Out of The Beehive

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee will today travel to Cuba to meet with his counterpart before attending the Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia.

On June 27, Mr Brownlee will visit Cuba to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

“This visit will help to strengthen New Zealand’s interests in the Latin American region, which is home to about 625 million people,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand works with Cuba on a number of important issues, including agriculture, international development, and regional cooperation.

“Both nations provide support to Small Island Developing States in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. Cuba is an important player in the Caribbean and the visit is a valuable opportunity to engage with one of our larger partners in the region,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Brownlee will then attend the Pacific Alliance Summit in Cali, Colombia on June 29 and 30. Trade Minister Todd McClay is also attending.

The Alliance is a regional organisation, established in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. New Zealand has observer nation status with the Pacific Alliance.

“The Alliance is looking to begin trade negotiations with some observer countries as a pathway to offering Associate Membership of the group,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand already has long-standing relationships with the Alliance and each of its constituent nations.

“Pacific Alliance is a growing force for political and economic stability in Latin America, so it’s important for New Zealand to be a voice at the table,” Mr Brownlee says.

| A Beehive release  || June 26,  2017   |||

Published in TRADE
Monday, 26 June 2017 07:34

A skilled workforce for Canterbury

The Government is investing $170,000 in a Canterbury initiative that connects secondary students with businesses who can transition them into further education, employment or training.

The funding will also extend Christchurch’s Educated Job Ready Programme to Timaru.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced the funding in Christchurch today at the launch of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy refresh.

“While Canterbury has New Zealand’s lowest regional unemployment rate, skills shortages pose a significant risk to high-value production across all districts in the region,” Mr Bridges says.

“Canterbury needs to keep its young people and ensure they have the knowledge and skills to get productive work in their region, both now and in the future. The region also needs to retain and retrain older workers and attract more people into the workforce.”

The Ministry of Social Development is working closely with other Canterbury agencies to support regional development and has a particular focus on young people who need additional support to play their part in the future workforce.

“By helping secondary schools and training institutions partner up with businesses we can support more young people into training and employment. This benefits them as well as the wider Canterbury community,” Mrs Tolley says.

“Our aim is to reduce the number of young people in Canterbury who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) so it remains less than the national NEET rate by June 2019.”

Due to the rebuild, Canterbury has a higher proportion of its workforce involved in construction than in New Zealand overall. The regional economic development initiatives will help the regional economy to keep growing after the earthquake recovery ceases to drive economic activity and employment.

| A Beehive release  ||  June 23,  2017   |||

Published in EDUCATION

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has today announced three senior appointments to oversee New Zealand’s involvement in Expo 2020, being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ex-Chairman of Kensington Swan lawyers, Clayton Kimpton, has been appointed as New Zealand’s Commissioner-General to Expo 2020 and prominent business leaders, Dame Julie Christie and Christopher Luxon, have been appointed to a wider steering group.

“Expo 2020 presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses to promote their goods and services into a region that has become one of New Zealand's fastest-growing markets outside China,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The value of our trade with the Gulf States region currently stands at $3.8 billion a year.

“Participating at Expo 2020 gives us a platform to increase this substantially, by positioning New Zealand businesses at the heart of where relationships are made, perceptions are formed and deals get done.

“Bringing Clayton Kimpton, Dame Julie Christie and Christopher Luxon into the fold will bring a wealth of real-world commercial experience.

“This experience will help guide the planning and direction we take with Expo 2020, ensuring decisions are made through a business lens, focused on what New Zealand companies need to maximise the significant economic and entrepreneurial opportunities on offer,” Mr Brownlee says.

| A Beehive release  ||  June 20,  2017   |||

Published in TRADE

China has approved formal access for New Zealand bovine blood products into the Chinese market, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

Access has been approved by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China (AQSIQ) for New Zealand premises to export bovine blood products, such as bovine protein and serum, to China. This follows successful negotiations by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Formal access for New Zealand bovine blood products opens up enormous opportunities for our producers. These products represent a valuable market and we expect our exports will be in significant demand in China,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealand now has market access for both finished and semi-finished products, which will mean exporters can attract a price-premium for these higher-value products. This is likely to be worth at least $50 million per year.

