Nikki's News: September 2015

Published: Fri 18 Sep 2015 10:47 AM
Nikki's News: September 2015
Hon Nikki Kaye MP for Auckland Central
As the MP for Auckland Central I have committed to delivering 23 projects for our local communities, including Great Barrier and Waiheke Islands.
I have sent an update to all homes in Auckland Central outlining my progress in these key areas.
We have invested in local schools, including the opening of the $12 million development at Bayfield School and the confirmation of the $13 million development of Freemans Bay School (due to be completed in 2017).
I have also been working with Auckland Transport to improve inner-city parking, which is a pressure point for both residents and workers.
Last year I proposed the Aotea Conservation Park on Great Barrier Island, which was opened in April. I'm also working to ensure delivery of the upgraded Aotea Track, with track renovations due to begin this spring, and be completed by autumn next year.
On Waiheke Island, the moratorium for new ferry services entering the SuperGold Card scheme has been lifted. I am working with operators around the tender process that will be set up around the Waiheke Island service.
I have also been working to ensure greater marine protection for the Hauraki Gulf – an area very close to my heart – and the Government has committed to establishing the Hauraki Recreational Fishing Park which will extend across the inner Hauraki Gulf.
These are just some of the projects I am working on. You can read a full list of the promises here.
Aucklanders getting faster, better healthcare
People in Auckland are getting faster, improved healthcare according to the latest Health Target results.
95 per cent of emergency department patients in the Auckland District Health Board (DHB) were admitted, discharged or transferred within six hours.
This is a great result during the challenging winter months and reflects the hard work being done by ED staff.
Our children are also receiving better healthcare. 98.2 per cent of all under-sixes have access to free GP visits, and so far 93.4 per cent of GP surgeries in Auckland DHB are offering free visits to under-13 year olds.
More Aucklanders are also getting elective surgery. Last year 13,902 people received elective surgery, compared to 9,114 in 2007/2008. That’s a 53 per cent increase.
National is supporting health to the tune of $15.9 billion, with an extra $242 million invested in the Auckland DHB since 2008, which is benefiting our local community.
Connecting with Ngāti Rehua
I recently visited Great Barrier Island with Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Hon Chris Finlayson.
We spent a day with Ngāti Rehua, and local Board and Council representatives, visiting a number of significant sites on the island.
We travelled from Claris, to Kaitoke, to Medlands, to Tryphena, and to Cape Barrier. Since I have been the local MP for Great Barrier Island I have learned a lot more about the history of local iwi and the places of significance and taonga.
I value the relationship I have Ngāti Rehua and will continue to work with local iwi. I am hopeful for a successful settlement in the future for local Iwi and Islanders.
Extending a helping hand to some of the world’s most vulnerable people
Like most New Zealanders, the Government is very concerned at the humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Syria and Europe, a crisis that has visibly worsened in recent times.
Over the next two-and-a-half years we will settle 750 Syrian refugees in New Zealand, including 600 people through an emergency intake above our annual refugee quota of 750. The remaining places will be offered within the usual quota.
We’ll take 100 of those Syrian refugees in this financial year, and a further 500 over the next two financial years.
It’s important the Government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Europe is appropriate and that we continue to provide a high level of services to refugees once they get here. We want to ensure they are supported to settle into their new home and New Zealand’s way of life.
Over 120 Syrians have already been settled in New Zealand since 2011. Once here, refugees complete an orientation programme, focusing on English language skills and information needed to help people settle in New Zealand, including law and customs, and shopping and cooking. Further support is offered through Work and Income to help new arrivals find employment and help them as they start their new lives here.
One of the most effective ways we can help address this humanitarian crisis is by ensuring there are facilities to cater for refugees in countries neighbouring Syria. To this end the Government has provided a further $4.5 million to help refugees who have been displaced by fighting in Syria, bringing New Zealand’s total humanitarian contribution to the refugee crisis to $20 million.
This funding will help refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan through partnerships with host Governments, UN agencies, and New Zealand Non-government Organisations. New Zealand’s humanitarian support in the region has helped build schools in refugee camps in Turkey, deliver basic education and skills training in Jordan, provide health and education support to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and fund the work of the Red Cross in Syria.
New Zealand has a longstanding commitment to meet the needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. More than 33,000 refugees have come here since 1944 and National is as committed as ever to improving the outcomes for the refugees we take each year.
More homes set to be built in Ponsonby
A Special Housing Area in Ponsonby will provide up to 48 new homes in College Hill.
This is a busy and popular part of Ponsonby. This new Special Housing Area covers an area of 0.24 hectares, and will provide more housing options in what is a popular part of Auckland city.
The developers have advised the proposed residential development will consist of apartment-style dwellings, including a combination of two-bedroom units and larger three-bedroom units. The developers intend to have it ready by late 2017.
There are now a total of 97 Special Housing Areas established in Auckland, with a potential yield of 47,000 new homes, under the Auckland Housing Accord.
This announcement is another step in the cooperation between the Government and Auckland Council to improve housing supply in Auckland.
Housing Accords are part of the Government’s wider programme to improve housing supply and affordability.
The package includes help for first home buyers, measures to constrain building material costs, rein in development contributions, cut compliance costs and invest in improved productivity in the construction sector. New tax measures come into effect in October to ensure people who invest in housing pay their fair share of tax.
Great Barrier Island Wharf-to-Wharf Marathon
Early next month I will be putting my running shoes on again to tackle what is one of the toughest, but most beautiful, marathons in New Zealand.
It won’t be the first time I’ve run the course, but I don’t think it will be any easier. The course is half-track and half-road and covers rugged bush, and some of the most beautiful native bush in New Zealand.
Serious athletes as well as families take part, and many locals encourage runners along the way - they give out everything from water, to oranges, to cheers of support.
Great Barrier Island is also hosting a number of other events, including the Love Birds weekend, which runs from 30th of October to 1st of November.
It’s going to be a must-do for nature lovers, and anyone who wants to discover some of the island’s hidden gems.
You can find out more information here.

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