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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending - Friday 9 August

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending - Friday 09 August 2002

PM announces new government

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced a coalition agreement between the Labour Party and the Progressive Coalition Party this week. The two will form a minority government, with agreed support on confidence coming from the United Future Party. They will operate in government on a good faith and no surprises basis. Agree-to- disagree provisions will apply where necessary, as provided for by the Cabinet Manual rewritten by the previous Labour-Alliance Coalition. Labour will lead the broad policy programme, recognising the Progressive Coalition's general priorities of employment, support for low-income families and health and education. Labour will also recognise the Progressive Coalition's wish to make specific progress on enhancing better co-ordination and integration of industry assistance, implementation of a comprehensive drug education strategy, and the promotion of a better balance of work and family responsibilities. Details of the government's policy programme will be set out in the Speech from the Throne. The Progressive Coalition will have one Cabinet position. The government's immediate priorities, in consultation with the Leader of United Future, include the development of proposals for a Commission for the Family, the passing of strong victims' rights legislation and the introduction and passing the government's foreshadowed transport legislation. United Future and the Progressive Coalition Party have also prioritised a comprehensive drug education strategy aimed at young people. The government will consult with United Future on the broad outline of the legislative programme and priorities in it; key legislative measures; major policy issues; and broad Budget parameters. Helen Clark said discussion was continuing between Labour and the Greens to establish a collaborative working relationship during this term of Parliament. Helen Clark said a great deal of business had carried over from the previous Parliament and the government hopes to make good progress on its legislative programme this year.

NZ's unemployment rate now on par with the UK and Sweden

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the reduction in the unemployment rate to 5.1 per cent, well below the OECD average of 6.9 per cent. New Zealand has moved up the OECD rankings and is now 10th equal with Sweden and the UK on unemployment rates. It was 12th equal with Japan last quarter. We have now seen employment growth for nine consecutive quarters, with 115,000 additional jobs created over the period. This represents a 6.5 per cent increase in employment in the past two and a quarter years. Steve Maharey emphasised that employment growth has been consistent, and is sustainable. Wage pressures remain moderate, and there is now a solid foundation on which to build a sustained period of non-inflationary growth. However, the government still needs to address the gaps between regions and between European, Maori and Pacific peoples in terms of employment opportunities, Steve Maharey said. Government exceeds modern apprenticeships target The Government's flagship Modern Apprenticeships programme has exceeded expectations, with new figures showing more than 3,000 young New Zealanders are now signed up under the scheme. Figures released by Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey figures show there were 3,254 Modern Apprentices in training on 30 June, marking a 23 per cent increase in June quarter. Steve Maharey says this milestone sets the government firmly on the path to achieve its next target ? doubling the number of Modern Apprentices to 6,000 by December 2003. More than half of the Modern Apprentices (1,972) were aged 18 or younger when they began training. Figures for this quarter also show a 20 per cent increase in the number of young Maori taking up Modern Apprenticeships, bringing the number of Maori involved to 536. The structured training path and assistance provided by the Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinators helps trainees to achieve and assists industries with skill shortage problems, Steve Maharey said. Twenty-eight industry groups are involved with the programme. Steve Maharey also released Industry Training statistics for the year to 30 June, showing 78,240 New Zealanders were involved in structured workplace learning. This figure is up 18 per cent on least year's figure ? and 14 per cent higher than the number of industry trainees at the last quarter.

Swain Releases Commerce Commission Airport Study

Commerce Minister Paul Swain released the Commerce Commission's final report on airport activities at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch international airports this week. The report considers whether airfield activities, provided by the three major international airport companies, should be controlled under Part 4 of the Commerce Act 1986. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the Minister's website ( http://www.beehive.govt.nz/swain). Paul Swain has invited written comments on new matters raised in the report that were not the subject of previous submissions to the Commission and other relevant matters not addressed in the report. Interested parties have until Friday 6 September to make submissions. Once he has considered the report and other comments from interested parties, the Minister will decide whether or not to recommend to the Governor-General that airfield activities at one or more of the airports should be controlled under the Commerce Act.


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