“We have an enviable disease status compared with many countries, which means our bovine blood products are widely sought after by a range of markets across the globe.”

Bovine serum and protein products are used in the animal pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing vaccines, diagnostic kits, laboratory testing media, and a range of specialised products.

New Zealand exported some bovine blood products to China prior to 2015, however formal access has now been negotiated providing more certainty.

Mr Guy made the announcement while visiting Proliant’s cattle blood product manufacturing plant in Feilding today.

Currently 16 premises have been registered by AQSIQ to export bovine blood products to China.

“This new access is a real bonus for the wider meat industry, the regions and our wider economy.”

| A Beehive release  ||  June 22,  2017   |||

Published in TRADE

Millions of waste tyres each year are to be used to manufacture cement as part of a wider Government plan to address the environmental problems of end of life tyres, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced at the Golden Bay Cement works in Whangarei today.

“New Zealand has a long-standing problem, with five million waste tyres generated each year. We have dozens of tyre stockpiles around the country posing a fire risk, leaching contaminants, providing a breeding ground for rodents and insects, and blotting the landscape. This initiative proposes controls on new stockpiles, establishes a nationwide collection and shredding operation and provides a large scale end use by installing technology to enable waste tyres to be used in cement manufacture.

“The proposed National Environmental Standard will prohibit stockpiles of waste tyres of over 200m3 - 2500 car tyres - without a council consent dealing with the environmental issues of leachate, fire risk, vermin and insects, visual amenity and a bond for future disposal. These new restrictions are needed to protect the environment, prevent ratepayers having to pick up the bill of dealing with stockpiles and to help channel waste tyres into more sustainable recycling and disposal options.

“The Government has provided a grant of $3.8 million for Waste Management New Zealand to set up a nationwide tyre collection network and tyre shredding facilities in Auckland and Christchurch involving capital investment of $6.4 million. This is needed because the major barrier to re-use of waste tyres is their bulk, making transport and disposal uneconomic. The shredding machinery will be imported this year, operational in Auckland by the end of 2017 and in Christchurch in 2018.

“Golden Bay Cement, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, is being provided with a grant of $13.6 million towards the $18.1 million cost of new equipment that will dispose of 3.1 million shredded tyres per year. This technology is globally one of the most common and economically viable solutions to waste tyres. The high temperature incineration minimises pollutants, the steel in the tyres contributes to the iron requirements of cement and the rubber provides a fuel substitute for coal. The major environmental gain from this initiative is a solution for millions of waste tyres but there is also a benefit in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Golden Bay Cement is New Zealand’s fifth largest emitter and the substitution of rubber biofuel for coal reduces emissions by 13,000 tonnes per year, or the equivalent of 6000 cars.

“We are also providing grants of $1.2 million to another seven smaller tyre waste projects. Eco Rubber Industries Ltd is being provided with a grant of $600,000 towards $2.4 million of machinery to produce rubber granules for rubber underlay, with a capacity for 600,000 tyres per year. Nufuels Ltd is being provided a $90,000 grant for a $135,000 pilot pyrolysis plant for 150,000 tyres per year. Other grants to Scion and Fulton Hogan cover feasibility studies into using recycled rubber for sound proof building products, roading and cycleway construction that could develop into future end uses for New Zealand’s waste tyres.

“These Government grants of $19 million will enable $28 million of investment into tyre waste solutions. Combined with the new regulations restricting stockpiling, these measures will go a huge way towards a sustainable solution to New Zealand’s end of life tyre problem.”

More information on these of funded projects can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund-funded-projects

|  A Beehive release  ||   June 22,  2017   |||

Published in ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 07:45

$6m for more youth enterprise initiatives

Youth Minister Nikki Kaye tonight announced details of the $6 million investment over four years under Budget 2017 to fund more youth enterprise initiatives.

