Greater support for crime prevention

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: Greater support for crime prevention

Greater financial support for crime prevention measures in high-risk retail businesses is being made available after a review by Police Minister Stuart Nash.
The previous government announced in June 2017 that $1.8 million would be set aside for the installation of devices like audible alarms, fog cannons, and DNA spray in premises identified by Police as high risk. However financial barriers deterred many business owners from taking up the assistance, and by November 2017 the equipment had been installed in just three locations, two in Auckland and one in Wellington.
“I was concerned to learn that many shop owners declined to take part in the scheme because the costs were prohibitive,” says Mr Nash.
“The previous scheme required businesses to contribute 50 per cent of the cost but that was beyond the reach of many. A fog cannon can cost around $4,000, while a DNA spray system can be more than $3,000 and an audible alarm can be around $1700.
“I have reviewed the way this fund is allocated and decided that greater financial support is needed to make this a viable option for the most at-risk business owners. Many of these businesses, such as dairies and superettes, have only very small profit margins and were facing a potential bill of several thousand dollars for these crime prevention tools.
“The government has increased the subsidy so at-risk business owners will contribute no more than $250 towards the cost of a fog cannon. This is a fraction of the bill they faced previously. I encourage all eligible shop owners to take advantage of the changes to this scheme. Already a further 17 stores have installed the fog cannons during December and January, while eight more are awaiting fit-out.
“These are short term measures and the government remains focussed on longer term ways to reduce crime and improve public safety. Our coalition agreement with New Zealand First undertakes to work towards recruiting 1800 extra Police over three years. We are also targeting organised crime, which will interrupt the supply chains for methamphetamine and other drugs, so that we can remove the incentives for people to commit crimes to fund their habits.
“The original scheme was well-intentioned but imposed too many barriers on those businesses who needed it most. This is a more pragmatic and workable solution which makes better use of the existing fund. I encourage all small business owners who are concerned about crime prevention to talk to their local Police, who can offer specialist advice about enhancing security for staff and premises,” Mr Nash says.
ENDS
Questions and Answers
Who is eligible for this assistance? 
Police determine eligibility through a process of security audits. They visit vulnerable small businesses such as dairies and superettes to undertake assessments. Those determined most at risk of robbery are eligible for the subsidised assistance. This is based on factors like a history of aggravated robberies, burglaries and thefts, as well as calls to Police for issues like graffiti and suspicious activity. Police arrange for a private sector security firm to install the devices.
How many businesses are likely to qualify? 
An estimated 400 premises are expected to qualify. Most are spread across wider Auckland, but others are in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and other centres.
What assistance is available for other businesses? 
Frontline constables in public safety teams can visit shops to provide advice on crime prevention techniques. This could include measures to enhance visibility both within and outside the shop; create more secure storage and display of high value items like cigarettes and alcohol; develop a safe exit plan; install CCTV cameras; upgrade lighting; rearrange the layout of stores; and improve cash handling practices.
How do the crime prevention measures work? 
A fog cannon is an effective deterrent because it creates an effective no-go area for offenders. They are unable to see anything inside the shop and cannot locate high value items. It also allows employees to retreat to a safe place and lessens the risk of being a target of wanton violence.
When will the first of the 1800 extra police be on the beat? 
Funding for the initial phase of recruitment, training and support will be made available in the government’s first budget, to be delivered in May for the financial year 2018/19. The recruitment will be spread over three financial years.

 

Growing waiting list shows need for more public housing

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: Growing waiting list shows need for more public housing

Further increases in the numbers of people waiting for public housing shows the urgent need to increase Housing NZ’s stock, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says.
Figures released today for the December 2017 quarter show the total number of people on the public housing waiting list rose 5 per cent to 7,725. The waiting list is now comprised of 6,182 households in need of a state house and a further 1,543 waiting to be transferred. The list increased 8 per cent in the September quarter.
Phil Twyford says this is the sharp end of the housing crisis. “The people on the Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) housing waiting list are some of the country’s most vulnerable.
“Fixing the housing crisis is a priority for the Labour-led Government. After almost a decade of state houses being sold off and not replaced, increasing Housing NZ’s stock is an important part of the solution.
“We want every New Zealander to have a warm, dry, safe home. No one – especially children – should have to live in a car or a tent.”
In the three months from September to the end of December 2017, MSD spent $576.3 million on housing support; that’s the equivalent of $6.3 million every day. MSD also helped 1673 families into homes over the same period.
There are currently 66,367 public houses. Of those, 61,284 state homes are provided by Housing NZ and 5,083 are provided by Community Housing Providers. In the last quarter, an additional 238 transitional housing places became available, with a total of 1,901 places secured for tenanting.
“Transitional housing provides a much-needed temporary solution for those on the waiting list. New places are being established throughout New Zealand, with MSD looking to purchase or build in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Blenheim.
“These increases in housing options are a positive step towards the Government’s commitment to increasing the state housing stock throughout New Zealand. Over time, these places will help take the pressure off the waiting list and reduce the time it takes to place households into a state house,” Mr Twyford says.

