Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending 30 August 2002
Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending - Friday 30 August 2002
Also Available On-Line at www.labour.org.nz
Speech from the Throne
The government's intentions for the forthcoming session of Parliament were outlined this week in the Speech from the Throne, read by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright. The speech in effect is a review of the state of the nation, and is delivered after the state opening of Parliament. It identified higher economic growth as the government's most important task in the next three years. The speech said this would enable the government to reduce inequality and improve the social and economic well being of all New Zealanders in an environmentally sustainable manner. A mix of policies aimed at returning New Zealand to the top half of the developed world was outlined. The key elements of transforming the New Zealand economy into high-growth mode were said to be investment, innovation, skills development and export promotion. The full speech is available on www.beehive.govt.nz
Govt and Greens sign agreement
A co-operation agreement which provides for the Government and the Greens to consult on policy and legislation was signed this week by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Greens' co-leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald. Three levels of consultation were defined in the agreement: full participation in policy with the expectation of developing joint positions; consultation on the broad direction of policy and related legislation to achieve support; or consultation for the purposes of information sharing. Helen Clark said that in the previous term of Parliament the government and Greens had been able to work together on a confidential basis, and the agreement provided for that kind of working arrangement again. She says the relationship differs from the one in the last Parliament in that the Greens are not now providing a guarantee of confidence and supply. In the absence of that, the input they had into the budget process in the last Parliament will not continue. Helen Clark says the agreement notes that the government parties and the Greens share many similar aspirations and are keen to work together in a constructive fashion for the life of this Parliament.
Youth offending teams set up
Justice Minister Phil Goff announced this week that 30 new youth offending teams will be in place across the country by the end of September. The minister said the convictions of six young people in the Michael Choy case once again highlighted the critical need to ensure that action to deal with young offenders was properly coordinated between the relevant agencies dealing with them. Choy, a pizza delivery worker, was killed after being called to a house in Auckland. Phil Goff says the new youth offending teams will be made up from members of the Police, Child Youth and Family, Health and Education. Their establishment was a strong recommendation from the Task Force on Youth Offending chaired by former Principal Youth Court Judge, David Carruthers, the minister said. The Task Force found that there was often no formal relationship between health and education agencies and key youth justice agencies. That was a real obstacle to the delivery of effective and efficient youth justice services, Phil Goff said.
Govt offers to review benefits' decision
Associate Social Services and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson announced this week that the Ministry of Social Development is offering to review more than 15,000 cases where people's benefits were stopped and/or they had to pay back money because they were deemed to be living in a de facto relationship. A report by Auckland lawyer Frances Joychild showed that the ministry may not have used the correct legal test for de facto relationships between November 1996 and December 2000. Ruth Dyson said the Court of Appeal ruled in 1996 that de facto relationships had two essential features ? emotional commitment and financial interdependence. It also said that the effect of violence in a relationship must be taken into account when assessing these features. The Joychild report said that Work and Income did not implement this judgement consistently until the end of 2000, and that all relevant cases should be reviewed. Ruth Dyson says the government's decision to give people the opportunity to have their case reviewed if they think they were treated unfairly is a matter of natural justice.
Kiwi music gets global promo
Prime Minister Helen Clark and America's Cup Minister Trevor Mallard announced this week that New Zealand music will be promoted to the international music and media industries in a government-funded programme linked to the America's Cup. Helen Clark launched New Zealand Music Week at the America's Cup - to be held in Auckland from 18-24 November - at the Viaduct Basin. The PM announced the promotional week at a ceremony celebrating the platinum success of Nature's Best, a compilation of New Zealand's top 30 songs. Helen Clark said the quality and range of music demonstrated on Nature's Best highlights New Zealand's ability to produce music of an international caliber. She said our music industry has a strong domestic following and the government wants to see it showcased to the rest of the world. The musical showcase will give about 30 New Zealand artists thechance to perform live before music industry leaders from key exportmarkets such as Europe, USA and Australia.