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Beehive Bulletin, Friday, 23 April 2004

Friday, 23 April 2004

Beehive Bulletin

23 April 2004

Government agrees to purchase Waitara Lands

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson says the Crown has agreed to the New Plymouth District Council's request to purchase the Waitara lands, subject to several conditions, including the outcome of court action.

The Waitara Leaseholders Association has asked the court to direct the Council to allow leaseholders to freehold their land. Margaret Wilson says because of the importance of Pekapeka to Te Atiawa, and because it was unjustly confiscated by the Crown it makes sense for the Crown to take this opportunity to secure these properties for use in Te Atiawa's settlement subject to the outcome of the Court proceedings.

The Crown would be prepared to include the Waitara lands in a settlement of Te Atiawa's historical Treaty claims. Any purchase by the Crown would also be subject to a settlement with Te Atiawa being finalised. The Council would continue to own and manage the lands until then.

Redevelopment of Kaitaia Hospital

This week Health Minister Annette King and Te Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels announced full approval for the Northland District Health Board's $9.3 million redevelopment plan for Kaitaia Hospital, and called on the community to unite behind the new hospital. Annette King says the Northland District Health Board and the government are committed to sustainable health services in the Far North.

The community will have a development of modern, high quality health facilities. This redevelopment has actually been born out of the community's initiative. Kaitaia hospital will continue to provide hospital services, shifting the focus from surgical and obstetric services toward integrated and preventative care. It aims to reduce surgical services to normal working hours, and will invest more in emergency and retrieval services, improve antenatal care and relocate local GPs and iwi providers to the hospital site.

Success in reducing school suspensions

Programmes to reduce suspensions and stand-downs in secondary schools are delivering impressive results, says Associate Education Minister Marian Hobbs. A new Ministry of Education report shows the Suspension Reduction Initiative (SRI), launched in 2001 to reduce Mäori suspensions, has succeeded in reducing suspensions for all students and particularly for Mäori.

While most suspension cases continue to occur with students in the 13-15 year age range and enrolments increased over four percent in this group, suspensions did not rise, being similar to the 2002 number. Marian Hobbs says changes in how schools manage student behaviour are definitely having an impact.

New Zealand's first assessment of tertiary research quality shows way forward

Results from the Quality Evaluation of New Zealand's research academics in the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) report from the Tertiary Education Commission confirms that our world-class researchers are spread across virtually all the major fields of academic inquiry.

Associate Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey says some academic disciplines in New Zealand - particularly the longer-established ones - have strong and productive research cultures and 'younger' disciplines which are just starting out, need time to develop and build their culture. The minister says focused specialisation, collaboration and co-operation are essential features of a thriving and successful culture of research excellence. The Government has committed an additional $33 million into the PBRF over the next four years.

Schools to have latest Microsoft software at no cost

The latest Microsoft software products will soon be available, at no cost, to all state and state-integrated schools as part of a multi-million dollar agreement struck with Microsoft, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced this week.

This agreement with Microsoft is part of a wider government programme of bulk purchasing of software and licences for schools including anti-virus and Apple software, worth a total of $27.45 million over three years. Schools will be able to tap into a range of core Microsoft technology including Windows operating system upgrades, Microsoft Office 2003, server client licensing, and a range of commonly used applications.

ENDS

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