Human Rights Commission welcomes Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care: “An important moment in the history of human rights”

Source: Human Rights Commission – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Human Rights Commission welcomes Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care: “An important moment in the history of human rights”

Human Rights Commission welcomes Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care: “An important moment in the history of human rights”

February 1, 2018

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed today’s announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin that there will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care.

“I would like to pay tribute to those New Zealanders who stepped forward to share their personal stories of abuse: we are here because of them,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Today’s Royal Commission of Inquiry announcement is an important moment in the history of human rights in Aotearoa. We are looking forward to working with survivors, their families, supporters and Government as we look back at the past with honesty, empathy and a determination to make sure this abuse can never happen again.”

The Human Rights Commission will continue to support and work with survivors, their supporters and Government as the Royal Commission of Inquiry process gets underway.

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South Island Storm update: NZTA advising drivers of essential travel only on SH73 and parts of SH6

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: South Island Storm update: NZTA advising drivers of essential travel only on SH73 and parts of SH6

The NZ Transport Agency is strongly advising road users crossing the South Island’s alpine passes, especially SH73 and travelling the Coastal SH6 on the West Coast today of essential travel only. The weather has deteriorated this morning, and will continue to intensify over the next couple of hours into this evening.

“The safety of road users  is our top priority,” says Lee Wright, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager.

The South Island storm is a significant weather event and  the combination of rain, wind and storm surge is causing streams and rivers to rise, flooding, slips and coastal inundation, resulting in hazardous driving conditions.

Several roads are currently closed and strong wind warnings are in place across many parts of the South Island. With SH6 on the West Coast closed in three places, and with the high tide expected at 12pm, the Transport Agency is strongly advising against all but essential travel on the West Coast.

SH6 Rocks Road in Nelson is also closed to all vehicles.

Please keep up-to-date with the weather forecast before you travel, on the Metservice website (external link) and plan ahead to avoid delays by checking the NZ Transport Agency Journey website journeys.nzta.govt.nz (external link) or calling 0800 44 44 49 for 24/7 road condition information on closures or delays.

Tasman/Marlborough
  • SH 60 Takaka Hill – Strong Winds – Extra care is required for high sided vehicles & motorcyclists.
  • Rock Roads SH6 – ROAD CLOSED
West Coast
  • General Area WarningWest Coast area: Strong winds and trees falling around the area.
  • SH 73 Arthurs Pass to Kumara – Strong winds – Care is needed by motorcyclists. Campervans and high sided vehicles.
  • SH 6 Westport to Greymouth (Westport to Rapahoe) – ROAD CLOSED – Due to the strong winds the road has been closed.
  • SH 6 Inanagahua Jnc to Westport – ROAD CLOSED – Due to the strong winds the road has been closed.
  • SH6 Hokitika to Makarora – ROAD CLOSED – Due to the strong winds the road has been closed.
  • SH 6 Ross to Haast – Strong winds – Care is needed by motorcyclists. Campervans and high sided vehicles.
  • SH 6 Hokitika to Ross – Road open – The road is now fully open   

Ways to find out what is happening on the highway network:

Bill to improve financial security for foster children

Source: National Party – Headline: Bill to improve financial security for foster children

A Members’ Bill to help improve the financial security of children in foster care has been lodged by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker.

The KiwiSaver (Foster Parent Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill will make it possible for any foster parent to open a KiwiSaver account for a foster child in their care.

“Foster children are among the most vulnerable children in New Zealand and foster parents go through significant barriers to establish suitability for care,” Mr Walker says.

“There are many foster parents who want to provide the best possible future for the children in their care, even if they never achieve legal guardianship. That includes ensuring that their foster child has some financial security.

“At present, the only way for a foster parent to open a KiwiSaver account is by application to their allocated social worker and it relies on a complex process within a bureaucratic framework.

“My Bill will make it possible for any foster parent who has proof of their foster responsibility to directly approach a KiwiSaver provider to open an account for a foster child in their care.”

Mr Walker says the passage of his Bill would add to the work National undertook during its time in Government to improve the lives of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children.

A KiwiSaver account is the only financial instrument that no-one except the owner of the account itself can access. KiwiSaver has offered not to charge for the accounts of foster children until there is a significant sum in the account.

