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New Zealand upgrades Indonesian travel advice
New Zealand has upgraded its Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advisory for Indonesia. Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said short-term visitors in Indonesia who are not there for essential purposes are advised to depart. This is in addition to the already comprehensive travel advisory which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has in place which includes a warning not travel to Bali and certain parts of Indonesia and to defer all tourist and non-essential travel to the rest of Indonesia. New Zealand has consulted with the Australian Government over its decision to upgrade its travel advice and understands the reasons for making the change.
Mr Goff said the reasons for the change in travel advice relates to specific information, which he was not at liberty to disclose. New Zealand's meanwhile provided an initial package of medical assistance to authorities in Bali. The package includes essential medical supplies such as advanced pain relief, intravenous fluids and surgical dressings. This assistance comes on top of the earlier dispatch to Australia of an RNZAF Hercules with a medical team on board.
Website, phone line and disputes procedures for homeowners
The government has released the outline of a disputes resolution process and launched a website and a toll free phone line for homeowners affected by 'leaky building syndrome.
The toll free line will operate from 8.30am to 7.00pm Monday to Friday on 0800-116-926. The website, which will be regularly updated, can be accessed at www.weathertightness.govt.nz. Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen said people could use these services, both of which were being run by the Department of Internal Affairs, to access information and to register problems.
The data collected through these sources will assist the government in determining the extent of the leaky building problem. People registering with the department are assured that their identities will be treated with utmost confidentiality. After registration and acceptance of an application, applicants will be able to obtain an independent assessment of their case and encouraged to come before an expert mediator.
Dr Cullen leads the special ministerial committee to co- ordinate the response to the matters raised in the Hunn report to the Building Industry Authority on the weathertightness of buildings.
Government confirms key climate change policies
The Government has confirmed a policy package on climate change that puts New Zealand in the best possible position to meet its international obligations and move towards a sustainable energy future. The Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson. said the confirmation by Cabinet of the policies means New Zealand will be ready to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change once the Climate Change Response Bill is passed by Parliament. The Government expects to ratify later this year.
Mr Hodgson said the policies will enable New Zealand to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol while protecting the nation's economic interests. The foundation policies of the climate change package are the Growth and Innovation Framework, the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, the New Zealand Transport Strategy (under development), the New Zealand Waste Strategy, climate change research, and a partnership with local government in addressing climate change at a local level.
Auckland's Regional Development Strategy
Prime Minister Helen Clark has handed the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy to the Establishment Group charged with overseeing its implementation.
The strategy sets out how government agencies, business and local government can help Auckland regional businesses develop overseas markets, grow exports and attract investment. Minister for Auckland Issues Judith Tizard said this was the first time in 25 years that the Auckland region had developed forward-looking strategies and a commitment to work in partnership with each other, with Auckland's communities and with the government. It would ensure the region got its fair share of infrastructure and development money.
Youth suicide figures declining
Jim Anderton, Associate Minister of Health has released the youth suicide figures for the year 2000. The latest figures are the lowest since 1986 for both the number and rate of suicide amongst young people. Mr Anderton said the recent decline in youth suicide rates is very encouraging. It suggests that the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy and the wide range of initiatives that are part of the Strategy are having a positive effect. Sadly though, there is still no cause for complacency or celebration because 96 young people still took their lives that year, said Jim Anderton. The strategy, led by the Ministry of Youth Affairs involves a wide range of actions aimed at reducing youth suicide, with a specific focus on addressing suicide among Maori youth.
Government will ensure victims get a better deal
A wide range of new rights for victims, which will be guaranteed under law, have been created with the passage of the Victims Rights Bill.
Justice Minister Phil Goff said the legislation delivers on the Government's promise of a better deal for victims. He said the challenge now is to ensure that these rights become a reality.
The Government will be vigilant
that the various agencies charged with delivering these
rights act on them. The input of Victim Support, the key
organisation responsible for the delivery of services to
victims in New Zealand, will be a vital component of this
process, said Mr Goff. The legislation provides explicit
rights for victims, with corresponding mandatory obligations
upon specific Government agencies to uphold these rights.