Infrastructure Plan – Roading announcement undercuts clean transport development – Greenpeace

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Greenpeace
Wednesday, January 29: The Government’s plan to spend $5.3 billion on building new roads will slow down the development of clean transport in New Zealand, according to Greenpeace.
The environmental organisation’s climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, is disappointed by this morning’s announcement, which she says misses an opportunity to clean up New Zealand’s transport system.
“People’s transport choices are framed by the options that are available to them. If you’ve ever visited somewhere like London or New York, the vast majority of commuters get around on public transport because it’s well-connected and convenient,” she says.
“If you build more roads, people will drive more. In New Zealand, we have particularly inefficient cars, and increasing their use will only contribute to more of the dirty emissions that are driving the climate emergency.”
The transport sector is New Zealand’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions. It’s responsible for around 20 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions each year. Of the $12 billion announced today for infrastructure, 44 percent – almost half – will be spent on expanding this sector.
Larsson says although New Zealand is starting to be seen as a world leader on climate policy, the country is a laggard when it comes to providing infrastructure that allows people to get around using clean transport, or power their homes with clean energy.
“There really couldn’t be a worse time to build expensive and polluting roading than now. From an economic point of view, it’s a bad investment because we already have cleaner and more efficient ways of getting people where they want to go.
“From a moral perspective, our neighbours in Australia are losing their homes, lives, and livelihoods, and billions of animals are dying in devastating bushfires that have been fueled by climate change.
“The climate crisis is fundamentally an infrastructure challenge. We can move away from our dependence on dirty fuels by building lots of solar, wind, batteries, electric trains, busways, and cycleways. All of this creates thousands of jobs, and gives people options that they currently don’t have.
“The $12 billion boost to infrastructure spending could have been a huge opportunity to address the climate emergency. But it needed to be spent on infrastructure that fixes the problem, or at the very least doesn’t make things worse.”

Coronavirus update for tertiary education organisations

Source: Tertiary Education Commission

Last updated 28 January 2020
Last updated 28 January 2020

The TEC has contacted all tertiary education organisations (TEOs) with information about the coronavirus.
The TEC has contacted all tertiary education organisations (TEOs) with information about the coronavirus.

As the 2020 study year begins, tertiary students and staff may have travelled from an area where there is coronavirus. All TEOs are encouraged to ask any students or staff who may be at high risk of exposure to delay the start of their study year for 14 days and voluntarily stay away.
The health of students and staff is a priority. As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at work or studying at a tertiary provider. If you have any concerns, please contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or call your GP. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.
Useful links

SH35 speed review submissions being considered

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is now considering feedback received from the public on speed limits along State Highway 35 through Tairāwhiti townships, following consultation on lower speed proposals late last year.

The Transport Agency formally consulted on lower speed proposals through townships, and informally engaged with the public to gather their thoughts about SH35 open road speeds between Gisborne and Te Puia Springs.

“We received 353 submissions about our township speed proposals and had around 150 people attend community drop-in sessions held between Te Araroa and Wainui Beach,” Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says.

“Our local East Coast team is carefully considering the feedback we have received about township and open road speeds, as well as our own safety and technical assessments, so that we can make the most informed decision possible.

“Changing speed limits is a legal process and there are numerous steps that we need to carefully follow once we have completed our analysis. We will update the community as soon as we are able to provide more information about timeframes and next steps.

“We would like to thank the Tairāwhiti public for taking the time to give us their feedback on the speed review.”

People can find out more about the speed review process at link).

The Transport Agency will return to the community to consult on any proposed changes with updates about the townships consultation and open road engagement later in the year with a proposal once a decision has been made.

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Health infrastructure investment part of much-needed catch-up

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

Health infrastructure investment part of much-needed catch-up

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists is pleased to see the government committing to much-needed investment in health infrastructure, with many facilities and hospitals running at breaking point.

The government has today announced $300 million of capital investment to be spread across child and maternal health, mental health and addiction, regional and rural service projects and upgrading and fixing ageing hospital facilities.

ASMS, which represents senior doctors and dentists, says there has been gross neglect of facilities and hospital buildings in the past decade which has impacted on the quality of health care.

Executive Director Sarah Dalton says “staff in many DHBs are working in sub-optimal clinical environments, with ageing buildings and equipment, along with cramped conditions and facilities which have outgrown their physical footprints.