Member’s Bill to protect victims of crime

Source: National Party – Headline: Member’s Bill to protect victims of crime

A Bill to protect victims of crime from being contacted by their perpetrators has been submitted to the Member’s Ballot by National MP Louise Upston today.

“It’s my intention that the Corrections (Victim Protection) Amendment Bill would create an obligation on the Chief Executive and on Prison Managers to protect those who are subject to a Protection Order and victims of crime from contact from prisoners.

“Many people would assume this obligation is already in place. Yet, a recent case highlighted in the media exposed the fact a prisoner contacted his victim 93 times in order to get her to change her story,” Ms Upston says.

“Last year a paedophile wrote to his victim, now in her twenties, from prison. The woman said it made her feel ‘unsafe’ and ‘dirty’. These kinds of contacts from prisoners are unacceptable.

“If this Bill is to pass, it would relieve vulnerable victims from additional stress and trauma,” Ms Upston says.

Ms Upston says that the passage of her Bill would add to the work National did during its time in Government to support and protect victims of crime such as the creation of the Chief Victims Advisor role and the Victims of Crime Reform Bill to improve the rights and services for all victims.

Inquiry into abuse in state care

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: Inquiry into abuse in state care

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care has been announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin today.
“We have a huge responsibility to look after everyone, particularly our children in state care. Any abuse of children is a tragedy, and for those most vulnerable children in state care, it is unconscionable.
“Today we are sending the strongest possible signal about how seriously we see this issue by setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“This is a chance to confront our history and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again. It is a significant step towards acknowledging and learning from the experiences of those who have been abused in state care,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
A Royal Commission is a form of public inquiry. It has the same legal powers as other public inquiries, but is generally reserved for the most serious issues of public importance.
Former Governor-General, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, will chair the Royal Commission.
“The independence and integrity of the inquiry and the process it follows are critical and Sir Anand has the mana, skills and experience necessary to lead this work. The process will be responsive to the needs of victims and survivors and support them to tell their stories,” says Jacinda Ardern.
Minister Martin said that the draft terms of reference approved by Cabinet task the Royal Commission with looking into what abuse happened in state care, why it happened and what the impacts were, particularly for Māori. They also ask the Commission to identify lessons that can be learned from this abuse today.
“We have set a wide scope. The time period covered is the 50 years from 1950 to the end of 1999 and, unlike some similar overseas inquiries, the Royal Commission will take a broad view of abuse and consider physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect,” says Minister Martin.
The ‘state care’ definition covers circumstances where the state directly ran institutions such as child welfare institutions, borstals or psychiatric hospitals, and where the government contracted services out to other institutions.
“We know this is an issue that has affected not only people who were abused in state care, but their families, whānau and wider communities too. It is therefore crucial that members of the public, including victims and survivors, have a chance to have their say,” Minister Martin says.
The Minister said that Sir Anand’s first task was to consult on the draft terms of reference for the Royal Commission. “We want people to have their say before we even start.”
The draft terms of reference provide for the Inquiry to provide its final report within the current Parliamentary term and a process for agreeing to any extensions to reporting deadlines if needed. They also authorise the Inquiry to make interim findings or recommendations and consider ways of working that will ensure public understanding of its work.
Following the consultation period, Cabinet will make a final decision on the terms of reference, the additional Inquiry members and the final budget for the Inquiry.
The Inquiry, which is formally established today, will start considering evidence once the terms of reference are finalised and published.
The Prime Minister said that establishing the Royal Commission delivered the final commitment from the Government’s 100-Day Plan.
For the Inquiry: royalcommission.statecare@dia.govt.nz
More information can be found at: http://www.dia.govt.nz/Royal-Commission-into-Historical-Abuse-in-State-Care
________________________
The Royal Commission Chair
Sir Anand Satyanand will chair New Zealand’s Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care. Befyore his role as Governor-General, Sir Anand was a lawyer, a judge, and a parliamentary ombudsman. He also has experience in a wide range of government appointments, such as leading the Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals. He has maintained many community connections in sporting and cultural fields.
Most recently, Sir Anand led the Commonwealth Group, which observed the 2017 national elections in Papua New Guinea. Before that, he completed two terms as Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, the counterpart of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Alongside his formal roles, Sir Anand has taken on additional challenges. For example as a judge and later as an ombudsman, he was involved in developing education programmes for people new in those roles. He also worked as a Prison Board Chairman and as a member of the National Parole Board.
Sir Anand’s ability to impartially assess evidence, weigh arguments and articulate issues have been recognised throughout this varied career. He has a thorough knowledge of the machinery of government and is known for being both independent and determined.

