23 August 2016

Policy Update – 23 August 2016

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

Minister Louise Upston reflects on women’s under-represented in science, technology and engineering

Last week IPENZ hosted the 2016 meeting of the INWES Asia Pacific Nation Network meeting. The meeting brought together women engineers and scientists to discuss gender diversity in STEM. Minister for Women Louise Upston gave a welcome speech at the meeting. In her associated media release she noted “although women are participating in the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, they remain under-represented in science, technology and engineering”. The media noted that STEM subjects are increasingly important for growing and sustaining New Zealand’s economic competitiveness and that “by matching skills with opportunity women can achieve greater economic independence, which is better for their families, their communities and for New Zealand.”

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Government initiated inquiry into Havelock North water

On Thursday 18 August Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced there will be a Government initiated independent Inquiry into the Havelock North water contamination issue. In his media release the Minister notes that “The situation in Havelock North is concerning. It is important that the public has confidence in their water supply,” says Dr Coleman.

The Inquiry will be undertaken under the Inquiries Act 2013. This will ensure that it follows a clear statutory process and will have a range of powers such as the ability to call witnesses. According to the Minister “The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are still to be confirmed. The Inquiry will look at the events surrounding the outbreak and the response, as well as consider any wider systemic issues,” says Dr Coleman.

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Auckland Plan notified

Auckland Council notified its new Unitary Plan on Friday 19 August. In a media release following the notification the Environment Minister Nick Smith noted “This new plan is vital to the future of Auckland and New Zealand. The confused muddle of outdated plans from the city’s eight former councils has held back housing, business and infrastructure development. Auckland now has, for the first time, one set of development rules covering land, water, air and the marine environment. It is a crucial step in the Government’s plan for a single, unified council for Auckland.”

Further, he suggests “This plan is the most important component in increasing Auckland’s housing supply. The old planning rules outside of Special Housing Areas (SHAs) provide for only 7000 new homes, reflecting the dysfunction of Auckland’s previous councils in not being able to resolve whether the city grew up or out. The draft plan provided for 230,000 additional homes. This new, final plan enables Auckland to grow both up and out and will accommodate the extra 400,000 homes Auckland needs for the future”.

“The plan will still require some tweaking and amendment as it is applied across Auckland. We also need to ensure a smooth transition from the SHAs to the new Unitary Plan. The Government will be working with the council on the implementation of the plan to ensure it works for Auckland, particularly in key areas such as housing and infrastructure.”

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Super-fast internet puts New Zealand on par with world

Three Local Fibre Companies are to offer a 1 Gigabit product for residential on the Ultra-Fast Broadband network. According to a media release from Communications Minister Amy Adams “The 1Gbps speeds puts us on par with many leading markets, including South Korea, Japan, Singapore and parts of the United States. This means our exporters can compete in the global digital economy, creating jobs and higher wages.”

The benefits of the high-speed internet service of 1Gbps include the ability to instantly access online movies, music and games; to connect to the cloud and high-definition videoconferencing services and to download 25 songs in a second, a TV show in four seconds or any high-definition movie within 34 seconds.

The 1Gbps service will be available in Whangarei, Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Tokoroa, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hawera, Whanganui, Christchurch (including Rolleston, Lincoln and other satellite towns), Rangiora, and Dunedin.

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