman. In conjunction with this, Sport New Zealand (Sport NZ) has released the terms of reference for the expanded use of the Interim Complaints Mechanism (ICM) to deal with complaints coming forward from within the gymnastics community.

Together these provide an independent and robust framework for receiving and processing these complaints and ensuring all aspects of the sport are examined.

“Gymnastics NZ is committed and highly motivated to investigate all complaints, with an unwavering focus to effect change, and ensure all participants, both recreational and competitive and our wider community, can enjoy our sport safely. We believe the implementation of the ICM, with the ability for each complaint to be assessed and then investigated independently, as well as the appointment of David Howman to review the overall culture of the sport, will ensure we achieve this.” says Tony Compier, CEO of Gymnastics NZ.

Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin says he is deeply concerned by the allegations arising within the sport and is pleased Gymnastics NZ accepted the offer to utilise the ICM and also welcomes the appointment of David Howman to lead the Independent Review.

“It is vitally important that participant’s and others within the gymnastics community, past and present, feel safe coming forward. The ICM is ideally suited to this and encourages people to come forward in the confidence that they will be heard by a professional and independent party and that as a result appropriate action will be taken. The use of the ICM and the Independent Review that will run concurrently represents a robust approach,” says Peter Miskimmin.

David Howman says he is pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to the future of the Gymnastics culture in New Zealand, where athlete wellbeing will be prioritised.

“This is an important review for the athletes concerned, Gymnastics NZ as the governing body and the entire gymnastic community. It is a chance to learn from athletes and others in order to create a stronger and safer sport and culture.” says David Howman.

The Independent Complaints Mechanism (ICM)

The ICM is operated in total independence by Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law. Those wishing to come forward can obtain contact information from www.sportnz.org.nz/icm

The ICM legal team will independently assess each complaint and the response will be tailored to the circumstances of the case.
The team will:
● Provide prompt acknowledgement and assistance to those who need it
● Listen respectfully and ensure the complainant is heard
● Establish what the complainant wants and needs in relation to their complaint
● The ICM team will be empowered to recommend and explore resolution options, including independent investigation
● Identify the common themes arising from the nature of the complaints

The independent reviewer will include any recurring themes in the wider review of the sport of gymnastics. To enable this, information will be forwarded to the independent reviewer, but only where there is consent from the complainant.

Gymnastics NZ is continuing to operate its SafeSport email system, safesport@gymnasticsnz.com but all complaints received through this now automatically re-direct to the ICM. Details around this process are available on the home page of the Gymnastics NZ website.

Independent Review

The Independent Review will be conducted by David Howman.

This work will provide a wider review into the sport of gymnastics in New Zealand. Mr Howman will have access to information from the ICM, relevant to the review, with consent from the complainants. Mr Howman will review trends and themes that emerge from complaints, and will provide a report to Gymnastics NZ with observations and recommendations across all aspects of the Gymnastics NZ function, policy and procedure, and the sport in general. Mr Howman can be contacted confidentially at reviewer@sportintegrity.co.nz .

Once completed this report will be publicly available, in full.

See also:

Gymnastics Independent Review Terms of Reference

ENDS

Media Contact

Philip Clark

Group Media Manager, Sport NZ

T: 0278 385 710

E: Philip.clark@sportnz.org.nz

Flexi-wage subsidy to support up to 40,000 people into work

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

We’ve announced that we will expand the Flexi-wage programme to support up to 40,000 more people into work, or to help them start their own business. It’s yet another way we’re helping keep our economy moving by getting people into work and training. Read on to find out more…

Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup

Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup

Source: New Zealand Government

The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022.

“This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at home,” Grant Robertson said.

“The ICC has said the decision to delay is to ensure that all teams and players have the chance to prepare properly for the tournament, including having a qualifying tournament.

“The disruption caused by COVID-19 around the world has meant no international women’s cricket has been played and many teams will struggle to even come together to train in the foreseeable future.

“The organising committee in New Zealand has been working with the Government to ensure a safe and enjoyable tournament could be played. 

“We could have done it in 2021, but now we will look to 2002. As a government we have reiterated our commitment to supporting the tournament.

