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Politics Today

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Discussions Politics Today Politics Today

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  • #1725122
    paulinem
    Member
    Member since: July 8, 2006
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 1072
    paulinem

    Earthquake-prone buildings changes to help provinces

    The government is set to change the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs), in an effort to balance the impact on provincial and small towns.The Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa announced the change, in Feilding this morning.

    She says the changes will make it easier for owners of such buildings in small towns to undertake modest building work, without having to start seismic strengthening work at the same time.

    Ms Salesa said previously, owners of EPBs were required to strengthen their building when a substantial alteration was undertaken.

    She said the current policy was having a disproportionate impact on provincial and small towns, due to the low value of many buildings in those areas.

    The new regulations will allow modest building work to be done to an EPB, such as altering a kitchen, or fitting the place out for a tenancy, without triggering the requirement to carry out strengthening work immediately.

    #1725126
    paulinem
    Member
    Member since: July 8, 2006
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 1072
    paulinem

    RNZ -Week in Politics: Electric cars and medicinal cannabis

    By Peter Wilson

    The government’s electric vehicle proposals upset farmers, regulations around medicinal cannabis run into controversy and the defence minister ponders the future of NZDF bases.

    Proposals aimed at encouraging people to buy electric cars kicked off the week with Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announcing the “clean car discount”.

    Intended to be in force by 2021, they would mean about $8000 coming off the price of new or near new imported EVs. Fuel efficient petrol cars would also be cheaper to buy while gas-guzzling heavy polluters would cost about $3000 more.

    The scheme is designed to operate through an import fee and Ms Genter said it would make EVs and hybrids “a realistic option”. There are differences of opinion over that and it’s clearly not going to be as simple as she made it sound.

    Federated Farmers immediately saw problems with realistic options. “Unless there’s an electric vehicle that can take a whole lot of fencing equipment, kids, and a whole bunch of supplies and groceries we’re kind of stuck with that double-cab ute,” said the federation’s vice-president Andrew Hoggard. “It looks like we’ve been forgotten again.”

    That sounds like another opportunity for Winston Peters and NZ First to step in and make sure farmers aren’t forgotten. Could a rural exemption be on the cards?

    National’s Paula Bennett said her party wasn’t against incentives to buy EVs but thought the proposals were “really unfair” to low-income families who couldn’t afford them. Even with the discounts, EVs are a costly item.

    Ms Genter countered by saying the second-hand market wouldn’t be affected and that was where most people bought their cars. Eventually, as EV imports increased, they would filter through to the second-hand market and would be more affordable.

    The Motor Industry Association cautiously accepted the proposals and said they would send a clear signal to consumers, but the Imported Vehicle Industry Association didn’t. Chief executive David Vinsen said there was a draconian aspect – the government was attempting to influence what the industry offered to the public.

    The proposals are out for consultation and there’s likely to be a lot of it.

    Immediate controversy over medicinal cannabis products plans

    The Ministry of Health released the regulations around medicinal cannabis products, which have been developed since Parliament passed legislation in December allowing access to the drug. The regulations cover cultivation, licensing, manufacture and supply.

    Controversy quickly emerged over just how accessible the products would be for people wanting them for pain relief.

    Under the regulations, only ministry-approved products could be prescribed by a doctor without a specialist opinion. At present there’s only one such product, called Sativex, which is reported to cost users around $1000 a month.

    Rebecca Reider, a member of the government’s medicinal cannabis advisory group, said it seemed the ministry was actually making it harder for people to get a prescription for the products. “It just doesn’t make sense – medicinal cannabis is safer than most prescription medicines,” she said.

    Drug Foundation director Ross Bell said he would like to see fewer restrictions with GPs trusted to prescribe without a sign off.

    Health Minister David Clark told <i>Morning Report </i>the scheme would benefit thousands of New Zealanders suffering long-term pain and recognised the global shortage of such products.

    Licensing and approving them is expected to bring more onto the market and Mr Clark foresaw a bonanza for New Zealand manufacturers. The worldwide market is expected to grow to $80 billion by 2025, and about half a dozen local companies have emerged over the past year with plans to grow, process and manufacture medicinal cannabis products.

