Policy Update – 9 March 2017
Our fortnightly policy updates keep you up-to-date with the industry.
On 28 February Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith announced building owners have 12 months to secure unreinforced masonry facades and parapets of buildings on 38 streets from Hurunui to Wellington.
“The Kaikoura Earthquake has increased the seismic risks in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Blenheim and Hurunui over the next three years. It is therefore prudent to require them to be secured and to help building owners with funding of these high-risk, URM parapets and facades to secure them,” he says. “The 38 streets have been selected by the councils on the basis of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and where the risks from URM parapets and facades are greatest. The next step is for councils to formally notify the building owners affected. Some owners may already have taken corrective work”.
A Government fund will help building owners with the cost of securing the parapets and facades. The fund will provide a 50 per cent subsidy for the work up to a maximum grant of $15,000 for a façade and $10,000 for a parapet.
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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has announced via Building Controls Update No. 210 that from 1 September 2017, manufacturers and retailers must supply notices with pools informing consumers the pool must have barriers that restrict access by young children. The notice requirement will apply to pools that can be filled with water to a depth of 400mm or more.
People must apply for a building consent before installing barriers for residential pools, other than safety covers for small heated pools.
From 1 January 2017, the Building Act 2004 also requires residential pools, other than small heated pools with safety covers, to be inspected every three years to check the barriers.
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The Government has released its Conservation and Environment Science Roadmap which sets out its priorities for the next 20 years. The key research priorities are grouped into eight areas: environmental monitoring, climate change, biosecurity, integrated ecosystems, freshwater, coasts and oceans, species and populations, and social and economic factors.
Priorities for the first five years include:
- New and improved tools for gathering and reporting data on condition and trends for our land, fresh water, air and marine environments.
- Adaptation and mitigation scenarios that test and demonstrate the sensitivity of New Zealand’s environment, economy, and society to climate-related impacts and extreme events
- Technologies and practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Models that improve understanding of how changes to land-based activities that affect greenhouse gas emissions also influence freshwater quality and quantity and biodiversity.
- Improved understanding of how our use of land affects freshwater quality and ecosystems.
- A better understanding of how contaminants, including excess sediment, affect ecosystems, human health, and recreation to inform how we manage urban and rural land and water use.
- Understanding present and future threats to coastal and ocean habitats, including from climate change, and assessing management options.
- How to build social and cultural capital to manage the environment more effectively (including the acceptance of new technologies).
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The International Energy Agency has released its findings from a review of New Zealand’s energy policies. The International Energy Agency is an autonomous body within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and reviews the energy policies of member countries about every five years.
In a media release Energy Minister Judith Collins says “New Zealand is a global leader in the development of electricity markets and we have one of the highest percentages of renewable electricity generation in the world. But like any other country, there are challenges in meeting our future energy and climate commitments. The [International Energy Agency] recommends greater energy efficiency and using our renewable energy advantage in the transport and industrial sectors”.
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