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Beehive Bulletin - 26 March 2004

Monday, 29 March 2004

Beehive Bulletin

26 March 2004

Beehive Bulletin - 26 March 2004

Thousands more students to benefit from literacy

This week Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced a major extension of literacy programmes in schools. 133 primary/intermediate schools and their 1360 teachers are part of targeted professional development, aimed at lifting the literacy skills of some 35,000 students. The secondary project involves an additional 30 secondary schools nationwide. Teachers receive professional literacy training, aimed at helping them lift the literacy standards of students. Trevor Mallard says that strengthening the capability of teachers is crucial to raising literacy standards. The government's annual investment in literacy programmes is $43 million.

More veterans to Monte Cassino

The ballot had been drawn to select veterans to join the official delegation to Italy on an RNZAF Boeing to attend the 60th commemorations of the Battle of Monte Cassino. Prime Minister Helen Clark this week asked officials to review planning to see whether more could go on the plane. A review of the configuration of the plane means there's now provision for 50 veterans. Other veterans who want to attend the commemorations are eligible for a $2000 subsidy from the government to help pay for their trip

Review of government policies/programmes getting underway

Terms of Reference for the government's review of targeted policy and programmes have been released. Coordinating Minister, Race Relations Trevor Mallard says the review is a priority for the government. It will cover: targeted policy - what was intended and the reasons for it; and targeted programmes - how the policy is delivered and its impact. The review's objective is to give ministers and the public assurance that policy is being developed on the basis of need, not race. The State Services Commission would coordinate the review. A work plan will be developed in consultation with relevant departments and sent to the government in mid-May 2004 for consideration, says Trevor Mallard.

Straight 2 Work scheme launched

The government has launched a new Job Partnership programme between Work and Income and the New Zealand Retailers Association. The new partnership with retailers is called 'Straight 2 Work' and is the third formal agreement between Work and Income and industry under the Government's Job Jolts employment programme. Associate Social Development Minister Rick Barker says Straight 2 Work is a pilot training programme for jobseekers in Christchurch, Manawatu and Bay of Plenty. This builds on the success of a retail programme that has operated in Wellington and Auckland for the past two years. The goal is to place 160 jobseekers across the five regions in the next three years.

Problem gambling strategy released

The government's proposed problem gambling strategy has the potential to make New Zealand a world leader in addressing gambling harm, says Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor. The Ministry of Health this week released its consultation document, "Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm." Damien O'Connor says New Zealand's seen an alarming increase in problem gamblers and in subsequent gambling-related harm. >From 1 July, the Ministry assumes responsibility for the funding and coordination of problem gambling services, as well as for public health initiatives to minimise gambling harm. Consultation document available at www.moh.govt.nz/problemgambling .

Parliament supports Waitaki legislation

Majority support in Parliament for the Waitaki catchment legislation has been welcomed by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs. The Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill was given a second reading in Parliament with the Greens, New Zealand First and United Future supporting the government. The bill proposes to establish a Water Allocation Board to develop a water allocation framework for the catchment and a Panel of Commissioners to decide the significant resource consent applications. Marian Hobbs says National and ACT are playing party politics in opposing the bill.

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