    The scheme is expected to be operational by March 2020. It could be tweaked between now and then.

    Boost for Defence Force’s infrastructure
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced a sweeping review of the NZDF’s bases and a big spend-up on refurbishing run-down buildings and infrastructure. There’s an additional $400 million available and by 2030 total spending will be just over $2b.

    Mr Mark said the 81,000-hectare defence estate was at a crossroads and major bases were threatened by urban sprawl, the urgent need for more housing development land and noise complaints. “Reverse nimbyism” was having a massive impact on the Defence Force’s ability to operate. Whenuapai Air Base in West Auckland and Devonport Naval Base were examples of bases under pressure.

    “We need to be smart with our investment in the estate, it makes sense for us to take stock of what we have and look at what we will need in the year 2070,” he said.

    Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the appointment of retiring Gisborne mayor Meng Foon as the new Race Relations Commissioner – the position has been vacant for more than a year since Dame Susan Devoy left. He has held the mayoral role for 18 years and is fluent in te reo Māori, Cantonese and English. Mr Foon told RNZ he hoped to showcase New Zealand as a great country to live in.

    Mr Little said there were enormous challenges and also tremendous possibilities. He praised Mr Foon’s outstanding record as a relationship builder who walked comfortably in the Pakeha world, the Māori world and the Chinese community.

    The Dominion Post newspaper described him as “the country’s new conscience” and said he seemed perfectly suited to the role. High praise indeed, and a lot to live up to.

    Peter Wilson is a life member of Parliament’s press gallery, 22 years as NZPA’s political editor and seven as parliamentary bureau chief for NZ Newswire.

     

    #1725182
    Hero42
    Member
    Member since: July 18, 2008
    Topics: 51
    Replies: 12143
    Hero42

    Doogie
    You are absolutely correct and I agree with you that rentals play a vital part in housing.

    But I was referring to housing supply as in the current discussion of providing more housing stock for the whole country.

    As we have already agreed rentals do provide houses for people to live in but they don’t improve the stock of houses for people to own as their own and we are talking about housing affordability and building houses.

    Cheers 🙂

    #1725183
    Hero42
    Member
    Member since: July 18, 2008
    Topics: 51
    Replies: 12143
    Hero42

    Huiatahi
    I know but I was hoping Mommabear would be mature about the post and apologise when it was shown to be wrong but as we see from Mommabear’s posts nothing could be further from the truth.

    Cheers 🙂

    #1725188
    Hero42
    Member
    Member since: July 18, 2008
    Topics: 51
    Replies: 12143
    Hero42

    Doogie
    You may want to check about why National didn’t change the Resource Management Act.

    Labour didn’t have the numbers to block the changes and it was National’s coalition partners United Future and the Maori party who blocked the changes because what National were proposing wouldn’t have removed the bottlenecks but the protections that were in the act.

    Cheers 🙂

    #1725224
    halcyon
    Member
    Member since: May 4, 2014
    Topics: 8
    Replies: 4961
    halcyon

    I am pleased that Andrew Little has named Meng Foon as the new Race Relations Commissioner. I think he will be a sound appointment. The previous incumbent made several dubious decisions. It will be interesting how Mr Foon goes. He is well respected by various ethnic groups. That should stand him in geed stead.

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (George Orwell, The Animal Farm)

    #1725245
    doogie
    Member
    Member since: March 27, 2006
    Topics: 8
    Replies: 6407
    doogie

    Hero42,

    You are eager to say rentals don’t add to the housing stock but you are equally as eager to overlook the failings of KiwiBuild that are 1041 homes in shortfall of Labour’s self set target of 1000 by the year ending 31stJjune 2019. The 41 in excess of the 1000 takes into account the  days in July that have seen no further houses completed

    Totals Supplied by Stuff’s KiwiBuild tracker.

     

     

     

    #1725248
    paulinem
    Member
    Member since: July 8, 2006
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 1072
    paulinem
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<header class=”article__header c-story-header”>

With local elections in October  I thought this RNZ article might be of interest

<h1 class=”c-story-header__headline”>Councils lacking knowledge about seismic strength of buildings – SCNZ</h1>

</header>

Local councils are being asked to sign off on major buildings when they have big gaps in what they know about the steel frames and seismic strength.

