New Zealand Labour Party

Week That Was: Business, Bicycles, and backing our film industry!

Our Week That Was series gives you a round-up of all the achievements, announcements, and other political goings-on around Parliament and across the country over the past week. We're proud of all we're doing to make New Zealand a great place to live - and we want to share it with you!

This week we announced who will be sitting on the Business Advisory Council. A group of six women and seven men will make up the group, who will advise the Government on how to build a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy that improves the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

We know that New Zealand needs a modern economy that shares in prosperity and opportunity in a sustainable way - and to do that we need to work closely with business leaders, share ideas and consider solutions to overcoming barriers together.

The Business Advisory Council is a major step for the relationship between business and government, with members gathering advice from their peers in the domestic and international business community on some of the most important issues facing New Zealand, including how we best grow and share our prosperity, support regional development, and transition to a clean, green New Zealand.

Christopher Luxon, chief executive of Air New Zealand, will chair the council.

Read more about the Council, including who has been named as members, here.

Our Minister of Tourism Hon Kelvin Davis announced a new 15 kilometre extension to the Great Lake Trail this week. The extension will improve safety for cyclists and help promote Taupō as a cycling destination. 

Supporting thriving and sustainable regions is a priority for this Government. "It’s estimated almost 18,000 riders will use the new track in the first year alone, bringing in an additional $1 million in visitor spending to the region,” Davis said.

Queenstown is all set to get its first designated air ambulance as of this week!

We’re putting an extra $83 million into our air ambulances over the next four years. That’s a big investment – but with an average age of our helicopter fleet now at 29 years we couldn’t afford to wait any longer.

When the new contract begins on November 1, Queenstown will have fully dedicated cover for the first time and a larger helicopter with better technical specifications to replace its smaller, older one as will Greymouth.

Current on-call service from Te Anau will continue - news that will be undoubtedly welcomed by people in the south west of the South Island. 

Our current air ambulance services have done a great job over the years. This new arrangement will help them build on their existing strengths and strong community relationships.

We're funding a much-needed upgrade for North Shore and Whangarei Hospitals, we announced this week.

The investment includes 120 additional elective surgery beds and four new operating theatres for North Shore Hospital, and new endoscopy and cardiac care facilities for Whangarei Hospital. 

This investment will make a real difference to staff working at the frontline after years of underfunding of facilities in the northern region, and will ensure the people of Auckland and Northland receive the high quality hospital care they deserve.

Our Department of Conservation announced this week that we're closing 21 tracks in an effort to protect our kauri from dieback disease. As there is currently no proven cure for kauri dieback, the best way to protect our kauri is to slow and stop the disease from spreading. 

DOC is closing or partially closing tracks in Kaitaia, the Kauri Coast, Whangarei, on Aotea/Great Barrier Island, in Hauraki, Waikato, and Tauranga. The track closures are permanent and will be monitored.

We appreciate some people may be disappointed by the closure of a favourite track but we strongly encourage everyone do the right thing and respect the track closures to reduce the risk to kauri forests.

The Film Industry Working Group has reported back this week, unanimously recommending arrangements that they feel will be suitable for the screen sector and those who work in it. One such recommendation was restoring collective bargaining rights to film production workers.

The Government will now consider and respond to the recommendations. Any necessary law changes would be introduced next year.

It's your last chance to have your say about changes to the Reform of the Residential Tenancy Act, which informs the legal relationship between landlords and tenants. Follow this link to submit your thoughts before the Sunday deadline.

That's it for this week! Tune in next week to keep up-to-date on all the latest buzz around the Beehive and everything else happening around the country.