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Beehive Bulletin - 03 October 2003

Beehive Bulletin - 03 October 2003


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

End of submissions on foreshore and seabed issue

On 3 October, public submissions on the government's foreshore and seabed proposal closed. Deputy PM Michael Cullen said the government would now consider the more than 1000 submissions. He said officials would also reflect on submissions made to the 11 Government-Maori hui, over 40 public meetings throughout New Zealand, and the views of other interests in the community. There will be further consultation with relevant groups in the policy development phase. The government's next public statement on this issue will be its submission to the Waitangi Tribunal's hearing into the Crown proposals. The government intends to uphold rights of public access to - and use of - the coastline and marine environment, while acting to protect Maori customary rights and ancestral connections. More info at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/foreshore

Low-cost primary health care access for one in four New Zealanders

More than two million New Zealanders now belong to Primary Health Organisations, and more than a quarter of all New Zealanders now have access to low-cost primary health care. On 1 October, seven more PHOs came into existence, bringing the total to 53. Primary health care is an important aspect of the Government's commitment to building strong public services. Also from 1 October, all 6-17 year olds - an estimated 297,000 - enrolled in PHOs are funded to receive low-cost health care. From July 1 2004, NZ's 200,000 over 65s will also be funded to receive low-cost health care PHOs. More info at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/king

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LIVE online Chat with Annette King

Chat with MP Annette King, on Food Safety and Health live and online. Get your questions answered and have your say: Wednesday, 8 October @ 7pm. http://www.headsup.co.nz

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Tariffs to reduce after 2005

After a six-year freeze, tariff rates will reduce again. Tariffs constitute a system of duties imposed by the government upon traded goods. On 30 September the Government announced its tariff policy for post 2005. From 1 July 2006, the top rates (mainly on clothing, footwear and carpets) will begin a gradual reduction from of 17%-19% to 10% by 1 July 2009. Rates on all other goods will reduce to 5 percent by July 2008. The government adopted this programme after a careful weighing of the views of business groups and firms throughout New Zealand. Previous tariff reduction has generated improvements in moving up the value chain, in innovation and international competitiveness. These benefits need to be balanced against economic adjustment pressures - particularly in certain regions - the reason why the reduction will be gradual. More info at: http://www.med.govt.nz

New Crimes Amendment Act

The new Crimes Amendment Act 2003 came into effect on 1 October. It extends the offence of burglary, removing the requirement of a 'break' and including the current 'entering with intent' offence. It introduces the offence of 'taking, obtaining or copying trade secrets'. Extortion is renamed as blackmail and now covers threats of disclosure and threats to cause serious damage or endanger personal safety. 'False pretences and credit by fraud' is replaced by the offence of 'obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception'. New computer related offences including clarification of crimes involving computers and taking or obtaining trade secrets. It is now an offence to access a computer for dishonest purposes, damage or interfere with a computer system, make, sell, distribute or possess software to commit a crime or to access a computer system without authorisation.

New immigration partnership rules

From 29 September, de facto partners seeking New Zealand residence will be treated the same as married couples under new immigration rules. Under current requirements, to qualify for residence, de facto couples must demonstrate they have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least two years. Marriages, however, can be recognised immediately. The rules are changing because it is the existence of a genuine and stable relationship that is relevant, whether or not the couple is married. The new rules are that the applicant must provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a visa or immigration officer they have been living together in a genuine and stable partnership for 12 months or more at the time they lodge the application.

DoC proposes 250km of new walking tracks

This week the Department of Conservation announced proposals to build 250km of new walking tracks across New Zealand over the next ten years. It also proposes to upgrade or replace another 499 tracks spanning over 1900km, and upgrade, build or replace over 90 huts as part of a major revamp of the recreational infrastructure provided on conservation land. The plans are laid out in 13 regional plans and a national overview to be circulated for consultation. Thanks to the Labour-Progressive Government's investment of $349m in DoC's visitor facilities announced in the 2002/2003 budget, the tracks will be revamped and reorganised to better meet the recreational needs of all New Zealanders and the economies of our regions. More info: http://www.doc.govt.nz

New policy to tackle growing air pollution from vehicle emissions

The Labour-Progressive Government wants to reduce growing air pollution from motor vehicle emissions in New Zealand. Air pollution from motor vehicles contributes to serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease and bronchitis, and around 400 people die prematurely each year due to exposure to vehicle emissions. The following initiatives will be introduced: emissions screening at the border of pre-used imported vehicles; Emissions screening of in-service vehicles regularly during their life; and education of vehicle users on regular vehicle maintenance and repair. More info: http://www.transport.govt.nz

ENDS

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