“Hospitals are regularly operating at full capacity because they don’t have enough bed space and that in turn leads to delays for patients and longer waiting lists”.

ASMS acknowledges the government is making a start on trying to play catch up but Treasury has estimated that about $14 billion of investment over 10 years is needed.

It also says hospital staff must be involved in the planning and design of upgrades and rebuilds to ensure the money is well spent.

Sarah Dalton says there are already examples of infrastructure projects and upgrades which have fallen short.

“The new acute services building at Christchurch Hospital will be over-capacity as soon as it opens.  We’ve also heard about new buildings or wards which specialists say don’t meet the needs of staff or patients”.

She is encouraged that the infrastructure package includes support for two hospitals to upgrade to clean energy.

“That’s an important step in terms of future-proofing, modernising and making our public health system more sustainable,” she says.

SH2 Aro Aro Bridge strengthening works to get underway in February

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency


Strengthening works to Aro Aro Bridge on State Highway 2 in the Waiōeka Gorge, approximately 13.5km south of Opotiki, have started this week and some traffic restrictions will apply from Monday 10 February.

Works have commenced on site to prepare for the strengthening works but traffic will only be affected from 10 February.

A single lane closure with speed restrictions will be in place for six weeks from 10 February to allow the works to be completed safely.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Bay of Plenty System Manager Rob Campbell says motorists should plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.

“The Transport Agency thanks motorists for their patience.”

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Gold-plated residence for University elite is a disgrace

Source: Taxpayers Union

Responding to reports that the University of Auckland has purchased a $5 million Parnell mansion to serve as residence for the new Vice-Chancellor, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
“On one hand, the University of Auckland cries poverty, cutting 114 support staff jobs and its specialist library services last year. On the other, it’s purchased a gold-plated residence for its administrative elite. This is shameful.”
“To put this into perspective, the expense is a year’s worth of income tax for 580 people on the average wage.”“If Professor Freshwater is paid anything close to the million-plus she earned in Australia, then it’s hard to see why she needs further favours from the taxpayer.”
“The University’s splurge reinforces a trend of university management across the country throwing money at frivolous vanity projects and extravagances – remember the Victoria University name change saga?”
“Universities need to be reminded that they are overwhelmingly funded by the taxpayer – 82 percent of the cost of tertiary education is paid for by taxpayers. At the very least, the new Vice-Chancellor should offer her spare rooms to overtaxed alumni visiting town.”

Statement on evacuation of New Zealanders from Wuhan

Source: New Zealand Government

“I spoke with Prime Minister Morrison again this afternoon and we have confirmed that we will work together on a joint ANZAC assisted departure of Australians and New Zealanders from Wuhan,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Specific details of the evacuation plan, including the medical protocols that will be applied to returning New Zealanders, and access arrangements on the ground in China are being worked through by officials.”

9 million children could die in a decade unless world acts on pneumonia, leading agencies warn

Source: Save The Children

Malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics among the drivers of preventable deaths from pneumonia—which last year killed a child every 39 seconds.

Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert nearly nine million child deaths from pneumonia and other major diseases, a new analysis has found ahead of the first ever global forum on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona (January 29-31).

According to a modelling by Johns Hopkins University, scaling up pneumonia treatment and prevention services can save the lives of 3.2 million children under the age of five. It would also create ‘a ripple effect’ that would prevent 5.7 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time, underscoring the need for integrated health services.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid. It is the biggest single killer of children, claiming the lives of 800,000 children last year, or 1 child every 39 seconds. Although some types of pneumonia can be prevented with vaccines and can be easily treated with low-cost antibiotics if properly diagnosed, tens of millions of children are still unvaccinated – and one in three children with symptoms do not receive essential medical care.

Child deaths from pneumonia are concentrated in the world’s poorest countries and it is the most deprived and marginalised children who suffer the most. Forecasts show 6.3 million children under the age of five could die from pneumonia between 2020 and 2030, on current trends. Over the next decade, deaths are likely to be highest in Nigeria (1.4 million), India (880,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo (350,000) and Ethiopia (280,000).

Health interventions aimed at improving nutrition, providing antibiotics and increasing vaccine coverage, boosting breastfeeding rates – key measures that reduce the risk of children dying from pneumonia – would also prevent millions of child deaths from diseases like diarrhoea (2.1 million), sepsis (1.3 million), and measles (280,000).

Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children, said:

“The number of lives that could be saved is potentially far higher as the modelling did not take account of factors like availability of medical oxygen, or action to reduce levels of air pollution, a major risk factor for pneumonia.”

“These results show what is possible. It would be morally indefensible to stand and allow millions of children continue to die for want of vaccines, affordable antibiotics and routine oxygen treatment.”

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said:

If we are serious about saving the lives of children, we have to get serious about fighting pneumonia. As the current coronavirus outbreak shows, this means improving timely detection and prevention. It means making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right treatment. It also means addressing the major causes of pneumonia deaths like malnutrition, lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics, and tackling the more difficult challenge of air pollution.”

Outdoor air pollution contributes to 17.5 per cent – or nearly one in five – pneumonia deaths among children under five worldwide, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME-GBD). Household pollution from the indoor use of solid cooking fuels contributes to an additional 195,000 (29.4 per cent) deaths.

Ninety-one per cent of the world’s population is breathing outdoor air that exceeds WHO standards. The scale of the air pollution challenge could potentially undermine the impact of scaling up pneumonia-related interventions.

Other causes of pneumonia deaths include malnutrition, and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics. According to the Johns Hopkins modelling, of the total 8.9 million deaths from all causes that could be averted over the next decade, 3.9 million would be the result of greater efforts to reduce levels of malnutrition alone.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said:

Pneumococcal pneumonia is an easily preventable, often treatable disease – no parent should go through the agony of losing their child to this disease. Over the past decade we have made progress in boosting the number of children receiving lifesaving pneumococcal vaccine and it is vital that we keep up these efforts to protect the next generation against this deadly disease. Gavi’s donor pledging conference in June will offer the international community the chance to help us do so.”

Quique Bassat, Research Professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and Chair of the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia said: 

“The disease that kills most children in the world cannot be neglected any longer in terms of its scarce global research funding. Research and innovation need to drive policy change, and lead the way for further decreases in pneumonia-attributable mortality.”

Leith Greenslade, Co-ordinator of the Every Breath Counts Coalition, said:

“This analysis shows that collective action to protect children from pneumonia could really boost national efforts to achieve the SDG for child survival. Governments and international development agencies must act urgently to protect the most vulnerable children from malnutrition and exposure to air pollution, and ensure that they receive pneumonia-fighting vaccines and speedy diagnosis, child-friendly antibiotics and oxygen if they become sick. If they don’t, 9 million children’s lives are at stake.”

On January 29-31, the nine leading health and children’s organisations – ISGlobal, Save the Children, UNICEF, Every Breath Counts, “la Caixa” Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID,Unitaid and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – are hosting world leaders at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia in Barcelona, the first international forum on childhood pneumonia.

Among the announcements to be made at the forum include a more affordable, PCV vaccine from the Serum Institute of India and political commitments from governments in high-burden countries to develop national strategies to reduce pneumonia deaths.

Content and case studies available here. Photos and broll can be downloaded here.

For more information or to arrange interviews with spokespeople and experts, please contact:

Charlotte Rose, Save the Children (London)

+44 (0)20 7012 6841 / +44 (0)7831 650409 (out of hours) / 

Sabrina Sidhu, UNICEF (New York)

+1 9174761537


Notes to editors:

  1. For more information about the modelling results see the full brief: Tackling pneumonia could avert almost 9 million child deaths this decade.
  2. Johns Hopkins University’s Lives Saved Tool (LiST) is designed to estimate lives saved from maternal and child health interventions. Rather than providing a simple linear projection, it estimates what the profile of child pneumonia deaths in 2030 will look like according to population risk factors such as malnutrition, vaccination rates and health care seeking. For this analysis, two projections have been performed: (1) ‘business as usual’ projections where the rates of progress against key risk factors for pneumonia continue to rise at their historical trends until 2030; (2) a ‘scale-up’ scenario where 19 health and nutrition interventions with a direct impact on reducing child pneumonia deaths, such as vaccination or access to antibiotics, achieve 100% coverage by 2030.
  3. Pneumonia initiatives to be announced at the forum include: 
  •  National government commitments to accelerate vaccination coverage by supporting Gavi’s 2020 replenishment, ensuring more equitable vaccination coverage and vaccine affordability.
  • A new more affordable PCV vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
  • The Nigerian Pneumonia Control Strategy, presented by the Nigerian Minister of Health, which aims to achieve the target of three child pneumonia deaths per 1,000 births by 2030.
  • $US43 million Unitaid investment to improve access to pulse oximetry and related diagnostic tools in nine countries in partnership with PATH, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, ALIMA, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) and Solthis and Terre des Hommes.
  • A new UNICEF catalogue, unveiled by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which for the first time includes comprehensive pulse oximetry and oxygen products.

