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Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has congratulated the Pacific recipients of appointments and awards in the New Year 2016 Honours.

Among those who have been recognised are former All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Ma’a Nonu, both made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“These men are positive role models for young Pacific people and for our wider community,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
  • Pacific Peoples

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata have congratulated the twelve New Zealanders who are recipients of New Year’s Honours for their services to education.

“I’d like to congratulate the 2016 recipients for the valuable contribution they’ve made to education in New Zealand and internationally,” Mr Joyce says. “It’s great to see some of the best being honoured for their services.”

  • Hekia Parata
  • Steven Joyce
  • Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
  • Education

Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee says the decision by the Anglican Church to progress investigations into reinstating the ChristChurch Cathedral will be greatly appreciated by the wider community.

The Church Property Trust, which owns the Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square, has received an independent report from a Government-appointed consultant, who has reviewed the engineering options for the iconic city building.

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee says formalising the East and North Frame development agreement between the Crown and Fletcher Residential enables the large residential build to get underway in central Christchurch.

The agreement means Fletcher Residential’s work programme will begin by October next year with the first area of new homes being built on the corner of Latimer Square and Hereford Street, comprising an area of almost 3000 sq metres.

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is encouraging road users to do the right thing and travel safely over the summer holidays.

“The Kiwi road trip, a great holiday tradition, often involves travelling long distances on unfamiliar roads. Anyone getting behind the wheel can help keep themselves, their loved ones and other road users safe by following the rules and applying common sense,” Mr Foss says.

Do the right thing:

  • Craig Foss
  • Transport

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is urging Kiwis to stay safe on the water this festive season.

“Heading to the beach, river or lake is all part of a Kiwi summer and great fun for the whole family, but it’s important to remember that keeping yourself and your loved ones safe requires a little preparation,” Mr Foss says.

Skippers, every time you take a boat out:

  • Craig Foss
  • Transport

Action is being taken by the Government to achieve further reductions in Campylobacter levels in chicken, says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.

“Stage one of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Campylobacter Strategy has seen a 57% decrease in notified cases of Campylobacter-related foodborne illness in New Zealand since 2006,” says Mrs Goodhew.

  • Jo Goodhew
  • Food Safety

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the opening of the Margaret Mahy Family Playground today provides a central location for a summer of family fun in Canterbury.

“The playground has been under construction since April and is now ready for children of all ages,” Mr Brownlee says.

“There are plenty of activities for children and space for their parents to enjoy.

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the National Maternity Monitoring Group (NMMG) 2015 Annual Report shows the quality of maternity services in New Zealand is continuing to improve.

“It’s important that new mothers and babies receive high quality care across New Zealand,” says Dr Coleman.

“The NMMG Annual Report shows there’s a growing momentum within the maternity professions to further develop quality improvement initiatives.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Health

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has today announced the appointment of a high quality design team to work with the Government and Christchurch City Council on developing the city’s new Metro Sports Facility.

“Warren and Mahoney, along with Peddle Thorp Architects and MJMA (MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects), have been chosen to provide architectural design services for this facility, which is going to be a great community asset for Christchurch for generations,” Mr Brownlee says.

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman welcomes new guidance on providing the best possible care for people during the last days of their lives.

“It’s important that New Zealanders have access to quality, personalised and compassionate palliative care,” says Dr Coleman.

“Around 17,000 adults and their families accessed palliative care services this year, and this figure is expected to increase as our population grows.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Health

Trade Minister Todd McClay has today welcomed entry-into-force of the New Zealand-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

“This high quality agreement, negotiated and signed by former Trade Minister Tim Groser, will bring significant commercial benefits to New Zealand exporters,” says Mr McClay.

“From today, current duty-free access to the Korean market is ‘bound in’, and existing tariffs will be eliminated on $793 million, or 48 per cent, of New Zealand exports.

  • Todd McClay
  • Trade

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Fruit in Schools programme will be expanded to include an extra 77 schools, benefiting an additional 13,000 students.

