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Beehive Bulletin - Friday, 16 April 2004

Friday, 16 April 2004

Beehive Bulletin

16 April 2004

Westhaven secured for Aucklanders and visitors

The government has negotiated an agreement to secure public ownership of the Westhaven Marina and Hobson West Marina. The deal involved the Crown buying the Westhaven Marina and, subject to Cabinet approval, securing an option to buy Hobson West marina. Prime Minister Helen Clark says while it is not the intention of the Crown to own the assets over the longer term she is delighted her government is playing a key role in securing the marinas in local public ownership. The Prime Minister has been working closely with Auckland City mayor John Banks with the intention of on-selling the marinas to the council, subject to the council's public consultation process

$215 million for redevelopment of Waikato and Thames hospital projects

Work will soon begin on the redevelopment of The Waikato and Thames hospitals costing about $195 million in Hamilton and about $20 million in Thames. Health Minister Annette King says the decision reflects the Government's commitment to the highest-quality hospital facilities for the people of Waikato and Coromandel, and for all the people in the wider Midland region who access high-tech services in Hamilton. All hospital projects now have to undergo rigorous scrutiny by the national capital committee. This places a requirement on boards to present detailed and realistic business cases. The committee was extremely impressed with the work Waikato has done. The final plan is excellent, and a credit to all Waikato staff.

Work Stoppages decline

The latest statistics New Zealand figures on work stoppages show a significant decline on last year. There were 28 work stoppages during 2003. This compares to 46 stoppages during 2002, and 42 stoppages during 2001. Labour Minister Paul Swain says the figures for the year to December 2003 are heartening because they show the number of employees involved and the loss of wages and salaries has fallen compared to the previous year. Statistics New Zealand notes that the results for the December 2003 continue a long-term trend of declining numbers of work stoppages. Last year's work stoppages involved 5,098 employees compared to 23,309 in 2002 and $4.241 million in lost wages and salaries, over half a million less than the $4.979 million lost in 2002.

New Zealand and China to work towards FTA

New Zealand and China will begin a Free Trade Agreement negotiation next year. Prime Minister Helen Clark and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton say the government believes that an agreement with China would unlock significant trade and investment potential for both countries. China is the world's fastest growing major economy and New Zealand's fourth largest trading partner. New Zealand exports to China have more than doubled in the past six years. This is the first time China has agreed to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with a developed country. This agreement with China would benefit businesses already exporting there and create opportunities for other New Zealand companies.

New DNA laws a big boost for Police

New DNA profiling laws that came into effect this week are expected to greatly enhance the Police's ability to resolve sexual and violent crimes and burglary. Justice Minister Phil Goff and Police Minister George Hawkins are confident it will result in more criminals being apprehended and convicted and more historic crimes being cleared up. The offences for which someone may be compelled to give a sample has been significantly extended to cover crimes punishable by at least seven years' jail - such as motor vehicle conversion and some receiving stolen goods offences. DNA samples can be obtained by compulsion from prison inmates who were convicted of serious offences prior to the 1995 Blood Samples Act commencing. Police no longer need a court order to obtain a sample from a convicted person. However a judicial hearing can be requested by people who believe they are not liable to provide such a sample.

Government protects biodiversity on private land

A kiwi crèche is among 139 projects on private land to benefit from a share of $2.6m announced by Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs. The funding has come from a section of the Government's biodiversity fund set up to help landowners and community groups restore and preserve New Zealand's unique species. The grants from these funds will aid the control of predators and restoration of habitats across 43,000 hectares of New Zealand. Foremost among the grants is $100,000 towards construction of a predator proof fence at Bushy Park in Wanganui. This fence will allow a kiwi crèche in the area for use in Operation Nest Egg, the kiwi conservation programme. Two of the largest grants go to Queen Elizabeth II Trust: A grant of to $118,000 will help rebuild fences around covenanted conservation areas destroyed in the recent flooding in the lower North Island; a grant of $383, 545, will pay for weed and pest control on covenanted properties.


ENDS

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