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Beehive Bulletin Friday 06 September 2002

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Passmark Change

The New Zealand Immigration Service's General Skills Category passmark will increase from 28 to 29 points on 9 September, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced this week. The passmark sets the number of points required to gain New Zealand residence under the General Skills Category of the New Zealand Immigration Programme. The increase is the first since Lianne Dalziel announced the monthly review of passmarks in June. The change is being made in order to manage the 2002-2003 New Zealand immigration programme, set at 45,000 approvals (with a tolerance of +/- 5000). Immigrants will fall under three categories: Skilled/business (60 per cent target), Family Sponsored (30 per cent) and International/Humanitarian (10 per cent). Lianne Dalziel said the New Zealand Immigration Service was swamped with large numbers of applications in the General Skills Category in the 2002- 02 year, an indication New Zealand's international appeal as a migrant destination. This meant numerous applications were carried forward into this financial year, and the inflow of new applications since 1 July 2002 has continued to be ahead of forecast. Already half of skilled migrants who come to New Zealand have a relevant job offer when they arrive and increasing, Lianne Dalziel said. Increasing the passmark will increase this proportion.

Air New Zealand investigation underway

Minister of Transport Paul Swain has received assurances from safety and accident agencies that an investigation into last Friday's incident, in which an Air New Zealand plane lost a portion of wing flap soon after take-off, is underway. He met with the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) this week. The TAIC is investigating the incident and the CAA will be informed of potential safety recommendations arising from the investigation. Paul Swain has been assured that matters requiring urgent action will be dealt with immediately. An earlier incident, in which a panel fell from the wing of another Air New Zealand plane, is currently the subject of a CAA investigation. Paul Swain said he is confident the CAA and TAIC will investigate these incidents thoroughly and recommend appropriate action.

Rail Investigations underway

Minister of Transport Paul Swain has been assured for the Transport Accident and Investigation Commission (TAIC) and the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) are investigating Saturday's incident at Wellington Railway Station. The TAIC is conducting the investigation and the LTSA is undertaking a broader review of safety issues surrounding train signalling.

High Court action underway

Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has taken High Court legal action to halt the further sale of assets by Northland's Te Hauora O Te Tai Tokerau (THOTT) and to freeze the trust's bank accounts. The department's action is being taken at the direction of Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey, to help ensure that CYF-funded assets are retained by the department for the provision of social services to at-risk Northland families. A freeze on asset sales and bank accounts will assist CYF to recover money it is claiming from THOTT for under delivery of services, Steve Maharey said. The department believes CYF-funded assets should support the provision of services to at-risk families by an interim service provider, Kirikiriroa. It also believes THOTT owes CYF money because THOTT has under-delivered on contracts it had with the department in the last financial year. Steve Maharey said CYF would claim up to $1.7 million in damages from THOTT. CYF is no longer prepared to wait for arbitration to resolve these issues as there are no guarantees that assets are not continuing to be sold, he said. In the meantime, a limited interim Family Start and Amokura service continues to be provided by Kirikiriroa. Expansion of this service is being hampered by the fact that THOTT has refused to hand over all client records and CYF-funded assets to the department. CYF's legal claim will help it work towards restoring full services as soon as possible, Steve Maharey said.

Mike Moore appointed special trade envoy

Recently-retired World Trade Organisation director- general Mike Moore has been appointed as special trade envoy by the Government, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said this week. Mike Moore had won great international prestige as WTO director-general during the past three years and his energy and commitment to the task of promoting trade liberalisation have won him universal approval, Jim Sutton said. Mike Moore will continue his work promoting international trade in a personal capacity and be involved with think tanks, universities, and corporates' research programmes in the next two years. He has offered his services to the Government to help promote the New Zealand message on trade as he travels around the world. His work as special trade envoy will be co-ordinated by the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, in liaison with New Zealand posts overseas, to ensure the maximum use can be made of his influence and prestige. The position will not be fulltime, but on an as-required, as-planned basis. It will include delivering speeches on New Zealand's trade policy and meeting government and non-government leaders to discuss New Zealand's vision of greater trade liberalisation. Mike Moore will initially be based in Europe.

11 September service of remembrance

A service of remembrance will be held in Wellington on 11 September to mark the first anniversary of last year's terrorist attacks in the United States, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this week. The service, to be held at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul at 12.30 pm on Wednesday, will be the government's official commemorative event on 11 September. Helen Clark said the use of hijacked aircraft in terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were acts of cold-blooded and incomprehensible violence that had sent shockwaves around the world. It is fitting that, one year on, there is an opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in those tragic events, and to reflect on how the world has changed since that day, she said. The serevice will be attended by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, ministers and parliamentarians, public service chief executives, senior defence personnel, representatives of the Fire Service, the Police and other emergency services, and members of the diplomatic corps, including the United States Ambassador to New Zealand, Charles Swindells. Members of the public are invited to attend. Helen Clark said that flags on government buildings will be flown at half-mast on Wednesday.


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