From the Chair
2016 is going to be a big year for NZUAG. We are very focussed on plans to promote awareness of our organisation and the Code to industry participants around the country. The NZUAG Board signed of the programme at our February meeting. A series of seminars will held in 9 centres throughout New Zealand, and we will be encouraging as many people as possible within the industry to attend. Please keep an eye out for the promotional material that will be coming your way shortly.
In the meantime, please let us know of any issue you think would be of interest to others in the industry, and any suggestions you have on how these newsletters could be improved.
Best wishes for the coming year.
The Board Working Groups are continuing to progress their respective activity areas, with Code Promotion, Awareness and Education becoming the major outcome focus for the year. Other projects that are continuing on updating of the website and work on Code Compliance and Enforcement.
- Code Promotion Awareness and Education: Planning is now well underway for a Code Promotion and Education seminar series that will be rolled out nation-wide during the second half of the year. Titled Transport Corridors & Utility Access – a NZUAG seminar on the Code, each of the half-day sessions will provide an outline of the role of NZUAG, a summary of changes made to the Code, as a result of the latest review process, from both a Corridor Manager and Utility Operator perspective, as well an opportunity to ask questions via a panel discussion. The overall objective of the seminar series is to promote the role of NZUAG, and promote ownership of the Code through encouraging local relationships. Seminars are currently being scheduled for: Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, with the first of these to take place early June. Details on exact dates and venues will be finalised soon, so keen an eye out for updates on the NZUAG website and for promotional emails as locations are finalised.
- Code Compliance and Enforcement: An issue discussed at the February Board meeting was the extent to which current software solutions (CAR Manager, Before U Dig, RSL, etc) produce Code-compliant outcomes. An options paper exploring the issue will be discussed at the next Board meeting in May. This will include consideration of the role of NZUAG in the development of industry-wide software solutions.
- Website Update: A website update plan has been developed which is being progressively implemented over the next couple of months. This is largely focusing on giving the site a refresh, rather than introducing major changes to the way it operates. Greater emphasis will be given to the Code and the Code Education seminars being planned for roll-out during the second half of the year.
UFB Roll-out Update – Chorus and TCF
Marlene Peters a Senior Stakeholder Manager with Chorus attended the February Board Meeting and provided an Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) Update. The presentation gave a brief overview of the current status of this project, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), the extensions of both projects as well as highlighting the current consumer uptake of UFB. Marlene completed the presentation with a Chorus view of the Code. A copy of this presentation will be available for download from the events page of the NZUAG website shortly.
Marlene’s presentation was followed by comments from Geoff Thorn, NZUAG Board member and CEO of TCF on the roll-out process. Geoff noted that while NZ has world class fixed and mobile networks, there are still issues relating to rolling out infrastructure. These issues range from individual property access, which the Government is now addressing, to regional inconsistency in the application of urban planning requirements. These inconsistencies add cost and inefficiencies to the deployment of, and investment in, high quality national telecommunications infrastructure.
RIMS Conference 2016
Planning is well underway for the Road Infrastructure Management Forum being held in Rotorua on 9 and 10 March at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. NZUAG will be hosting the Corridor Management stream on day 2. This stream will involve 14 separate streamed presentations as well as providing opportunities to discuss and debate issues related to corridor access management generally. Further detail on the Forum is available from the RIMS website www.rims.org.nz This will be a great event, so it would be fantastic to see as many NZUAG members there as possible.
Stolen Metals Reporting Network
In line with its desire that NZUAG News acts as a conduit for information or events happening within the wider Utility Operator/ Corridor Manager interface we want to take the opportunity to highlight the Stolen Metals Reporting Network, which is jointly operated by the Scrap Metal Recycling Association of NZ and NZ Police. The network and the stolen metals database can be accessed via the Scrap Metal Recycling Association’s website www.scrapmetal.org.nz According to the Association, their experience is that metal thieves do not usually travel long distances and usually try to sell materials on the same day or within a few days of items being stolen. This means speed in reporting thefts is essential, which is where the Reporting Network becomes invaluable. NZUAG is aware of cases where theft of the likes of overhead cabling has been an issue, and so would encourage use of this network as one way of responding to such cases.