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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2461301 14-Apr-2020 18:39
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Press release:

 

 

An immediate student support package announced today in response to Covid-19 will assist students financially to continue their studies, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.     

 

“Covid-19 is impacting students’ ability to financially contribute to and continue their studies. They are facing additional personal costs associated with study in a different way while having fewer opportunities to work to support their study,” Chris Hipkins said.

 

“The Government wants to give certainty to students as soon as possible that they can continue to be engaged in their education and will be supported adequately until such time that tertiary education providers can put in place alternative ways of delivering teaching and learning.

 

“Today, we are announcing a domestic tertiary student package to:

 

  • help cover extra costs, by increasing the student loan amount available for course-related costs for full-time students from $1,000 to $2,000, on a temporary basis;
  • continue support payments for students unable to study on-line for up to 8 weeks
  • make technical changes to ensure that:

     

    • where students receive partial tuition fee refunds in 2020 because their course has been discontinued due to Covid-19, this will not affect their future entitlement to student loans
    • where students are unable to complete a course of study in 2020 due to Covid-19, this will not affect their entitlement to Fees Free tertiary study. 

“Today’s package means students who cannot access their courses on-line will continue to receive their student loan payments as normal throughout the four-week lockdown period, and for up to four weeks afterwards. This flexibility is already available for student living allowances.

 

“Domestic students who are enrolled in full-time tertiary study can access these supports from tomorrow, Wednesday 15 April.

 

“These pragmatic measures, coupled with the support MSD can already give, will provide an immediate response to the financial impact Covid-19 is having on tertiary students. It will support students to stay engaged in their education.

 

“This package provides relief to students straight away while we adapt to the immediate challenges posed by our response to COVID-19.

 

“We are also working on a second package of changes to prepare the system for significant growth in participation in key strategic areas as greater numbers of New Zealanders are expected to look to retrain and some industries need bigger workforces.   

 

“The three student loan changes will come from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund and the impact on Fees Free payments can be met within existing baselines within Vote Tertiary Education,” Chris Hipkins said.

 

The cost of the package is $35 million in operating funding and $98 million in capital expenditure.

 

Who does this package apply to?

 

It applies to all fulltime domestic students studying at university, polytechs, or private training establishments this year whether they are enrolled already or planning to enrol.

 

What do students have to do to apply for support?

 

Information will be available from StudyLink (MSD), the Ministry of Education and their provider.

 

Do students have to extend their allowance or loan?

 

No, students will be able to opt-out if they do not want to increase their loan.

 

What additional support is available for students’ mental health needs?

 

Students can access mental health support services through their providers. The way these services are delivered may have changed, for example interviews may now be online or by phone. Students should talk to their providers regarding how to access these services.

 





 

 

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2463663 16-Apr-2020 17:40
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Press release: 

 

 

Alert Level 3 will see many significant restrictions on New Zealanders’ movements retained, but will permit aspects of the economy to reopen in a safe way that will allow the economic recovery to begin, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

 

“There are promising signs our go hard and go early elimination strategy is working and the lockdown is breaking the chain of community transmission. Any move to Level 3 cannot put those gains at risk,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

“By design, Level 3 is a progression, not a rush to normality. It carries forward many of the restrictions in place at Level 4, including the requirement to mainly be at home in your bubble and to limit contact with others.

 

“Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our primary focus but we also need to position the economy for recovery. Importantly the test for a business opening at Level 3 moves to it being safe, rather than being essential,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

Changes at Level 3 include:

 

Minor extensions to bubbles.
Sticking to existing bubbles is recommended but some expansion is allowed if, for example, you have a caregiver that you need, children in shared care, a defacto partner who is caring for others, or you’re a single person who wants the company of a sibling for example. Keep it exclusive and keep it small.

 

Some people can return to work and business reopens if safe

 

People must work from home if they can. Where that is not possible businesses may re-open but must comply with health and safety requirements around physical distancing and contactless engagement with customers.
Businesses only accessed by the staff, and without a customer facing function, such as building and construction or forestry can open under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.