“For the White Ferns I know this will be a particular disappointment.  We will keep working with New Zealand Cricket on how we can support them to provide opportunities for internationals to be played over the coming summer,” Grant Robertson said.

New Police facilities for Whanganui

New Police facilities for Whanganui

Source: New Zealand Government

Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who work in a number of justice and social services.  

“The Whanganui Police Hub project has won government support through a new infrastructure fund,” Mr Nash said. “The project is one of the ‘shovel-ready’ proposals put forward by local councils, iwi, and community groups in the wake of COVID.”

“The Police station replacement will play a big part in the economic recovery of the region. It is just the sort of project that our COVID Response and Recovery Fund is designed for. It meets both social and economic objectives as we recover from the impact of COVID19.

“The project is expected to directly generate around 100 jobs and support hundreds of others. Local small businesses and contractors in the construction industry and services sector now have greater certainty about the pipeline of projects in the region.

“The existing Whanganui Central Police Station is something of a ‘period piece’ and is no longer fit for purpose. It was built more than fifty years ago and it is completely outdated.

“The building fabric, services, infrastructure and work environment are all beyond their useful life.  The layout and functionality does not meet future policing requirements nor provide a safe and secure place for Police staff to deliver services to the public.

“Police have been working for some time in partnership with local iwi, the District Council, other government agencies like the Ministry of Justice, and community groups to plan the ideal facilities for the region.

“Options include redeveloping the existing site, or co-locating and integrating multiple agencies on a possible new site, to create a wider precinct for social and justice services in Whanganui.

“The new funding now allows Police and other agencies to accelerate the planning for this project. Next steps would involve a decision on a site, design works, procurement and tendering, and construction. It’s possible the first ‘sod-turning’ could be in 2021.

“The new Whanganui Police hub will create significant social and economic benefits for the region. In partnership with the communities of Whanganui, this project has been a high priority for local Police,” Mr Nash said.

ENDS

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

Editor notes

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principal.

These sectors are (excluding a $400m contingency)

  • Housing and urban development: $464m
  • Environmental: $460m
  • Community and social development: $670m
  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The approximate regional breakdown is:

  • Auckland region                      $500 million
  • Bay of Plenty Region              $170 million
  • Canterbury                              $300 million
  • East Coast                              $106 million
  • Hawke’s Bay                           $130 million
  • Manawatu/Whanganui            $140 million
  • Northland                                $150 million
  • Otago                                      $260 million
  • Southland                                 $90 million
  • Taranaki                                    $85 million
  • Top of the South                       $85 million
  • Waikato                                   $150 million
  • Wellington region                    $185 million
  • West Coast                               $90 million

The IRG investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.

Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment

Green light for Te Awa River Ride in 0m nationwide cycleways investment

Source: New Zealand Government

Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today.

“The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth in the cycling and walking network in the Waikato, making it so much easier, safer and more fun to get around without a car.

“During lockdown we saw many more families and kids out on their bikes, which shows that when our streets feel safe to cycle, people want to ride,” said Julie Anne Genter.

The Hamilton to Cambridge section of the Te Awa River Ride is a 20km shared path, separated from traffic, that connects Hamilton, Tamahere Village, St Peters school, Avantidrome, and Cambridge with a safe, separated cycleway.

When complete, the Hamilton to Cambridge section will form part of the Te Awa River Ride – a 70km path that will generally follow the banks of the Waikato River from Ngaruawahia to Horahora.

“An estimated 110,000 people will use the facility each year – which is likely to increase with the popularity of e-bikes and scooters, making the trip viable for both commuters and for those out for a recreational ride.

Plantings along the cycleway project, with funding from the Waikato River Authority, will help improve the water quality and biodiversity along the banks of the Waikato River.

In Tūrangi, this funding makes it safer to get around with $6.6 million for roughly 30km of pathway and intersection accessibility improvements, and improving waste-water management.

In Taupō, this funding includes $4 million for improvements to connect communities and make it easier to walk and cycle – with safe connections between Lake Taupō, residential areas, shops, schools and kindergartens, playgrounds, and recreational areas.