Time to learn from the past: Children’s Commissioner

Source: Children’s Commissioner – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Time to learn from the past: Children’s Commissioner

News

1 February 2018

“Survivors of abuse in state care will have the deep hurt they experienced investigated and acknowledged by this new inquiry”, said Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft.

“I welcome the announcement of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care. I see this as a positive step forward for all of those who suffered the pain, fear and grief that result from abuse, while growing up with the trauma of being removed from their families. Nothing can restore their blighted childhoods, but I fundamentally hope that this will provide an opportunity for the survivors to feel genuinely listened to, and gain assistance, support and healing.   

“We must aspire to a higher quality of care for all of our children. The Royal Commission will enable us to learn some hard-won lessons from the past and improve our protection and monitoring systems in the future. We must do all we can to ensure that these sad circumstances can never be repeated. As the lessons emerge, they need to be applied to the changes that that are already underway in our statutory care and protection system.

“Allowing the public to review the Terms of Reference before they are finalized will ensure that the inquiry is fully informed by the diverse range of public views.

“There will no doubt be recent lessons to be learned from the six-year Australia Royal Commission of inquiry into child abuse which conducted a thorough and sensitive and supportive process for all those that gave evidence, as well as the excellent work of the Confidential Learning and Advice Service run by Judge Henwood. My Office will provide whatever support and assistance we can offer as the inquiry progresses.”



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Oral Questions – 1 February 2018

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Oral Questions and Answers

Headline: Oral Questions – 1 February 2018

Dr DEBORAH RUSSELL to the Minister of Finance: What role will the Living Standards Framework play in the Government’s economic strategy?

Hon PAULA BENNETT to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government’s policies?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by the accuracy of all his answers to oral questions to date?

GARETH HUGHES to the Minister of Conservation: What plans does she have to protect freshwater fisheries and their habitats?

Hon AMY ADAMS to the Minister of Justice: Does he stand by all of his Government’s Justice policies?

PRIYANCA RADHAKRISHNAN to the Minister of Police: What is he doing to support crime prevention for high-risk retail businesses?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN to the Minister of Health: What are his priorities in the Health portfolio?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS to the Minister of Transport: From what source, and in what proportions, is the National Land Transport Fund funded?

ANGIE WARREN-CLARK to the Minister of Internal Affairs: What were her key considerations when establishing the Inquiry into historical abuse in state care?

Hon NATHAN GUY to the Minister of Agriculture: Does he stand by all his statements?

JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister of Local Government: Does she stand by all her answers to written questions?

LOUISA WALL to the Minister of Customs: What advice has she received regarding the role Customs plays in reducing harm to New Zealand families, whānau, and communities?

Answers to these questions are delivered from 2pm (New Zealand time) on the day of tabling. The answers can be accessed in text form, once Hansard is finalised, by clicking here.

$730,000 cycle trail funding announced

Source: New Zealand Government

Headline: $730,000 cycle trail funding announced

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis today announced more than $730,000 in funding for safety improvements to two Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, in the Ruapehu and Wellington regions and an extension to the Waikato River trail. 
“The Great Rides are great regional tourism assets that showcase the best of New Zealand – our landscapes, environment, culture and heritage. They are encouraging domestic and international visitor spending in our regions and smaller communities – to the tune of $37.4 million per year at the last estimate,” Mr Davis says.
“The value of our premiere rides is without question, so it’s important we look after the trails and keep users safe.
“We have identified safety projects on the Mountains to Sea and Remutaka cycle trails that are a priority for funding and will be completed as quickly as possible.
“On the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail, safety improvements are needed on the Mangapurua and Kaiwhakauka tracks to address fall hazards and narrow and boggy sections. The trail will receive $393,500 from the New Zealand Cycle Trail: Enhancement and Extension fund for these projects.
“The Remutaka Cycle Trail requires a bridge at Siberia Stream, an upgrade to some sections which are currently unrideable, and the installation of toilet facilities on the exposed Wild Coast section of the trail. Government will contribute $334,125 towards these improvements.”
In addition, $38,452 has been allocated from the Tourism Facilities Development Grants fund to extend the Waikato River Trail. This ride, part of Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, will be extended by 2.34 kilometres into Atiamuri village, improving rider safety and creating additional economic benefits for local businesses.
Mr Davis also announced the opening of round eight of the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, which aims to ensure the Great Rides are maintained to their current world class standard.
Applications are open to Great Rides governance organisations and close on Friday 2 March 2018.  
For more information on Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, visit: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/nga-haerenga-new-zealand-cycle-trail