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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending

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

Budget boost for teacher numbers

Extra funding of $167 million over four years will provide an extra 774 primary and secondary teaching positions over and above those required for roll growth, says Education Minister Trevor Mallard. The extra teachers will be provided from the start of next year, as part of this Government's commitment to improving staffing. Trevor Mallard says the budget initiative will help ease workload and staffing pressures and will give teachers more time to get on with teaching.

Government sector gets electricity savings target

Cabinet has set a 15 percent electricity savings target for the government sector. Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says it is important to provide leadership in electricity savings to help reduce the risk of power shortages this winter. Fifteen is a hard target but the government sector is expected to pursue this for perhaps the next five to six months. Pete Hodgson says this might require reduced air conditioning or heating but public servants' health and safety would not be compromised. Hospitals and schools are specifically asked not to reduce levels of service or safety.

Massive increase in workplace trainees

An $85m industry training package was unveiled this week by Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey. The extra funding will increase the number of workers participating in workplace learning in 2005 to 150,000 trainees. Last year, 107,000 Kiwis learned on the job. Steve Maharey says systematic work-based training is a cornerstone of the government's Tertiary Education Strategy, enabling businesses to increase productivity and competitiveness, and allowing workers to gain new skills.

Family Commission legislation introduced

Legislation establishing the Families Commission was introduced to Parliament this week and $28.233m in Budget funding was announced. The Families Commission will act as an advocate for the interests of families within the government and in the public arena. It will commission research into family issues and parenting support programmes. Steve Maharey says successful parenting and strong families are crucial to the future of New Zealand. The Families Commission will take an inclusive approach to the wide variety of family types that exist in New Zealand.

New Zealanders well informed on SARS

Health Minister Annette King says she is confident the Ministry of Health, working with an expert independent technical advisory council, is keeping New Zealanders well-informed on SARS. Annette King says she is being advised daily by the Ministry of Health on latest developments concerning Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The latest information on SARS can be obtained from the Ministry website (www.moh.govt.nz/sars) and New Zealanders concerned about aspects of SARS can also phone 0800 0800 80.

Street racers to be targeted

There will be rigorous enforcement of the new Street and Unauthorised Drag Racing Act, says Transport Minister Paul Swain. The new law, effective May 2, gives police more teeth to deal with the problem of illegal street racing, allowing them to impound the cars of offenders for up to 28 days. Paul Swain says police have informed him they will carry out operations to enforce the law over the next few weeks and will also target vehicles with ineffective silencers or exhausts. Anti-social and reckless behaviour on our roads will not be tolerated, says Paul Swain.

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