Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending May 23
Also Available On-Line
Government moves to secure power supply
A new Electricity Commission will
secure reserve generation to ensure New Zealand's
electricity needs can be met even in very dry years without
power savings campaigns. Finance Minister Michael Cullen and
Energy Minister Pete Hodgson say the cost to electricity
consumers is estimated at well under half a cent per unit of
electricity. The cost is low because reserve thermal
generation is expected to comprise new plant with relatively
low capital costs, plus heavily depreciated old plant. The
fuel, though costly, will be
rarely used. Legislation to implement the changes is expected in August or September. Government saw no Treaty breach
The Government advised
the Waitangi Tribunal at an early stage that it saw no
treaty breach when petroleum assets were nationalised in
1937 in the national interest, says Treaty Negotiations
Minister, Margaret Wilson. A report this week shows the
Tribunal has clearly formed a different view but Margaret
Wilson says its recommendations are non-binding. They would
be considered in a timely fashion in order to minimise
investor uncertainty in relation to oil and gas
exploration. Margaret Wilson also dispelled any suggestion that treaty settlements could now be revisited as these settled all historical claims, including any relating to petroleum.
Police using new 'boy racer' legislation
Early signs indicate the so-called 'boy
racer' legislation is working well, says Police Minister
George Hawkins. The Land Transport (Street and Illegal Drag
Racing) Amendment Act, which took effect on 2 May, allows
police to impound vehicles if they are being raced or spun
on city streets. Police have since impounded 86 'boy racer'
cars. George Hawkins says he is heartened by the
overwhelmingly positive public response to the legislation
and by police efforts to educate boy racers on what the new
Act means. A leaflet,' The "Boy
Racer" Act and what it means to you' had been widely circulated. (See www.police.govt.nz) Methamphetamine Action Plan unveiled
The Methamphetamine Action Plan released this
week outlines greater search and seizure powers for Police
and allows Customs to seize unlicensed imports of the
ingredients for methamphetamines. There will be improved
community education, more comprehensive drug monitoring
surveillance data to support enforcement and increased
emphasis on helping victims of the drug. Jim Anderton, who chairs the Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs, says the Methamphetamine Action Plan is designed to control supply, reduce demand and limit the problems that methamphetamine is creating in New Zealand.
More funds for regional skills projects
More polytechnics have lined up to address their region's skill shortages through the Polytechnic Regional Development Fund. Regional and Industry Development Minister, Jim Anderton and Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey announced seven more polytechnics and institutes of technology will benefit from the second round of funding. Tairawhiti Polytechnic, the Western Institute of Technology, Whitireia Community Polytechnic, WELTEC, Otago Polytechnic, Waikato Institute of Technology and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic share $1.068m for projects, which meet local skill and development priorities.
Certainty for Landcare Trust
The New Zealand Landcare Trust will
receive $1.8 million in funding over the next four years.
Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says the funding provides
the trust with the certainty it needs to continue working
closely with farmers and landowners to make a real
difference for the environment. The Landcare Trust brings
together Federated Farmers, Federation of Maori Authorities,
Forest and Bird Society, Fish and Game NZ, Federated
Mountain Clubs, Rural Women NZ and Ecologic Foundation.
Marian Hobbs says the trust does remarkable
work in helping set-up landcare groups around the country and getting communities involved in much-needed landcare work.