“With reduced council revenues reducing, this work was expected to be deferred indefinitely – but now it can get started right away.

“These pathway improvements unlock our cities – meaning more people will have the freedom to bike into town or get to school on their own steam.

“This in turn will help improve air quality and reduce car congestion in the morning, particularly when more kids are cycling to school.

“By investing in walking and cycling infrastructure we are making our towns and cities more attractive, vibrant and people-friendly places to live,” Julie Anne Genter said.

These projects are part of the $220 million cycleway package included in the Government’s $3 billion ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects

 

Notes for editors

All funding approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch

Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch

Source: New Zealand Government

Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today.

$125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway projects:

  • The 12km Nor’West Arc cycleway – connecting Cashmere to the University, and Papanui.
  • The 15km Southern Express cycleway – connecting Templeton, Hornby, Riccarton and the city centre.
  • Redcliffs to Shag rock – completing the Coastal Pathway.
  • Rapanui cycleway – connecting the Coastal Pathway to Linwood and the city centre.
  • The Northern Line pathway – connecting Belfast to South Hagley Park and the CBD.
  • Heathcote Expressway – extend the existing cycleway from the Tannery in Woolston to Ferrymead Historic Park and Heathcote

“Without this funding, many of these projects would be years away from even starting,” said Julie Anne Genter.

“These cycleways will provide continuous protected bike network – separated from traffic – across the city and to the outer suburbs.

”This means more kids and less confident riders will have the freedom to bike to school, to work or the shops, meaning fewer cars and congestion on the roads

“During lockdown we saw many more families and kids out on their bikes, which shows that when our streets feel safe to cycle people want to ride.

“Construction is expected to start on some of these projects within the next few months, with the remainder beginning in 2021,” said Julie Anne Genter.

Funding for these projects is part of the $220 million cycleway package included in the Government’s $3 billion ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects as well as from the National Land Transport Fund and Christchurch City Council. The Council will deliver the six projects with the Government funding overseen by Crown agency Ōtākaro Limited.

Notes for editors

All funding approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

South Express and Nor’West Arc – Connecting 5 of the Major Cycle Routes is key to providing a continuous protected cycle network across the city.

The Nor’West Arc connects the Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere to Papanui via the University of Canterbury, and allows students and staff the ability to safely bike across the city via the connected cycleways.

From Templeton to the city centre, the South Express cycleway passes 9 schools along its route and connects onto two other major cycleway connections (the Norwest Arc and Northern Line)

Completing the Christchurch Coastal Pathway – Redcliffs to Shag Rock: this path is already exceeding usage expectations on the completed parts.

Rapanui – Shag Rock Cycleway: This cycleway begins at the end of the existing cycleway on Linwood Ave and goes to Ferrymead Bridge. It connects like Eastgate Mall, Linwood Avenue School and the soon to be built Linwood Pool.

The Northern Line Cycleway: A shared path next to the railway line that connects all the way from Belfast in the north to South Hagley Park and the CBD. The funding also provides for upgrades to several rail crossings along the route to improve safety.

Heathcote Expressway: This part of the project will extend the existing cycleway into Heathcote and Ferrymead. It will function as both a commuter and recreational route with connections to Ōpāwaho River Route.

 

Opinion: Election countdown – can Collins crush the ‘Jacinda effect’?

Opinion: Election countdown - can Collins crush the 'Jacinda effect'?

Source: Massey University

Labour Party leader PM Jacinda Ardern (left) and National Party leader Judith Collins (images/Wikimedia Commons)

The starting gates in New Zealand’s September 19 election race are finally full. Labour’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern is the bookies’ favourite and the opposition took a long time to settle.

All the same, punters may still want to hedge their bets. While the National Party’s internal disarray has made it look easy for Ardern, with a tough contender in new opposition leader Judith Collins the race for the prime-ministership could be more gruelling than the earlier odds suggested.

Yes, Ardern is now a globally celebrated figure. Her sheer charisma looked hard to beat even before the last election. And, given her achievements since, it’s looking harder now. Under Ardern’s watch, the country has eliminated community transmission of COVID-19 – at least for now.