Whānau Care partnership

Source: Ministry for Children

Whānau Care partnership | Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children

Oranga Tamariki and Waitomo Papakainga have launched Whānau Care for tamariki and whānau in Kaitaia and Te Hiku o Te Ika (the Far North).

Published on
28 Jan 2020

The aim of the partnership is to ensure tamariki, who need care, are living safely with carers who have whakapapa connections to them through whānau, hapū or the five iwi of Te Hiku.
Oranga Tamariki is working to establish Whānau Care partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations across the country to better support tamariki Māori.

Pictured above: Katie Murray (middle), Waitomo Papakainga Chief Executive,  Rena Hona (left), Te Tai Tokerau Regional Manager, and Hemoata Tauroa (right), Kaitaia Site Manager

Tino rangatiratanga
Waitomo Papakainga is a kaupapa-Māori organisation in Kaitaia with a team of 25 kaimahi who are supporting their community through a range of social services.
In partnership with Oranga Tamariki in Kaitaia, they are researching the whakapapa of tamariki to identify and support whānau who can care for them.
Waitomo Papakainga Chief Executive, Katie Murray, says their mission is to help whānau discover their tino rangatiratanga.
“With support from the Kaitaia office, we are going to re-connect whānau and help them to become accountable for their own.
“This has been our kaupapa for a long time, and this new partnership will enable us to make an even greater difference for our people.”

A realised dream
Oranga Tamariki Site Manager in Kaitaia, Hemoata Tauroa, says this Whānau Care partnership is a realised dream for everyone involved.
“Our hopes and dreams are the same for our tamariki and mokopuna. That they are safe, well and cared for by their own,” Hemoata says.
“As Māori, this tikanga has been with us for ever.”
Waitomo Papakainga and the Kaitaia site have worked hard to build relationships between their teams and to develop new ways of working together to better support tamariki and whānau.
“We work with the Kaitaia site to make sure the children are safe and then work alongside the parents and whānau to help them make better decisions for their tamariki and for themselves,” Katie says.

Our hopes and dreams are the same for our tamariki and mokopuna. That they are safe, well and cared for by their own.
Hemoata Tauroa

Shining light for whānau
Katie started Waitomo Papakainga with her sisters more than 30 years ago as they could see their people needed help.
“We’ve come through numerous economic and political changes and we are still here, still continuing to grow for our community. That’s one of our greatest feats.”
Whanaungatanga is integral to their mahi as her workers, who are predominantly Māori, often share whakapapa or relations with the whānau they are supporting.
“This helps us to speak truthfully and openly with whānau as we can relate to them and they are more accepting of us,” she says.
Being a community social worker is tough, but it’s worth it for the opportunity to bring light into people’s lives, Katie says.
“Sometimes we are like the angry aunties and we have to challenge whānau, but then we make a plan to help them.“We get such a huge buzz when we work with families and know that tamariki are safe.”

Coronavirus – don’t panic!

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

The PPTA, Ministry of Education, and other sector groups are keeping a very close watch on the rapidly changing 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) situation. Advice will be forthcoming should the situation require it.

According to the Ministry of Health, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Zealand to date, but the likelihood of a case is high.

Symptoms include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. (Note: difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia, and requires immediate medical attention.) These symptoms are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza, so their presence does not necessarily mean coronavirus is present.

Currently, the Ministry of Education is advising the following:

  • As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at school.
  • If a student still attends school while showing symptoms, principals can preclude them on the grounds that they may have a communicable disease (Section 19, Education Act). The student must stay away for the infectious period of the specific disease.
  • You can request that a staff member with an infectious disease (or one who is suspected of having an infectious disease) does not attend school.
  • Any staff member or student who has recently been to China, or has been in close contact with someone confirmed with coronavirus, should stay away from school for 14 days.

If you have a particular concern about any child, student or staff member, please contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or your GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages, including staff who speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

There is more information on the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health websites.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 14:16