Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 29 Nov
Also Available On-Line
Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen and Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins have welcomed the final report of the Hunn Overview Group into weathertightness, saying the recommendations reflected government thinking and that work on them was already in train. Mr Hawkins also released the reply from the Chairman of the Building Industry Authority, Barry Brown, to his 'please explain' letter of 30 October asking why the BIA did not inform him of the leaky buildings issue until 30 April, this year. The Ministers said that demonstrably there were problems with the functioning of the BIA. The Hunn Report
recommends that the Authority's role, structure and resourcing be reviewed to enable it to provide a more comprehensive service to the public and to the building industry. The government has already moved to strengthen oversight of the Authority by shifting responsibility for
the policy and regulatory functions from the Department of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Economic Development [MED.] that will take effect from 1 January 2003.
The government this week received a proposal for Air New Zealand to enter a strategic alliance with Qantas under which Qantas would take a minority stake in Air New Zealand. The Ministers leading the government's response are: Finance Minister Michael Cullen as holder of the Crown's 82 percent shareholding in Air New Zealand; Transport Minister Paul Swain as holder of the Kiwi Share; and Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard, who has been delegated authority for regulatory issues by Dr Cullen. The government will assess the proposal both from a principal shareholder and from a Kiwi Shareholder perspective. As principal shareholder it will have to be satisfied that the proposal is in the best commercial interests of the company going forward. As Kiwi Shareholder, it will have to assess whether the proposal meets the national interest considerations agreed by the Cabinet. The government has undertaken to come back to Air New Zealand on 18 December with conditional decisions. The airlines will apply to the Commerce Commission in New Zealand and to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission across the Tasman. Consideration by these bodies is expected to take some months.
Prime Minister Helen Clark officially opened the Carter Holt Harvey New Zealand Pavilion at the Viaduct Harbour this week. The Pavilion celebrates New Zealand's innovation leaders – past, present and future – and highlights the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit
driving New Zealand's success. Helen Clark says the Pavilion, backed by Industry New Zealand, is an exciting addition to the Viaduct Harbour. There are sixty monitors inside the Pavilion, featuring innovative companies in the biotechnology, ICT, creative, and niche manufacturing
industry sectors. The Pavilion is open to the public, free of charge, until the conclusion of the America's Cup in March. It is located on the corner of Halsey and Viaduct Harbour Streets.
New initiatives to get more teachers into school
Education Minister Trevor Mallard this week announced two new initiatives to get more teachers into secondary schools to accommodate predicted roll growth, and to help schools fill the additional 373 teacher positions announced earlier this year. These initiatives will also supplement the 1765 secondary teacher trainees currently in training, up 120 from 2001. The first initiative is designed to attract more experienced New Zealand teachers back from overseas through greater use of recruitment agencies and advertising. The second initiative is targeted at Auckland, which is experiencing markedly
higher growth in secondary school rolls, compared to the rest of the country, due to population changes. Trevor Mallard said the exercise was about matching up graduates from secondary teacher education programmes in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, who do not yet have teaching jobs for next year, with Auckland schools that still have positions available in particular subjects. To help meet the demand for more secondary teachers the Ministry of Education has been coordinating a range of initiatives, costing around $37 million over three years.
New publication to focus on job market big picture
The New Zealand job market – how it works, what opportunities exist for people and how and why it's changing – is the focus of a new Labour Department publication, workINSIGHT, launched by Social Services and
Employment Minister Steve Maharey this week. Steve Maharey said workINSIGHT would be of particular interest to people choosing education or training, those already studying or in training, people thinking about changing their careers and new or re-entrants to the labour market, including migrants and women returning to the workforce. The publication, which is to be published twice yearly in November and May, brings together a raft of quality information on a range of vital issues affecting the labour market. Users will find it of considerable value in making informed decisions on any area relating to the New Zealand labour market, and it will also be of interest to people looking at job market trends and those following what is happening in specific industry sectors such as manufacturing, construction, retailing and transport and communication.
Customs to collect import transaction fee
Customs Minister Rick Barker says it is important that importers have the correct information about the new Import Transaction Fee, due to be collected by the New Zealand Customs Service from 1 December. The fee of $18 (GST inclusive) will be payable on every commercial
import entry and import declaration for goods with a duty and/or GST liability of $50 or more and every private import declaration for goods with a value of $1000 or more and with a duty and/or GST liability of $50 or more. The fee is to cover the cost of ongoing improvements to Customs' clearance service aimed at ensuring continued fast and efficient clearance of imported goods. New Zealand's 30,000 importers bring goods worth around $32 billion across the country's borders each year. Customs expects to collect about $15 million a year from the
Import Transaction Fee – less than 0.05 per cent of the value of goods imported – and the money collected goes directly to Customs to cover the cost of services. There is no change to the duty or GST liability on either private or commercial imports.