16 November 2016

Policy Update – 16 November 2016

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

New Speed Management Guide flags possibility of 110km/h speed limit on some roads

The Ministry of Transport has released a new Speed Management Guide to help councils, the New Zealand Transport Agency and other road controlling authorities decide where and when to make safety improvements or changes to speed limits.

In a media release Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss noted “New Zealand roads are unique and conditions vary from towns to cities, north to south. The Guide strongly encourages community involvement as local knowledge and perspectives, backed by the information and data provided in the Guide, will help ensure the best possible safety results”..

“Changes made under the Guide may include altering road design, lowering speed limits, or in certain circumstances, raising them. To be eligible for a 110 km/h limit, a road will have to meet very strict conditions, including having a median barrier, at least two lanes in each direction and no direct access to neighbouring properties”, the Associate Minister said.

The Speed Management Guide will replace the speed setting guidance in the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2003. Consultation on the Guide will begin in early 2017.

Find out more here

Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Bill passes

The ability to smoothly transition from response to recover following an emergency has been enhanced by the passing of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Bill, according to Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee. The Amendment Bill enables those carrying out recovery work to have the power to limit access to public spaces and remove or secure dangerous structures, powers that were previously only available under a state of emergency.

“The new law also puts a greater onus on Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups working with the community and planning for the recovery phase before emergencies happen”, according to the Acting Minister.

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Policy agreement reached on Resource Bill

On 9 November Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced an agreement on policy issues in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill has been reached between National and the Māori Party.

The Bill contains a number of significant provisions, including:

  • National planning standards to reduce complexity and cost
  • Streamlined planning process to improve responsiveness
  • Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents
  • Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks
  • New 10-day consent category for minor activities
  • New requirements for council to free up land for housing
  • New provisions to enable stock exclusion from waterways
  • New provisions requiring decommissioning plans for offshore platforms
  • More generous compensation for land required for public works
  • Better alignment with other Acts like Reserves, Conservation and EEZ
  • Collaborative planning process to encourage community-led solutions
  • Improved Maori participation arrangements

The Bill had stalled as the Government had not been able to secure sufficient Parliamentary support. The Māori Party now support the Bill after Mana Whakahono ā Rohe/Iwi Participation Arrangement was included in the Bill. “This will enable iwi and councils to enter into agreements on how iwi can be involved in resource management processes so as to ensure their perspective is heard and understood”, according to the Minister.

The Bill is now back before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to be progressed.

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Rutherford Discovery Fellowships announced

On 11 November Science and Innovation Minister announced those who would receive this year’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowships. The Fellowships aim to attract, retain and grow New Zealand’s talent by helping promising researchers establish a track record for future research leadership.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Dr Baptiste Auguie, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Light and chirality at the nanoscale.
  • Dr Federico Baltar, University of Otago, for research entitled: What makes ‘normal’ normal? Alternative microbial carbon and energy acquisition mechanisms in the neglected high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the ocean.
  • Dr Adam Hartland, University of Waikato, for research entitled: Unlocking the karst record: quantitative proxies of past climates from speleothems.
  • Dr Huw Horgan, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Accelerating Ice – The Role of Water in the Flow of Ice Sheets.
  • Dr Yoshihiro Kaneko, GNS Science, for research entitled: Structural controls on earthquake behaviour in the Hikurangi subduction mega-thrust.
  • Dr Jenny Malmstrom, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Signals to cells when and where they are needed.
  • Dr Duncan McMillan, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: Biomembrane nanotechnologies for exploring pathogen respiratory adaptation to identify and develop novel antibiotics.
  • Dr Jeremy Owen, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Harnessing the biosynthetic potential of uncultivated microbes for the discovery of new antibiotics.
  • Dr Nicole Roughan, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Jurisprudence without Borders: A Pluralist Theory of Law.
  • Dr Virginia Toy, University of Otago, for research entitled: "Weaving the Earth's Weak Seams: Manifestations and mechanical consequences of rock fabric evolution in active faults and shear zones.

Find out more here