Ardern’s highly visible leadership was reflected in opinion polls from April to June showing Labour over 50 per cent, even as high as 59 per cent. But out of the ensuing panic in the National ranks has emerged a leader who, while polarising, might also be the party’s best chance of combating “the Jacinda effect”. 

An ‘opposition from hell’

National’s problems can be traced back as far as its Pyrrhic victory at the last election. While it gained the most seats of any party, it couldn’t muster a coalition majority. The large caucus promised to be the “opposition from hell” – but ended up an opposition in hell instead.

Internal strife intensified as National dropped below 30 per cent in some polls. Fearing for their seats, backbenchers scratched leader Simon Bridges and elevated the inexperienced Todd Muller, who quit just 53 days later after a shocking privacy scandal and a series of embarrassing gaffes

National looked anything but the “strong team” their advertising wants voters to believe in. Now desperate, the caucus wasted no time electing long-serving MP Collins as the fourth opposition leader Ardern has now faced. Let’s consider her odds.

Attack versus empathy

At 61, Judith Collins is a seasoned politician. First elected in 2002, she gained ministerial experience in John Key’s National-led government (2008–17). 

She earned the nickname “Crusher Collins” when, as minister of police in 2009, she proposed punishing unrepentant boy-racers by destroying their souped-up vehicles in a car-crusher. She appears to have embraced it, declaring on the day she became leader:

She is strong and combative and unafraid to play attack dog. These may now be positive qualities in a centre-right female leader wanting to differentiate herself from Ardern’s empathy and kindness. But Collins can be charming, too, though often with an edge. She was quick to compliment Ardern as an accomplished communicator – with a back-hander that “communication is not execution”. 

This suggestion that Ardern is all appearance and little substance is part of the well-worn attack line National employs against a government it wants to brand as “failing to deliver”. 

Associate Professor Grant Duncan


Competent but controversial

Collins herself has a track record as a very competent minister. When she took over as minister for accident compensation following major privacy bungles in 2012, for example, the portfolio was quickly out of the headlines and back on track. 

National’s contentious election promise to privatise personal injury insurance was quietly abandoned too. But Collins is no stranger to scandal, either. 

Tainted by “dirty politics” during the Key years, stripped of her ministerial roles over allegations she undermined the then head of the Serious Fraud Office, she was later exonerated and rehabilitated by Key. Collins is nothing if not a survivor.

The diversity problem

A politician’s past mistakes are rarely forgotten, but National’s core supporters appreciate the no-nonsense certitude Collins displays. Her voting record on conscience bills reveals she is relatively liberal on social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage, unlike her immediate predecessor Muller.

While Muller’s front bench was criticised for lacking any Māori MPs, Collins’ team includes two Māori men, ranked fourth and fifth.

But now there are fewer women: only two in the top 10 and six in the top 20. The day after Collins took the reins, two female front-benchers announced their decisions not to seek re-election.

As a conservative party that pitches to older folk, however, National wants to avoid looking “woke”. Collins says she won’t be “distracted” by gender and ethnicity, and will make appointments “utterly on merit”. 

But her defensiveness about her own ethnicity has been, well, utterly cringe-worthy. National’s evident discomfort in confronting real-world discrimination and inequality will lose younger voters (and many older ones) to the Greens and Labour.

Who will go the distance?

So, after two leadership changes within two months, and less than two months out from the election, Collins needs swiftly to discipline her team and prevent further damage. 

She must also present a convincing economic plan at a time when big spending, budget deficits and borrowing for infrastructure are standard fiscal policies whether you’re left, right or centre.

Big asks, but these are extraordinary times and it’s unwise to make predictions. Labour’s rise in the polls was sudden and it could just as quickly fall, especially as economic pain becomes chronic, or if another coronavirus outbreak occurs.

Ardern’s kindness and political capital may sustain Labour through to a win. But Collins’ willpower could yet help National come from behind.

Associate Professor Grant Duncan lectures in politics in the School of People, Environment and Planning.

His opinion piece was originally published on The Conversation.