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Beehive Bulletin

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 07 March 2002

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

Government gives early backing to Team New Zealand

The Government is giving an initial $5.625 million as part of a new marketing agreement with Team New Zealand for the 2007 America's Cup in Europe. Minister for the America's Cup Trevor Mallard said the new funding would allow Team New Zealand to start re-signing key team members. Without it, the human capital and intellectual property built up by Team New Zealand could disperse, putting at serious risk New Zealand's ongoing participation in the America's Cup. Trevor Mallard said the Government is confident that the next America's Cup will allow New Zealand the chance to expand the trade and tourism opportunities created over the last eight years. The final level of the Government's investment will be small compared to the expected cost of mounting a credible challenge in 2007 but provided Team New Zealand with some early financial certainty, Trevor Mallard said.

Changes to assist sole parents

Work and Income will do more to help sole parents into work with changes to legislation that come into effect this month, said Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey. The Social Security (Personal Development and Employment) Amendment Act abolishes the arbitrary work test on sole parents receiving the Domestic Purposes or Widows Benefits. Currently 21,924 people are subjected to a work test requirement to seek part or full-time work because of the age of their youngest child. All people receiving the DPB, Widows or Emergency Maintenance Allowance will now be required to work with their case manager to develop and implement a Personal Development and Employment Plan. The Government is committed to supporting and working with sole parents to identify barriers to employment and opportunities to improve their circumstances for themselves and their families, said Steve Maharey.

Tougher child porn penalties

The government has signaled its intention to significantly increase penalties for child pornography offences. Justice Minister Phil Goff will introduce a bill later this year increasing the maximum penalties to 10 years jail for producing and trading in child pornography, and two years jail for possessing child pornography. The current maximum penalties are one year's jail and a $2000 fine. Phil Goff said these penalties are clearly inadequate and fail to acknowledge that the production of child pornography involves the actual abuse of children. Traders and possessors of child pornography had an indirect responsibility. It was not uncommon for New Zealanders trading in child pornography over the Internet to have thousands of images in their possession. The new penalties would bring New Zealand into line with the United Kingdom and Canada, said Phil Goff.

Taskforce on secondary teachers' pay meets

A Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration met for first time this week. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the Taskforce's main objective is to ensure a supply of high quality, appropriately qualified secondary teachers in state and integrated schools who will improve the learning outcomes of all students. The Taskforce will develop a strategic longer-term perspective on the issues facing the teacher sector over the next decade. More specifically it will report how the government can address wage paths and the impact on remuneration of workload, teacher supply and demand, curriculum delivery, qualifications and other directly related issues. The Taskforce, chaired by Dame Margaret Bazley, is expected to report to Trevor Mallard by 31 October.

Racing Act passes the post

Legislation passed in Parliament this week will see the TAB merged with the Racing Industry Board. Associate Racing Minister Damien O'Connor said the Racing Act 2003 was an industry-driven initiative, which simplified the governance of racing by merging the two organizations. The Board would be responsible for administering racing and also for providing racing and sports betting services. It would promote the racing industry and aim to maximise its profits for the long-term benefit of New Zealand racing. Damien O'Connor said the government was pleased to fulfill its promise to the racing industry by delivering changes which would help move the industry forward and give it the impetus to successfully tackle future challenges.

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