Government expands national parks

Under National, the Mount Aspiring, Paparoa, and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks have been expanded by 1,250 hectares – providing protection to these rich forests and pristine river flats.

The areas were previously privately-owned but were strategically acquired by the Government’s Nature Heritage Fund because of their high conservation values.

New Zealand has an outstanding network of national parks, and these latest additions ensure these areas are conserved for their wildlife value and native flora and fauna.

National’s “Bluegreen” approach to conservation is about preserving and protecting our resources now, and for future generations. We enjoy some of the most pristine and accessible natural beauty in the world and National is working hard to protect it.

For more information, click here.


Getting record numbers of Kiwis the surgery they need, sooner

Elective surgery makes a real difference to patients and their families – it reduces pain, restores independence, and improves quality of life.

Improving access to hip, knee, and other elective surgery is a priority for National.  Latest Ministry of Health data shows over 162,000 elective operations were performed last financial year – 44,000 more operations than six years ago.

We’re making each dollar go further – over the past five years record numbers of New Zealanders have received the operations they need, faster than ever before.

Protecting and growing the public health service for Kiwi families is part of our priority to deliver better public services. The National-led Government has provided not only record funding, but record results. This is what careful financial management can deliver to Kiwi families.

For more information, click here.

Teens helped into more productive lives

Going on a benefit as a teenager puts you at high risk of long-term welfare dependency. National is not prepared to let this be the future of our next generation.

The extra support young beneficiaries are getting to turn their lives around is already making a difference, so we’re extending it to all young people under 20 who need it.

They will be linked up with a capable adult from a community-based organisation to get practical guidance on managing their money and getting into education, training, or employment.

Helping set young people up for fulfilled and aspirational lives is all part of delivering better public services and building a more productive and competitive economy.

For more information, click here.

$20m funding boost for hospices

Last year more than 15,000 people received care and support from hospice services throughout New Zealand, and hospice staff made over 145,000 visits to people in their homes.

National will invest an extra $20 million a year to help the country’s 29 hospices expand their community care services into better supporting terminally ill people at home and in aged care facilities; and to create 60 new palliative care nurse specialist and educator roles. These nurses will provide training, mentoring, and hands on support for staff.

Hospices make a huge difference to people’s lives by ensuring terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible. Supporting the good work they do is a key part of our plan to deliver better care for Kiwis.

For more information, clikc here.

Keeping our children safe

To help keep Kiwi children safe, National will introduce New Zealand’s first sex offender register – the Child Protection Offender Register.

Currently, once offenders have served their sentence they can disappear back into communities.  We want to change that.

The register will enable agencies to keep track of them and gather information on any change in their circumstances which may increase their risk of reoffending.  Police and Corrections could then take preventative action.

Only authorised Police and Corrections staff will administer the register and have unrestricted access to the information.  Some other agencies will be able to share information in the interest of public safety, and in cases where this is a significant threat to the safety of children, information may be released to someone such as a partner of an offender.

For more information, click here.

New growth grants to boost R&D in NZ

High-tech companies across New Zealand are getting research and development (R&D) growth grants expected to be worth more than $41 million over three years.

The grants, designed to encourage more R&D by businesses in New Zealand, have been approved by Callaghan Innovation for 23 high-tech companies.

These 23 innovative companies are producing world-leading, high-value products, and high-quality jobs for New Zealanders. They are all proven businesses that have committed to investing in R&D in this country.  We are supporting companies like these as they are a key part of building a more competitive and productive economy – one of National’s priorities.

They are involved in a wide range of products, from accounting software and robotic walking devices to high-tech trampolines. In total, 88 companies have now been approved for R&D growth grants worth about $262 million.

For more information, click here.

Convention Centre developer and operator revealed

The start of August saw the announcement of the developers and operators for Christchurch’s new Convention Centre Precinct. It’s great to see Plenary Conventions New Zealand announced as the preferred developer for this large project, and Accor hotels announced as the preferred operator.

The next step is to begin the planning and development phase of the $284 million Convention Centre. The project will see a vibrant, world-class Convention Centre Precinct that attracts conference and convention visitors from all over the world, and delivers significant economic benefits for the Canterbury region.

The Christchurch rebuild is one of National’s four main priorities. The project remains on track for construction to begin in 2015, and for the centre to be open for business in 2017.

More information can be found here.