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Beehive Bulletin - 28 November 2003

Beehive Bulletin - 28 November 2003

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

New Zealand needs to work on Asian relationships

New Zealand is not yet maximising its potential relationships with Asia, says Prime Minister Helen Clark. She told the Seriously Asia conference in Wellington this week that the reality is Asian nations matter far more to New Zealand than it does to them. That required sustained effort by New Zealand to update and renew relationships with Asia. Many of New Zealand's perceptions about Asia were badly out of date, with the focus often overly narrow on trade. Helen Clark welcomed submissions to the Seriously Asia Conference, which urge New Zealand to commit to long term, sustainable relationships with Asia, develop a broader understanding of Asia's peoples, societies and cultures, and promote more positive engagement with Asian communities living in New Zealand.

Government to engage with small business sector

A series of events across New Zealand focusing on small businesses will be held in the first half of next year. The Minister for Small Business John Tamihere says the Small Business Day Series will run in 24 centres from February to May. The series will include local business visits by Ministers and MPs and regional Small Business Days where business owners/managers can access expert advice and engage government on the issues. John Tamihere says the message is clear: as a country New Zealand needs to do more to improve its economic performance and the Government is committed to providing effective communication channels with small business.

Trade agreement with Russia

New Zealand has signed a trade agreement with Russia. Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton, who attended the signing ceremony in Moscow, says it will be particularly positive for butter and sheepmeat exporters but covers many other products of key interest to New Zealand exporters, ranging from apples and kiwifruit to fish and fridges. The trade agreement will also help facilitate the Russian Federation's accession to the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand is the first Western country to sign a bilateral goods access agreement with the Russian Federation. The only other country to reach agreement is the Kyrgyz Republic. The Russian Federation needs to sign more bilateral deals with other countries before gaining WTO membership.

Cadetships in public service

A new public service cadetship programme for school leavers has been launched by the Government, reinstating a career path disestablished after the state sector reforms of the 1980s. Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Rick Barker says 100 cadets would be taken on by the Ministry of Social Development's Work and Income service to train as case managers. The Ministry would take on cadets each year. Rick Barker says the challenge now is for other government agencies and local authorities to do likewise and invest in the future of young people. Those interested in applying to become cadets with Work and Income can call freephone (0508 223387)

Is your driving up to scratch?

Drivers will be encouraged to improve their knowledge of the road code as part of a new education campaign designed to improve road safety. Transport Minister Paul Swain says the "Up to Scratch" education initiative will offer drivers simple voluntary tests to refresh driving knowledge, with the potential to win safety-related prizes donated by the private sector. Up to Scratch will be distributed through channels such as motor vehicle and driver licence registers and the warrant of fitness regime from late March 2004. Paul Swain says the initiative is a key component of the government's road strategy, to have no more than 300 deaths and 4,500 hospitalisations a year by 2010. More details of "Up to Scratch" can be found at www.ltsa.govt.nz

Another settlement in Taranaki

The Government and representatives of Taranaki's Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi this week signed a Deed of Settlement settling their historical claims. Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson says the Deed of Settlement was the third Taranaki settlement to be negotiated by the Crown, and the first to entirely negotiated by this Government. Margaret Wilson said people should take heart that settlements are being completed at an unprecedented and steady rate, addressing historical grievances and providing financial redress that would open up opportunities in often rural communities. The Deed of Settlement with Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi includes a formal Crown apology and financial redress of $31 million.


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