Ms Kaye made the announcement at Victoria University’s Rutherford Building in Wellington, where eight teams of young people had gathered to take part in the Greater Wellington Region finals of a ‘Dragons' Den’ competition, pitching their ideas for innovative companies to a panel of local business leaders for a share of $5000 of prize money.

“Youth enterprise funding is about supporting young people to develop entrepreneurial skills through a range of youth-focused business and enterprise initiatives,” says Ms Kaye.

“It was great to announce details of the funding at an event where the ingenuity and business acumen of young people was on show for all to see.

“In a rapidly changing global economy, young people with entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and aptitude are more likely to succeed in all areas of life, so this is about inspiring our next generation of potential leaders and innovators.”

The funding announced as part of Budget 2017 will include the following investments:

  • Around $1.2 million in the contestable Youth Enterprise Opportunities for Young People Fund, to directly support young people who have a new or innovative enterprise idea or project, to enable them to develop and execute their project
  • Around $1.6 million for a targeted fund to support organisations with a track record increasing enterprise learning in a school environment, and/or supporting the establishment of enterprise start-ups involving young people
  • Around $1.2 million in the contestable Youth Enterprise Fund, to support organisations which are working with young people to help them develop entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and financial competencies
  • Around $2 million in the Partnership Fund, which was set up in 2016 and involves the Government and business, philanthropic and iwi partners working together to grow youth development opportunities – this $2 million investment will support partnerships aimed specifically at generating enterprise opportunities, which enable young people to develop entrepreneurial skills and/or innovative products or businesses.

“Young Kiwi entrepreneurs are already developing new and exciting businesses that are succeeding here in New Zealand and overseas, some already worth millions of dollars,” says Ms Kaye.

“This funding is about inspiring and supporting more of our young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to take their innovative ideas to the next stage and turn them into reality.

“Through the initiatives the funding will support, young people will develop a range of transferable skills such as problem solving, communication, decision making, team work, financial acumen and leadership.

“I expect around 5,000 new opportunities will be created through this funding.

“The next big company to make waves on the international stage could be born out of one of the initiatives that will be supported, just as it could emerge from the young finalists gathered in Wellington tonight.”

| A Beehive release  ||  June 20,  2017   |||

Published in PRODUCTIVITY
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 07:49

NZ support for energy upgrade in Tonga

Prime Minister Bill English has announced funding to kickstart a major upgrade of the electricity network in the Tongan capital.

New Zealand’s early commitment is expected to assist Tonga to attract other investors for the project.

“Our $5 million support will help provide safe, reliable electricity to around 8,500 households and businesses in Nuku’alofa and save around $1.1 million a year through reduced line losses,” Mr English says.

“This builds on New Zealand’s previous energy investments in Tonga, which include Tonga’s first large-scale solar farm in 2012, and other significant network upgrades.

“Access to clean, reliable energy is essential for businesses to thrive and to reduce reliance on fossil fuels used by diesel generators.

“We recognise this, and we are working with Tonga to help it achieve its energy goals.”

The Prime Minister made the announcement while in Tonga as part of the 2017 Pacific Mission.

| A Beehive release  ||  June 16,  2017   |||

Published in ENERGY

New Zealanders will get access to more ‘open data’, with $7.2 million earmarked for the next three years to speed its release, Statistics Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“Open data helps businesses, councils, community and charitable groups as well as other data users make faster, better-informed decisions and help solve complex problems. High quality data makes it easier for businesses to innovate and grow,” Mr Simpson says.

“Open data is good for an open democracy. More open data will also help everyone see how their tax dollars are being spent and how effective that spending is.

“The Government is committed to making sure the data we collect is increasingly freely available in easy to use formats. This will help any business, not-for-profit group or individual who wants to use it. Open data is de-identified and does not include personal information such as names or addresses.