<p class=”photo-captioned__information”><span class=”credit”>Photo: 123rf</span></p>

That’s according to Steel Construction New Zealand (SCNZ), an industry body that has been briefing councils about the dangers of having an inadequate building consent regime.

SCNZ had been fielding a growing number of calls for help, from engineers and building owners but also from councils, its chairperson Wayne Carson said.

“They are realising now what they need to know – they didn’t know what they didn’t know,” he said.

“I liken this to the leaky building syndrome … councils have certainly realised that there’s great similarities with compliance as there is with leaky buildings.”

Mr Carson, who works for large Auckland fabricator D&H Steel, led recent SCNZ roadshows to councils in Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton, and Christchurch, and all councils south of Dunedin.

“The traditional kind of procurement process meant that councils would, at the end of a project, be delivered a whole lot of documentation to say, ‘here we go, we’re finished’ and then be expected to sign it off.

“And, in some cases, that has been the point where the alarm bells have gone and so they’re – in retrospect – trying to deal with some of these issues.”

Like the councils, many consulting engineers had not known how to ensure there was a system of rigorous checks on whether the raw steel and welding were up to New Zealand standards and seismic standards.

The problems centred on mid-range commercial buildings rather than really major projects, or the likes of the Christchurch rebuild where scrutiny had in general been better.

“There’s been two or three buildings we’re aware of where councils have come for advice, knowing in retrospect that there are some concerns around meeting Building Standards demonstrating compliance.”

The trouble-plagued Alexandra Park Village development at the trotting club in Epsom was one of these, though this was close to being fixed, Mr Carson said.

The Auckland Trotting Club declined to comment.

In Auckland, the council was asking many more questions about steel than it did when it consented the Epsom project.

It has had no choice but to develop more rigourous checks, said Andrew Minturn, the council’s meeting demand programme manager.

“We have some extremely challenging and high-rise buildings and, being new technology, we want to make sure that we have done everything within the regulatory framework that gives us confidence that the steel that is being used – both from a manufactured and from a fabrication perspective – is of a quality that from a New Zealand standard, we would accept in that construction,” Mr Minturn said.

The Auckland Council co-led the SCNZ roadshow, and was sharing its steel compliance checking system with other councils.

One lesson is that independent or third party oversight is crucial.

“We’re not necessarily saying straight away that we don’t agree that the steel being used was inappropriate,” Mr Minturn said.

“What we are doing is we’re satisfying ourselves – as is a regulator’s right – that the information being provided by these third parties is up to scratch.”

However, some other councils have been relying on a consulting engineer – who is hired by the main contractor – to vouch for the steel and the quality controls around it.

SCNZ’s Wayne Carson has been telling councils this was absolutely not good enough.

“There was a general lack of knowledge,” he said.

“Many of these councils, we find, they’re limited in resources. They have been relying on a lot of external advice.

“[But] there’s a lot of engineers that also lack knowledge in some of the detailed compliance issues.”

The roadshow gave councils the right questions to ask early on, Mr Carson said.

“It doesn’t mean you know the answers, but you need to ask the right questions to flush that out”.

Steel compliance was undergoing rapid, big improvements compared with five years ago, he said.

Mr Minturn of the Auckland Council agreed.

“The other councils which have participated, are seeing more steel and they are very open to the material the Auckland Council is developing.

“Yes, it may be a case of we didn’t know. We’re on a very fast learning curve.”

SCNZ was planning to brief other councils about compliance.

#1725250
paulinem
Member
Member since: July 8, 2006
Topics: 9
Replies: 1072
paulinem

Sorry about the problems etc on the above post I cant seem to find the edit button

#1725251
huiatahi
Member
Member since: March 22, 2017
Topics: 2
Replies: 1032
huiatahi

Like you halcyon, I think Meng Foon will make an excellent Race Relations Commissioner.

huiatahi

Viewing 10 posts - 6,521 through 6,530 (of 6,674 total)

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