 

Businesses that are accessed by the public or customers such as retail, hardware stores and restaurants can open but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.

 

Partial reopening of education
Early childhood centres and schools will be available up to Year 10 only, but attendance is purely voluntary. For children who are able, distance learning is still the best option. Tertiary education will mostly be through distance learning.

 

Travel restrictions remain but move from local to regional
This recognises that more people will travel to work, or to take children to school. But to avoid taking potential COVID-19 cases to other parts of the country, restricting movement to what is necessary remains the goal. 

 

Funerals and weddings
Funerals and weddings will be able to go ahead, but limited to 10 people. But they can only be services. No meals, food or receptions can take place.

 

“We have engaged with sector groups on the details announced so far. Further details will continue to be made available over the coming days,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

“The main message remains stay home to save lives. It remains the most effective way to break the chain of transmission. At Level 3 there are slightly more opportunities for you to come into contact with people outside your bubble. As a general rule of thumb, the goal of keeping two metres away from each other still applies.

 

“To eliminate COVID-19 will continue to take a team-of-five-million effort. Under lockdown we have shown our ability to put in place a virtual wall that has broken the chain of transmission. Our new line of defence when we reach Level 3 is common sense, following the rules and trust in one another,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 





 

 

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2466434 20-Apr-2020 16:59
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New Zealand will move from COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday April 27, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

 

The country will stay in Alert Level 3 for two weeks before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.

 

“Going hard and early to stamp out the virus, backed by an effort of 5 million New Zealanders to break the chain of transmission, means together we have helped stop the uncontrolled explosion of COVID-19 in New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

“On the recommendation of the Director General of Health, who is confident there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand, today we are able to take a balanced approach in transitioning through alert levels and restarting our economy.

 

“The sacrifices made to date have been huge. Cabinet wanted to make sure we lock in our gains, give ourselves some additional certainty, but take no more than two additional business days to do this before we restart our economy again.

 

“We want to see kiwis back in work as soon as possible and our economy rebound before others. At Level 3, 400,000 more New Zealanders will return to work, with key sectors for our recovery like construction, manufacturing and forestry starting up again. Having our economy operating with a low threat of the virus is the competitive advantage we can seize if we get this next phase right. And I believe we can.

 

“But at Level 3 we need to be even more vigilant and we must stick to the rules, continue to reduce contact and keep breaking the chain of transmission.

 

“And remember that we remain at Level 4 until you wake up next Tuesday. Let’s stick with our plan and the mission we have. Stay strong, stay home, let’s finish what we started.

 

“I couldn’t feel prouder of the start we have made together. But I also feel a huge responsibility to ensure we do not lose any of the gains we have made,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

Editor’s note:

 

  • Under Alert Level 3, children who can stay at home should stay at home. At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so.  Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them. People will be allowed to enter schools and early learning centres from tomorrow for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations to be ready to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on 28 April. We expect most children who need to attend to be able to from 29 April. It may take a bit longer for some schools and early learning centres to be ready.
  • This week businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, such as employers re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary, but they must stick to physical distancing and their bubbles.





 

 

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2468586 23-Apr-2020 12:53
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Press release:

 

 

Hunters will be able to hunt on private land with special restrictions when New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, but not on public conservation land, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today.

 

Hunting has not been allowed since New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4, but a shift to Level 3 next Tuesday morning will mean hunters can once again hunt locally - as long as they have the landholder’s permission and stick to the rules.

 

“We know that hunting is an important part of life for many New Zealanders, and in some cases a critical source of food. At Level 3 we also need to minimise the risk of losing the great progress we’ve made together in Alert Level 4 in stamping out the virus. We have to strike a balance, and that’s why these rules are designed to allow hunting in a limited way,” Grant Robertson said.

