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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 27 June

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 27 June 2003

Government works to resolve foreshore/seabed issues

The government has outlined how it will approach resolving foreshore and seabed issues flowing from a Court of Appeal decision. A statement from Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen says the government will uphold rights of public access to, and use of, the foreshore and seabed. It will also act to protect Maori customary rights, to the extent they are not already. A group of senior ministers, headed by Michael Cullen, and the Maori caucus, which has an electoral mandate to represent Maori, will discuss how to reconcile these two interests. The objective is to acknowledge and protect Maori customary rights while also protecting the public interest, including the ability to enjoy traditional access to the foreshore. With goodwill between the Treaty partners, the government believes an outcome that is fair to all can be achieved.

Further government action on housing buy-back schemes

Possible changes to the Consumer Credit Bill to provide legislative cover for housing buy-back schemes is being investigated by the government. This follows the government's move on June 20 to place eight finance and property companies under statutory management. Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel and Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard say these are not the only companies implicated in schemes where consumers intending to refinance their mortgage have instead signed over the title to their home. People are being urged to come forward to help determine the extent of these schemes. (Freephone:0508 468 732 (0508 HOUSEBUYBACK)

GDP figures 'bang-on"

The latest GDP figures are "bang-on" with budget forecasts and reinforce confidence in the budget growth track, says Finance Minister Michael Cullen. The March GDP results show growth in the quarter of 0.6 per cent and an annual growth rate for the March year of 4.3 per cent. Michael Cullen says the quarterly result, although strong, is lower than in the previous two quarters, which recorded increases of 0.8 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively. This is consistent with the Treasury growth profile, which has the economy entering a slow down. The budget forecasts growth slowing to 2.2 per cent before rebounding to 3.2 per cent in 2004-05.

Launch of Injury Prevention Strategy

The New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy launched this week provides a framework to make New Zealand a safer place. ACC Minister Ruth Dyson says its aim was to promote a positive safety culture and create safe environments. On average, four people die each day as a result of injury and around 3,800 are injured badly enough to seek medical help. Injury rates could be reduced, as shown by positive results in initiatives such as falls prevention programmes. The Injury Prevention Strategy shows the government's commitment to work with organisations in the wider community to prevent injuries, says Ruth Dyson.

Revision of Closer Defence Relations

A new statement on Closer Defence Relations between Australia and New Zealand was released following the annual meeting between Defence Ministers Mark Burton and Robert Hill in Canberra. Mark Burton says the revision of the 1998 joint statement ensures a contemporary focus for our alliance and security partnership. The revised statement emphasizes the need for the Defence Forces to be interoperable so they can work together effectively, acknowledges responsibility to support the principles of the United Nations Charter and sets out the principles, which guide the defence relationship. The Ministers noted good progress in the eight areas that they identified last year for closer collaboration between the Australian and New Zealand.

Solomon's situation to dominate meetings

Foreign Minister Phil Goff expects his regular six- monthly consultations with Australian counterpart Alexander Downer this weekend to include discussion on the deteriorating situation in the Solomon's. Phil Goff says the response to any formal request for assistance from the Solomon Islands Government and Parliament, will clearly dominate the agenda of this weekend's meeting and a special meeting of Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers in Sydney on June 30. New Zealand and Australia have been concerned for some time about the deteriorating situation in the Solomon's. Monday's meeting will allow Pacific Island nations to express their views on how the Pacific Forum can best respond to this situation, says Phil Mr Goff.

New plan on hazardous substances

The government has released a plan to reduce the cost of complying with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act without compromising safety and the environment. Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs says the HSNO Act, which came into force in July 2001, was an innovative way of regulating hazardous substances but there have been some areas of concern. The Hazardous Substances Strategy was a comprehensive package to simplify the transfer process for existing substances, reduce application costs for new substances and improve the compliance and enforcement of HSNO. Marian Hobbs says the strategy will directly address the concerns raised in a HSNO costs survey of businesses and research groups.

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