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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 27 Sept

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 27 September 2002


Also Available On-Line http://www.labour.org.nz

Strong economic growth


Economic activity increased strongly this quarter, up 1.7 per cent compared with the previous quarter. This follows growth of 0.9 per cent in December 2001 and 1.0 per cent in March 2002. The economy grew 3.5 per cent for the year ended June 2002. The key contributor to this quarter's growth was a lift in primary produce exports, with increases in dairy, meat and forestry exports. Overall, exports were up 6.2 per cent this quarter and 3.3 per cent for the year ended June 2002. Acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said the June GDP results are well above market forecasts. The GDP figures indicate an economy in good heart despite risks internationally and the momentum in the economy suggests that it is well placed going into the second half of this year, Trevor Mallard said.

$22m package targets road toll

The government this week unveiled a $22 million package of road safety initiatives aimed at reducing the road toll. The initiatives are the first steps in the Government's Road Safety Strategy to 2010, which will be released in full later this year. Last year there were 455 road fatalities compared to 650 in 1991. This was despite an almost 19 per cent increase in the number of vehicles on the road and an approximate 40 per cent increase in the number of kilometres travelled. The government has set itself a target of no more than 300 fatalities and 4,500 hospitalisations by 2010. The main initiatives include a mixture of education, enforcement and engineering measures. Funding for this first stage of the strategy will total just under $22 million (GST excl) for the 2002/2003 financial year. Detailed information on the initiatives outlined above can be found in the 'Road Safety Package ? first steps towards 2010', which accompanies this release.

Crown minerals amendment bill

The Government is proposing to change the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill currently before the Commerce Select Committee. The Mining Act and the Coal Mines Act were repealed by the Crown Minerals Act in 1991. The intention was that existing mining licences granted under the old Acts would have a limited life and would not be able to be renewed or extended. The effect of the proposed amendments will be that anyone who applies for a new licence or a variation to the term of an existing licence after 5.00pm, 19 September 2002 will no longer be covered by the Acts that were repealed in 1991. The reason this is necessary is that in 2000, the High Court held that, whatever may have been intended, the Crown Minerals Act did not extinguish the right of existing mining licence holders to apply for a new mining licence or to extend the term of an existing mining licence. Since the High Court decision, the Ministry of Economic Development has received several applications for new licences and variations to the term of existing mining licences. The Crown Minerals Amendment Bill will be passed later this year. Applications that have already been made under the old Acts will continue to be processed.

Broadcasters' contribution to nation building crucial =====================================================

The role broadcasters play in the development and maintenance of New Zealanders sense of national and cultural identity is crucial, says Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey. Releasing post-election briefing papers from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand on Air and the Broadcasting Standards Authority this week, Mr Maharey said the government wants to see progress on: getting more New Zealand content on television and bedding in the voluntary New Zealand quota recently adopted by commerical radio broadcasters; getting the Maori Television Service on air and supporting the trial nationwide Pacific broadcaster, Nui FM; successfully implementing Television New Zealand's charter and working with Radio New Zealand to broaden its appeal and use of new technologies; renegotiating access rights to radio spectrum which are due to expire in 2010 and deciding on how to use the remaining unallocated frequencies; and ensuring that the future development of digitial television takes account of local content issues.

Industry NZ invests in MediaLab

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton this week announced $500,000 of Industry NZ funding for the establishment of a information and communications technology and digital media initiative. MediaLab is a research and development consortium based in Wellington. It is underpinned by collaboration between industry and academics, it focuses on the key ICT and digital media sectors, it aims to commercialise ideas and central to the whole concept is innovation. MediaLab's strategic partners are Victoria and Massey Universities, Telecom, TelstraClear, Unisys and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency. Industry and research partners include New Zealand's leading ICT and digital media companies. The $500,000 of funding, from Industry New Zealand's Strategic Investment Fund, is to be used to help MediaLab get established and develop over the next two years. For more information on MediaLab, visit www.medialab.co.nz

Fire Service ambassador programme expands =========================================

A successful programme to improve fire safety awareness in Northland and install smoke alarms in rural housing, will be available in the East Coast and Eastern Bay of Plenty from 14 October. Over the past 12 months, the programme has focussed on Northland, with nine Fire Service Ambassadors travelling the region and visiting isolated rural homes. The extension of this programme into rural areas between Whakatane, Hicks Bay and Napier, will reach into communities to help those in greatest need, and also help create employment with nine Fire Service Ambassadors working in Bay of Plenty and another nine on the East Coast, said Housing Minister Mark Gosche. Housing New Zealand Corporation, WINZ, Social Welfare and ACC together with the New Zealand Fire Service have contributed to a concerted fire safety campaign in response to the deaths of nine children and three adults in Northland within three years.

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