"Healthy eating helps fuel the body and the brain, that’s why the Fruit in Schools programme is so beneficial to students," says Dr Coleman.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Health

Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomes agreement of the WTO Nairobi package reached at the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and says the elimination of export subsidies is significant for New Zealand agriculture exporters.

  • Todd McClay
  • Trade

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has announced two new appointments to the Board of the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency, Te Māngai Pāho.

“I am pleased to appoint Vanessa Clark and Brian Morris, who bring a wealth of experience to the Board,” he says.

Ms Clark has 15 years global experience in the Information and Communication Technology industry, while Mr Morris has been in the publishing industry for 13 years.

Brian Morris is also a fluent Māori speaker and licensed translator.

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • Maori Development

A Ministerial Investigation into the affairs of Te Aupōuri Māori Trust Board has been completed and its findings have been reported to Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

On 17 September 2015, Mr Flavell appointed Grant Taylor, a Partner at Ernst and Young, to conduct an investigation.

Its purpose was to piece together how the Board reached its financial situation.

“The investigation found no evidence of fraud or criminal activity.  I am pleased to hear that this is the case,” he says.

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • Maori Development

A newly completed upgrade of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park’s popular Hooker Valley track makes it easier for visitors to experience the spectacle of New Zealand’s highest mountains, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Ms Barry officially opened the improved track at a ceremony outside Mt Cook Village today.

The $1.7 million project means the track is less prone to flooding, avoids potential avalanche and rockfall areas and is more accessible for walkers.

  • Maggie Barry
  • Conservation

Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and ACC Minister Nikki Kaye welcome Water Safety New Zealand’s campaign launch of ‘Stop and think before you go near the water’, which is supported by ACC.

“On average 103 people die in New Zealand waters each year. Water Safety New Zealand’s campaign reminds people to reflect on whether it really is safe to enter the water,” says Dr Coleman.

  • Nikki Kaye
  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Sport and Recreation
  • ACC

Classes may have stopped but the Government’s investment means lots of building work will be happening in schools over the holidays, with around 100 significant projects of over $3 million each currently on the go, says Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye.

“Christmas and New Year is an important time to undertake redevelopments because it enables the least disruption to students and teachers,” says Ms Kaye.

  • Nikki Kaye
  • Education

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Dr Lester Levy has been appointed chair of the Health Research Council (HRC), replacing outgoing chair Sir Robert Stewart. 

“Congratulations to Dr Lester Levy on his appointment to the HRC board and also as HRC chair,” says Dr Coleman.

“Dr Levy has an extensive health management background and strong health sector governance experience. He is currently the Chair of Waitemata DHB and Auckland DHB, as well as Auckland Transport.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Health

Prime Minister and Acting Foreign Minister John Key has named diplomat Dr Jonathan Austin as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Singapore.

“New Zealand has a strong relationship with Singapore going back to its foundation in 1965, and it is one of our most valued partners in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Key says.

  • John Key
  • Foreign Affairs

Ten young takahē released in the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland are the latest success for the species’ ongoing recovery programme, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“This year has been a very successful one for takahe recovery, with 30 birds set to bolster the wild population in the Murchisons – the only place the species can still be seen in the wild,” Ms Barry says.

Accompanied by Recovery Programme partners Ngāi Tahu and Mitre 10, Ms Barry helped to release the ten young birds yesterday.

  • Maggie Barry
  • Conservation

The Crown has signed a Deed of Settlement with Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa settling the iwi’s historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.

Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa is a northern iwi of approximately 2,500 people whose area of interest lies between the Whangaroa and Mangonui Harbours in the Far North.

  • Christopher Finlayson
  • Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

A new hotel opening in New Plymouth will create 70 jobs and support more tourism growth in the Taranaki region, Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett says.

The Novotel New Plymouth Hobson Hotel opened by Mrs Bennett today is the first 4.5-star modern hotel with a global network to open in New Plymouth City. The hotel has 85 rooms, a restaurant and bar, conference centre and meeting rooms.

“It’s an honour to open this beautiful new hotel and support a city as vibrant and positive as New Plymouth,” Mrs Bennett says.

  • Paula Bennett
  • Tourism