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Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 11 July

Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 11 July 2003

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

Government deal with Toll Holdings

The government has negotiated a deal with Toll Holdings under which the Crown will regain ownership of the track for $1 and both parties will commit to rebuilding the rail network. Finance Minister Michael Cullen says the draft Heads of Agreement will be activated if Toll Holdings buys Tranz Rail. It includes incentives to encourage Toll to shift freight from road to rail. The government will invest $200 million to upgrade the rail network. Toll will invest $100 million in rolling stock. If Toll's acquisition bid fail, the Crown's deal with Tranz Rail remains alive and will be referred for approval to Tranz Rail shareholders, says Michael Cullen.

No Government appeal on seabed case

The Government will not appeal the Court of Appeal's decision in the foreshore and seabed case. A statement from Attorney-General Margaret Wilson says it was unlikely that a single court decision could provide adequate answers to the questions raised by the Court of Appeal ruling. The government believes these can best be addressed by working and talking through the issues. The aim is to develop policy .which acknowledges and protects Maori customary rights and protects the public interest, including the ability of all New Zealanders to enjoy traditional access to, and use of, the seabed and foreshore.

Deployment to Afghanistan

The deployment of New Zealand service men and women on a twelve-month mission to Afghanistan was announced this week. Defence Minister Mark Burton says about 100 NZDF personnel will form a Provincial Reconstruction Team PRT), based in Bamian, about 200 km north-west of Kabul The PRT will be New Zealand-led, with a focus on enhancing the security environment and promoting reconstruction efforts. It will include a small number of infantry soldiers for protection, and all military personnel will carry personal weapons for self-defence. Leading a PRT is another significant addition to New Zealand's contribution to the fight against terrorism, says Mark Burton

Government acts on dodgy investment schemes

Three Tauranga-based corporations and three individuals have been placed into statutory management following an urgent meeting of government ministers. The statutory management applies to Asset Protection, International Investment Unit Trust, Timberland Trust, and Donald Moris Rea, Catherine Linda Trezona and Lisa Shirlee Talbot. Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel says the Securities Commission advised these corporations and individuals appear to have been illegally raising funds in schemes, which promise substantial returns on fake investments. Lianne Dalziel urges anyone who's invested in one of these schemes to contact the statutory manager Contact: Vivian Fatupaito, Ph 09 355 8689 or email: vivian.fatupaito@nz.pwc.com

Pharmac dispensing decision welcomed

Pharmac's decision to give flexibility to doctors in dispensing prescriptions has been welcomed by Health Minister Annette King. A patient and doctor can decide it is better to get a prescription a month at a time, rather than three months. Annette King says Pharmac has heeded many of the 2500 submissions it received in reaching a constructive decision. The thorough consultation process gives her confidence the new system will work well. Annette King also welcomes the extra $132 million District Health Boards will receive over the next five years for more health care as a result of Pharmac's decision.

Helen Clark at London summit

Prime Minister Helen Clark was this week joining 14 other heads of government at the Progressive Governance Summit in London following an official visit to Wales. The Progressive Governance Summit brings together broadly likeminded heads of government. This year Tony Blair is hosting it. The agenda ranges widely over economic and social policy, including migration, and international affairs. Helen Clark was also attending New Zealand show case events including the London premiere of "Whale Rider" and the Toast Life New Zealand wine and food festival.

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