Budget 2016 announced ongoing funding for a number of initiatives relevant to the engineering profession. Read more about each allocation in detail below.
Budget 2016 provides $1.6 million in additional funding over four years for Engineering Education to Employment (E2E) programme, which supports the transition from education to employment for the increasing number of engineering graduates. This is in addition to the $5.2 million for four years announced in Budget 2015 for more engineering places and E2E initiatives. Budget 2016 will fund projects such as the public awareness campaign, Workforce Challenge Grants, Secondary-Tertiary Pathways and related work to increase enrolments and completions in engineering. It is encouraging that the Budget Fact Sheet explains that “engineering is central to growing a modern economy and to New Zealand’s future success”.
The Budget also provides funding to support Māori and Pacific peoples into education and training. Vote Pacific Peoples provides $1.2 million over four years for the Toloa Scholarships, which encourage Pacific students to study science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects at school or tertiary level.
An additional $9.6 million over four years has been allocated to support Māori and Pasifika Trades Training. This initiative aims to help meet some of the emerging shortages in construction and infrastructure trades and has a focus on increasing the participation of women, with the media release noting “women had higher completion rates than their male counterparts”.
A further $14.4 million over four years has been allocated to apprenticeship training, to support another 5500 apprentices by 2020. Key areas where apprentices are training include carpentry, plumbing and electrical engineering, and more are needed in construction and infrastructure.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund has been increased by an additional $28.5 million per year. This Fund of $183 million per annum funds research related to the economy, the environment and society. It includes natural hazards, energy and minerals research.
To encourage the development of new export-oriented, high-tech businesses, Callaghan Innovation is receiving additional funding of $3 million per year for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund – currently $5.3 million per annum, and an additional $3 million over four years for early stage IT and digital start-ups.
Budget 2016 allocates $2.1 billion for investment for education facilities, transport, housing and Christchurch’s regeneration.
$882.5 million is to be invested to deliver 480 new classrooms, nine new schools, two school expansions and relocation and rebuilding of three schools and a Kura. This investment includes $168.5 million for the Christchurch schools rebuild programme. This programme is its third year and has completed six schools, with a further eight under construction.
$115 million from the Future Investment Fund for the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme is to fund the construction of four State Highway projects – the Mt Messenger and Awakino Tunnel bypasses (Taranaki), the Motu bridge replacement (Gisborne) and the Opawa bridge replacement (Marlborough).
The Budget includes $190 million for KiwiRail’s operation of the national freight network. This is the second tranche of two years’ funding for KiwiRail. Government has stated this two-year package is to help KiwiRail make further gains so future government support can be reduced.
Budget 2016 also provides $25 million in additional funding over the next four years for the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Nga Haerenga. This will create a 536 kilometre continuous cycle trail network by linking four existing Central Otago Great Rides - the Queenstown Trail, the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail.
The Budget provides $100 million to help support housing development on surplus Crown land in Auckland. The funding will help in the identification and assessment of land, negotiations and settling the purchase of the land.
The Government intends to release its National Policy Statement on Urban Development soon. This document will direct councils to adjust their plans to allow for more development if necessary.
The Budget also provides $18 million to extend the Warm Up New Zealand (insulation) programme and a further $18 million over four years to expand the Healthy Homes Initiative to reduce preventable illnesses among young children.
A new fund of $10 million per year over 10 years will support ongoing initiatives to clean up New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and aquifers. This Freshwater Improvement Fund is part of the Government’s previous funding to provide regional councils and their project partners with financial assistance to remediate water bodies of national significance. From 2011 to 2014, the previous Clean-up Fund allocated $14.5 million to seven projects.
Civil Defense Capability
Budget 2016 provides an extra $1.5 million per year of operating funding over the next four years and $63,000 of new capital funding for the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. The Ministry currently has 42 staff and overall baseline funding of around $11 million per annum. The investment is expected to enable the Ministry to increase its staff to around 52.
Since 2014 the Ministry has been a business unit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Cybercrime cost New Zealand’s economy $257 million last year and affected more than 856,000 New Zealanders.
The Budget allocates $20 million over four years for the establishment of a new national Computer Emergency Response Team. The team will combat cyber-attacks and cybercrime to “help to protect critical infrastructure and the digital economy, and ensure New Zealanders can be secure, resilient and prosperous online”.
The team will work closely with their international counterparts to prevent and respond to cybersecurity incidents, and address cybercrime. The team will initially be part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
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