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Beehive Bulletin Week Ending Friday 18 July

Beehive Bulletin – Friday 18 July

Also available online http://www.labour.org.nz

Government position on seabed unchanged

Despite desperate National Party scare mongering and some mistaken media reports, there has been no back down by the government on the seabed and foreshore. Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen says the essential elements of the government position remain; it will act to uphold rights of public access to, and use of, the foreshore and seabed, and to protect Maori customary rights. Senior ministers are discussing with the Maori caucus how to reconcile these two interests. There will be wide consultation, not just with hapu and iwi but parties including environmental and recreational groups and local government ahead of legislation, says Michael Cullen.

Strong job growth in regions
Unemployment is running at historically low levels and there's strong job growth. That finding by the latest Regional Labour Market Reports from the Department of Labour has been welcomed by Employment Minister Steve Maharey. There were 44,600 more people in jobs in the year to March and 156,500 more jobs in New Zealand than four years ago. Across the regions, the numbers of unemployment beneficiaries have dropped. The outlook for the New Zealand economy over the next year is for a lower, but still positive rate of growth. The Department of Labour's regional labour market reports are available at http://www.dol.govt.nz/labour-market-reports.asp

Police, defence personnel and aid for Solomons ==============================================
New Zealand will contribute police, military personnel and enhanced aid to assist the Solomon Islands government. In a joint statement, Ministers said 35 Police officers, including the 10 officers currently in the Solomons, would be deployed for two years. A contingent of 105 Defence Force personnel will include four helicopters and associated personnel; headquarters support staff, logistics, communications, an engineering element and a small medical group.An infantry company will also be placed on standby to assist if required. New Zealand will increase assistance to the Solomons by $6 million this year to $14 million as part of the package of measures to help restore the rule of law and get the country back on its feet.

Agricultural emissions research levy
Government funding of agricultural greenhouse gases research since 1999 has increased more than five-fold and farmers have to contribute, says Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton. He told the Federated Farmers conference this week that pastoral farmers have been exempted from emissions charges until at least 2012. If applied, this could cost farmers around $6000 each. Instead they were being levied for research into emissions at proposed levels of 9 cents a sheep, 54 cents a beef cattle beast, and 72 cents a dairy cow. Jim Sutton says that is not too much to ask when the future of pastoral agriculture in New Zealand is at stake from climate change.

Industry being held back
New Zealanders need to wake up to workplace training, Steve Maharey, Minister responsible for the Tertiary Education Commission told the Industry Training Federation's conference this week. He says many industries are being held back by a view that workplace training only meant traditional 'trades'. Too many young people were defaulting to study in universities when a diverse and exciting career begun with a modern apprenticeship might well be more fulfilling and rewarding. Steve Maharey says this 'perception lag' is doing harm to industry and to New Zealand as a whole and needs work to be turned around.

Support for biodiversity projects
The Conservation Department and Environment Ministry are giving 58 groups more than $3.2 million to promote and care for plant and animal life on private land. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says bush, streams, birds and plants were important for communities and the public funding would be spent on initiatives to save kiwi, restore streams, plant trees, eradicate pests and provide advice to landowners. The money comes from the Biodiversity Advice and Condition Funds and supports such projects as the restoration of the Pauatahanui Inlet near Wellington and protection of the yellow eyed penguin in Otago. See http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz/land/nzbs/land/condition.html

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