13 July 2016

Policy Update – 13 July 2016

Our fortnightly policy updates keep you up-to-date with the industry.

New Zealand Curriculum to include digital technology

The Minister for Education, Hekia Parata, announced digital technology is to be formally integrated into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. In her 5 July media release the Minister noted that this is the first change to the New Zealand Curriculum since its introduction in 2007.

3D printing helping amputees

The creation of prosthetic limbs is a rapidly evolving field, with the increased availability of 3D printing. A partnership between the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service (NZALS) and the Victoria University School of Design is utilising 3D technology and making the most of the advantages it has over traditional methods. According to the Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner, 3D printing “can be used to print shapes that would be extremely difficult to construct in a conventional manner … 3D printing can also enable the user to change the looks and style of the limb. This might mean an arm decorated with cartoons for a child, or a leg with holes and pockets for carrying a golf ball and tees. The options for this technology are limited only by the imagination”.

$1 billion fund to accelerate housing infrastructure

The speed of housing supply is set to increase with the Prime Minister’s announcement on 3 July of a new $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund. According to Finance Minister Bill English and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith, the contestable fund will be open to applications from councils in the highest growth areas – Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.

The Fund will help bring forward the roading and water infrastructure needed for new housing where financing is a constraint. The Government will pay for the infrastructure, with councils to repay the investment or buy back the assets once housing has been built and development contributions paid.

Minister for Women seeks nominations for National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women

The Minister for Women, Hon Louise Upston, is calling for nominations for the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW). NACEW’s purpose is to provide high quality advice and inform government policy development. It is directly responsible to the Minister for Women.

The Minister is particularly keen to “appoint members who will bring a specific perspective on technology and science, as these will be important for the future of work, and on employment issues for Māori and Pacific women.”

Technology trial to transmit safety messages

Rental car drivers travelling from Christchurch to Queenstown are receiving audio safety measures thanks to a trial being run by NZ Transport Agency, in partnership with HMI Technologies and GO Rentals. Announced by Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss on 2 July – the day the trial started – the trial sees safety messages sent from roadside transmitters, via Bluetooth, to devices fitted in rental vehicles.

It is hoped the trial will improve safety outcomes in remote locations and if successful, could result in a mobile phone application that allows communication with the vehicle’s internal audio system, making the initiative more accessible to all road users. The NZ Transport Agency is also investigating integrating the system more seamlessly with a vehicle’s internal GPS system.

New data for identifying flood risk

New data is now available to engineers, planners and surveyors as they seek to identify flood risk. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has just completed a five-year project to improve New Zealand’s Vertical Datum – a reference for measuring the height of the land and its features. Through this research there’s now consistent data which will improve the accuracy of flood and storm surge modelling, helping make sure New Zealanders are well informed and able to respond appropriately to this natural hazard.

Investing in Māori science and innovation

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell have announced the successful recipients of the 2016 Te Pūnaha Hihiko – Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund investment round.

A total of $3.97 million is to be invested in 33 new programmes over the next two years. These programmes include development of a land use opportunity database and decision support system, enhanced earth science capacity and expertise of Makaawhio, the mana whenua in Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage site and tools to improve management of finfish within Customary Protection Areas (CPAs) in Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

BC Update 188: Ban on installing or repairing foil insulation in residential buildings

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced a ban on retrofitting or repairing foil insultation, under section 26 of the Building Act 2004. In Building Control Update 188, MBIE say “the ban follows strong feedback on the need to eliminate the risks posed by foil insulation products”.

BC Update 190: Clarification on designing firecells for more than 1,000 people

In Building Code Update 190, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment issues clarification on firecell design, saying designers “need to comply with the requirements of Building Code clause C4.4, even though the number of occupants might be different at the time of any evacuation”. The Update outlines further details of clause C4.4.

Practice Advisory 17: Well-planned ground investigations can save costs

A new practice advisory explains the need for early site investigation, as a key element in controlling the costs of a project and delivering good building performance.The advisory describes the aims of site investigation, investment considerations and the site investigation strategy – including extent, depth and inherent uncertainties.

Practice Advisory 18: Fire safety design for tall buildings

MBIE has released a new Practice Advisory outlining best practice in fire safety design for tall buildings. Fire design guidance for the safe use of tall buildings, using reliable and resilient fire design features.It’s important that reliable and resilient fire design features are used in the design of tall buildings. This advisory highlights the specific considerations for designing tall buildings to achieve the fire safety performance requirements of the Building Code.