‘Examples of how government data is being used more widely include Homes.co.nz online tool to help homeowners search for free property data and global mapping company, HERE Maps, helping to launch self-driving cars around the world.

“Working towards an ‘open by default’ approach in government requires a significant culture change and we continue to invest resources into new ways of working with data.”

New Zealand is one of the early adopters of open data and currently ranks 7th in the world out of 115 countries in the Open Data Barometer.

Open data can also be used to improve how we access healthcare services, discover cures for diseases more efficiently, understand our government better, and help us travel to places more easily. It is crucial to help New Zealand meet its Business Growth Agenda objectives by 2025 and its commitments under the Open Government Partnership. Opening up government data and helping others to use it means a much greater return-on-investment for the data the government collects.

|  A Beehive release  ||  June  19,  2017   |||

Published in TECHNOLOGY
Monday, 19 June 2017 07:53

McClay says United States open to FTA

Trade Minister Todd McClay says his visit to Washington for high-level trade talks with the Trump Administration has been a success and that the U.S. has indicated it is open to a free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand when the time is right.

Mr McClay met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, newly appointed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Congressman David Reichert, Special Advisors to the President and members of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Mr McClay says Secretary Ross has indicated that he is open to a trade deal with New Zealand and did not see any major issues, as our relationship was in good shape.

"It's clear the U.S. will take time considering its trade strategy. They're likely to have a considerable workload over next couple of years with NAFTA renegotiations and some big bilateral deals to do. However, I've welcomed their interest in an FTA as a demonstration of the good shape our trading relationship is in," Mr McClay says.

"Trade Agenda 2030 sets an ambitious target of 90 per cent of our goods trade being covered by FTAs by 2030. The U.S. will be an important part of achieving this goal and my discussions this week in Washington are encouraging."

USTR Robert Lighthizer also told Mr McClay he was keen to work with New Zealand on international trade policy issues.

"This was my 3rd meeting with Ambassador Lighthizer since his confirmation just over a month ago. I have a great deal of respect for Robert and believe that New Zealand will be able to work closely with him on trade."

Mr McClay says there is significant interest in New Zealand's approach to trade policy. Congressman Reichert and members of the U.S. business community said they had admiration for how we had opened our markets and made the most of the opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

"They recognise we are number one in ‘ease of doing business' and were impressed with the strong performance of our economy,” Mr McClay says

Mr McClay says there is considerable scope to grow trade and investment with the U.S.

"Two-way trade with the U.S. reached $16 billion in 2016. This is an incredibly wealthy market with huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses. Trade Agenda 2030 means the Government will increase efforts to help New Zealanders do more in countries like the U.S.," Mr McClay says.

|  A Beehive release  ||  June 19,  2017   |||

Published in TRADE

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has today launched a new guide for potential investors highlighting opportunities in the Māori economy.

Speaking at the He kai kei aku ringa – E RERE Māori economy conference in Rotorua, Mr Bridges told the audience that Māori have huge potential to lift the New Zealand economy.

“Māori are a young and growing population who will form a large part of our future workforce. Māori control over $15 billion in assets, with significant land holdings, and are diversifying in to other high value sectors,” Mr Bridges says.

“Investors are interested in partnering with Māori, and global consumers are interested in their intergenerational outlook and underpinning cultural values of taking care of people, building strong relationships, and looking after the environment.

“The Māori Economy Investor Guide will help investors understand the Māori economy, culture and people. It offers insights as to how and where potential investors can engage with Māori enterprises, embrace the distinctive global advantages of the Māori economy, and forge strong partnerships for the future.”

Produced by KPMG, the Māori Economy Investor Guide was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of their commitment to He kai kei aku ringa – the Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership.

The Guide can be found at www.mbie.govt.nz. Further information about investing with Māori can be found at www.nzte.govt.nz.

| A Beehive release   ||  June 16,  2017   |||

Published in POLITICAL
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