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Beehive Bulletin - 5 September 2003

Beehive Bulletin - 5 September 2003

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Wide opportunities for input on foreshore proposals

New Zealanders are taking up the opportunity to provide input into the government's proposals for the foreshore and seabed, says Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Cullen. Government MPs had by today held a dozen public meetings around the country, in addition to the first five of 11 government-called hui. At least 18 more meetings by are scheduled by MPs and the government is also meeting some key stakeholder groups. More than 500 phone inquiries have been received on the 0508 Foreshore phone line and more than 11,500 pamphlets and booklets distributed. (Details at www.beehive.govt.nz/foreshore). Michael Cullen says the government's bottom lines remain: no new freehold title and no loss of traditional access for all New Zealanders to the foreshore and seabed. But within those parameters the government is keen to discuss how public access can be protected while acknowledging Maori customary title rights, where these can be established.

Gambling Act passed by Parliament

This week's passage of The Gambling Act will go a long way towards balancing the potential harm of gambling with benefits to the community. Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins says the act achieves a good balance with its four main objectives of controlling the growth of gambling, reducing harm caused by gambling, ensuring gambling raises funds for the community and community involvement in decisions about access to gambling. Electronic monitoring of all pokie machines would be required within the next three and a half years. No more casinos are allowed and the act also contains measures to control the number of pokie machines. Any venue not holding a gaming machine licence on 17 October 2001 must obtain Territorial Authority (TA) consent to operate. This means a TA could refuse to allow any new gaming machine venues to operate in their area.

Secondary Futures project launched

A unique collaborative project with the aim of lifting the success of our secondary students was announced by Education Minister Trevor Mallard and education sector representatives. Secondary Futures aims to stimulate and share thinking on what secondary schooling should be like in 20 years time and the best ways to improve student outcomes. Trevor Mallard says after years of change and reform, a clear vision of the role and function of secondary schooling is needed. The education community, alongside the government, will lead the charge. The four guardians of the Secondary Futures project are Massey University assistant vice-chancellor Professor Mason Durie, teacher and former Silver Fern Bernice Mene, Dunedin businessman Ian Taylor and education specialist Gillian Heald. The project it is expected to run over at least three and up to six years.

New report on small business

A new report on small-medium enterprises confirms the importance of the government's reinvigorated focus on small business, says the Minister for Small Business, John Tamihere. The report, SMES in New Zealand: Structure and Dynamics 2003, is produced by the Ministry of Economic Development and Statistics New Zealand. www.med.govt.nz/irdev/ind_dev/smes/2003/.)The report highlights the significance of SMEs to the New Zealand economy. Firms with the equivalent of 19 or fewer full- time employees make up of 97% of New Zealand companies and 87% employ 5 or fewer FTEs. John Tamihere says a number of recent government initiatives are improving the capabilities and survival rates of small firms, including this month's release of a discussion document on tax simplification for small business.

Trade round must address agriculture, says Sutton

New Zealand is ready to be pragmatic but without real progress on agriculture, the current round of world trade negotiations will fail, says Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton. He's told the World Trade Organisation meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this week that wealthy countries, which have subsidised and protected their farmers while benefiting from increasingly free trade in industrial goods and services, must show the way. As an essential first step, the European Union, the United States and any others who subsidise exports should take the opportunity of Cancun to agree unequivocally on the phase out of all export subsidies, says Jim Sutton.

Further growth predicted in tourism

The latest tourism number forecasts predict a 5.7 percent growth in international arrivals annually, with international visitor expenditure increasing at 9.7 percent. Tourism Minister Mark Burton says the Tourism Research Council New Zealand's forecasts show the sector is headed in the right direction. Mark Burton says since he established it over three years ago, the TRCNZ annual forecasts have built up an impressive track record of accuracy and provide a solid basis for the industry to use in planning its future. New Zealand's tourism sector already generates close to ten percent of New Zealand's GDP and is directly and indirectly responsible for one in eleven jobs. The latest forecasts illustrate that the industry's future will continue to contribute strongly to the New Zealand economy, says Mark Burton. The full forecasting reports are available on www.trcnz.govt.nz.


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