 

“Cabinet has agreed hunting on private land will be allowed under Alert Level 3, so long as hunters stay within their region and stick to their bubble. Hunting is only permitted on foot and overnight trips are not allowed. The use of quad bikes, off-road bikes, helicopters and other motorised vehicles is prohibited.”

 

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said hunting on public conservation land is not allowed until the time when there is a decision for New Zealand return to Alert Level 2.

 

“While many hunters may want to head to popular spots on public land to target the last stag of the roar, under Alert Level 3 hunting on public conservation land will remain off limits,” Eugenie Sage said.

 

“This helps with consistency across walking and mountain biking where people must stay local, rather than travelling to back country conservation land.

 

“The start of the duck hunting season is being postponed from Saturday 2 May to start on the second weekend after that date that is decided for when New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2.  The season will also end later,” Eugenie Sage said.

 

“I know this is disappointing but for many duck hunters the social interaction around hunting is an important part of the activity, especially at opening weekend. The risks associated with groups of people coming together is too high.

 

“The two-week delay to the start of the season after a decision is made to move into Level 2 was determined in consultation with the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and I want to thank them for their constructive engagement with these decisions.

 

“All New Zealanders will still have an opportunity to hunt ducks, at the same time, once we return to Alert Level 2.

 

“We’re still encouraging New Zealanders to spend time in nature where possible if it’s local, but this is not the time to take up hunting as a new hobby or explore the back country and go on an overnight tramp. Use your common sense – stay local, stay safe,” Eugenie Sage said.

 

FAQ

 

How far can I travel to go hunting on private land?

 

You should drive as short a distance as you can. You must stay within your region.

 

Does private land include Māori land?

 

Yes – the same rules apply.

 

Have the deer roar and tahr rut ballots/hunting blocks been affected by COVID-19?

 

The Department of Conservation (DOC) runs an annual ballot system for hunters wishing to hunt during the deer roar and tahr rut period. The ballot ensures hunters have access to an assigned hunting block.

 

Hunting blocks assigned to hunters as part of the 2020 deer roar are cancelled.

 

The tahr rut begins in late April and is a popular time for hunting in the South Island. Tahr ballots allow a select number of hunters authorised aircraft landings in the Hooker-Landsborough and Adams Wilderness areas. As the tahr rut takes place over winter, the 2020 tahr ballots are currently under review.  We will contact ballot holders with more information in due course.

 

At Alert Level 3, people must not head into the backcountry/remote areas, for their safety and the safety of others. DOC huts are also not available for use.

 

Can I still get a hunting permit?

 

In order to hunt animals on public conservation land, hunters need a DOC hunting permit. DOC has temporarily disabled the function on its website which allows hunters to apply for permits. This will be reassessed at Alert Level 2.

 





 

 

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2500667 8-Jun-2020 15:25
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New Zealand will move to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 at 11:59pm on Monday 8 June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

 

There are no active cases in the country, almost 40,000 tests in the past 17 days have turned up no positive results and it’s been 40 days since the last case of community transmission – and 22 days since that person finished self-isolation.

 

“With care and commitment our team of 5 million has united to protect New Zealanders’ health and ensure we now have a head-start on our economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

“At Level 1 we become one of the most open economies in the world and now we must seize our advantage of going hard and early to beat Covid-19 and use the same focus and determination we applied to our health response to rebuild our economy.

 

“Caution and hard work got us down the mountain safely when the descent is always the most perilous part. At every step there have been those who’ve pushed us to do something different, to go faster or further, but our results speak for themselves.

 

“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time – it is a sustained effort.

 

“The world will remain in the grip of a global pandemic for some time to come and we will see cases here again, which we must remain prepared for,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 

Reserve Bank analysis shows the economy under Level 1 is expected to be operating just 3.8 per cent below normal levels. That’s an improvement from 8.8 per cent below normal under Level 2, 19 per cent below normal under Level 3, and 37 per cent under Level 4.

 

More details are at covid19.govt

 





 

 

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