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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending


Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending

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

Major progress on Maori TV

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The Mäori Television Service will receive increased funding and will use a platform combining UHF and satelite transmission under decisions announced by Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Mäori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia this week. Dr Cullen said the funding increase of $7.075 million a year would give MTS an annual operating budget of $12.98 million. The advantages of the UHF platform are that MTS will own and control its transmission facilities and will be able to move to a digital platform in the future. It will also mean that MTS is using the frequencies reserved for Mäori language broadcasting since 1989. Initially the transmission will provide coverage for 75 per cent of the general population and 70 per cent of Mäori. The second stage will expand coverage to 86 per cent of the Mäori population. Parekura Horomia said MTS would provide an indigneous broadcasting service that was unique and would significantly enrich the cultural fabric of New Zealand.

New Zealand assists cyclone-hit families

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Government aid agency NZAID has so far provided more than $150,000 for the Fiji and Solomon Islands relief effort following Cyclone Ami and Cyclone Zoe, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said this week. New Zealand relief supplies in Fiji have helped meet the needs of more than 300 families on the cyclone-damaged island of Cicia in Fiji's Lau group. Assistance included 135 tarpaulins and 235 water containers plus the cost of transporting them. Half of all buildings on the island have been damaged, and it's estimated that 75 per cent of tree crops have been damaged and 10 per cent of root crops. In the Solomon Islands, NZAID provided $100,000 in transport assistance after Tikopia Island was hit by Cyclone Zoe. The ministers said the immediate relief phase had finished and the focus is now on the recovery effort, collecting and delivering materials to rebuild houses on Tikopia.

Sustainable development action programme released =================================================

The government has released its programme of action for sustainable development in New Zealand, with Environment Minister Marian Hobbs saying the programme provides a set of guiding objectives and principles to policy and decision making across the government sector. "We have agreed that growing our economy is vital for the social growth of New Zealand," Marian Hobbs said. "The more money we earn, the better education and health services we can afford." But that growth had to be sustained over a number of generations, so there was a need to plan for that growth. The initial focus is on water quality and allocation, energy, sustainable cities, and child and youth development. Marian Hobbs said these issues must be addressed otherwise they will impede New Zealand's long- term sustainable development. Cabinet is driving the sustainable development initiatives and has given ministers specific responsibilities for the Programme of Action, including Marian Hobbs (water); Pete Hodgson (energy); Marian Hobbs and Jim Anderton (sustainable cities); Steve Maharey (child and youth development).

Te Mana crew farewelled

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Defence Minister Mark Burton this week farewelled the crew of HMNZS Te Mana, which has taken up its place in Operation Enduring Freedom's Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO). Te Mana replaces HMNZS Te Kaha, currently patrolling with the Canadian-led Coalition Task Group in the Arabian sea and the Gulf of Oman. Mark Burton said this deployment recognises the continuing threat of terrorism to international security, and the need to work closely with others globally to counter that threat. Te Mana will continue as part of the Canadian lead task group involved in intercepting and boarding ships, gathering information and intelligence and, if necessary, identifying and detaining Al Quada and Taliban personnel. Te Mana will be joined by a P3 Orion in April, and is expected to remain with the Coalition Task Group until late June.

New code protects ACC claimants' rights

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The rights of ACC claimants have been enshrined in a new code that comes into effect on 1 February 2003. Launching the Code of ACC Claimants' Rights at Parliament this week, ACC Minister Ruth Dyson said it spelt out ACC's commitment to the highest practicable standard of service and fairness when dealing with claimants. The code contains eight claimants' rights, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be treated fairly and have their views considered, and to be fully informed. These rights are designed to meet claimants' reasonable expectations every time they contact ACC, whether by phone, letter or face-to-face. Each right is accompanied by specific obligations on ACC to ensure the rights are met. Ruth Dyson said the spirit of the code was as important as the specific obligations. Partnership between ACC and claimants, built on mutual trust, respect, understanding and participation, is critical if injured people are to make the best possible recovery, she said. The code sets out a detailed complaints procedure, including a framework for resolving issues and concerns as they arise at the local level. At any point, a claimant can lodge a formal complaint that will be fully investigated.

Travel safety information improved online

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The Government has revised the presentation of its travel safety information into a more user-friendly format. Foreign Minister Phil Goff said the new format enables people to easily find summary advice at a glance for a specified country on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Government travel advisories are now the most used section of the MFAT website, with up to a million hits registered a month. Phil Goff said the new format helps people find specific advice quickly and easily and it has received good public feedback during initial trials. Travel safety information is based on the best assessment of the risks to New Zealanders and New Zealand interests, but would never be infallible. "We provide the advice to help travellers make their own informed choices. But ultimately, decisions to travel are up to travellers themselves." The MFAT travel advisories can be accessed at the MFAT website www.mfat.govt.nz clicking on the 'Travelling Overseas' link.

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