07 September 2016

Policy Update – 8 September 2016

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

Government encouraging uptake of electric vehicles

According to a media release from Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges, the Government is seeking to increase the uptake of electric vehicles by including more electric vehicles in All-of-Government Vehicles contract.

All-of-Government contracts harness the collective purchasing power of government by establishing single supply agreements for selected common goods and services for Government agencies. All-of-Government contracts account for around two per cent of government spend with third party suppliers and are designed to improve engagement with suppliers. 

This procurement initiative is part of a programme to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand to reach 64,000 vehicles by 2021. Three models of electric vehicles are currently available through All-of-Government contracts: the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, BMW i3 BEV (3 variants) and the BMW xe PHEV.

EECA funding focus to move beyond electricity

Levy funding of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) is to change to enable it to increase its focus on improving New Zealand’s energy productivity and reducing emissions, according to a media release from Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.

Currently, the levy is collected from the electricity industry and can only be used to fund electricity efficiency initiatives. Under the proposed changes, EECA will be able to access funding through the Petroleum and Engine Fuels Monitoring Levy and the Gas Levy to use on initiatives it conducts in the transport and industrial sectors.

“The transport and industrial sectors are areas where the most impact can be made on improving New Zealand’s energy productivity and reducing emissions”, the Minister says.

The levy change will be part of a Bill which is expected to be introduced to Parliament later this year. It is intended that the levy change will take effect from mid-2017.

The Government is also in the process of refreshing the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2011-16 which drives EECA’s work programme to better reflect our changing energy context.

First Safer Roads project complete

The first of a series of nationwide safety projects that make up a $600 million plan to reduce New Zealand’s road toll is complete, according to a media release from Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Targeted safety improvements designed to reduce the risk of crashes have been installed on a high risk part State Highway 37 in the Waitomo District. According to the Minister the changes include side barriers to stop drivers running off the road, improved signage and road markings and widening of some sections of the road.

The Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme will see safety improvements made to approximately 90 high-risk sites on rural State Highways in 14 regions across New Zealand. Up to $100 million will be invested annually in the programme over six years.


150 year anniversary of the Cook Strait Cable

On 26 August the Communications Minister acknowledged the 150 anniversary of the completion of the Cook Strait Telegraph Cable. According to the Minister’s media release, the connection of the cable was “a momentous achievement for its time. The successful connection came on the third attempt at laying the cable, and followed a near disaster when the first cable snapped - almost destroying the ship Weymouth in the process”.

This first Cook Strait cable remained in service for 41 years. A second Cook Strait cable was laid in 1890 and the first international cable, running between Sydney and Cable Bay in Nelson, was completed in 1876.

Today’s under-sea telecommunication cables carry signals at speeds measured in terabits per second (Tbps). One Tbps is equivalent to sending 25 high definition movies every second, and the Cook Strait Cable speeds today are around 2.7Tbps.