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Beehive Bulletin - Monday, 17 May 2004

Monday, 17 May 2004

Beehive Bulletin

Youth to get budget boost

A $56.9 million package in Budget 2004 will cement the government's commitment to provide all 15 to 19 year olds with a kick-start to their working lives. The package includes the introduction of a new youth transitions service, personalised career planning for secondary school students and an expansion of the Gateway and Modern Apprenticeships programmes.

During this week's announcement Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said it's estimated that, at any point in time, approximately 27,000 to 45,000 young people between 15 and 19 do not enrol in tertiary study or get a job after leaving school. The Minister says there are people at risk of long term unemployment.

The Labour and Progressive government made firm manifesto commitments to ensure that all young people get a good start in life. In October 2002 it signed a formal memorandum with the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs adopting the formal goal that by 2007, all 15-19 year olds will be engaged in education, training, work or other options.

$11 million tourism boost for small communities

Tourism Minister Mark Burton has announced an $11 million initiative that will assist small communities to fund the basic infrastructure necessary to maximise local benefits from New Zealand's thriving tourism sector. Government is continuing to work closely with regions and communities to maximise opportunities for economic growth. The minister says tourism is an economic powerhouse, contributing close to 16 per cent of New Zealand's total export earnings. The sector makes a vital contribution to New Zealand's economy at the national, regional and local levels, supporting close to one in every ten jobs. He says rapid growth in tourism can place pressures on some of these communities. New Zealand is forecast to receive an extra 30 million international and domestic visitor nights by 2009.

New Zealand unemployment rate low

According to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey for the March 2004 quarter, New Zealand's official unemployment rate stands at 4.3 per cent. This is down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter. Employment statistics across a range of measures have improved including the number of people in work, an increase in the number of people moving from part-time to full-time work and an increase in the total actual hours worked. Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey says it is good news that more New Zealanders are finding work and these results confirm that the number of jobs in the economy continues to grow - up 17,000 more people in employment since December and 61,000 than a year ago. At 4.3 per cent, New Zealand's unemployment rate is the fourth lowest across the OECD - and is now significantly lower than many of our major trading partners.

Judicial Matters Bill passes into law

The Judicial Matters Bill, which sets out the process for complaints about judges' conduct and the manner of investigation, was passed in Parliament this week. The new law is aimed at enhancing public confidence in our judicial system and protecting the independence and integrity of our judges. Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson says that for the first time the law sets out the exact process to investigate matters that may lead to a dismissal and that this process has never been clear. The new law also ensures judicial independence and allows judges to discharge their duties fearlessly, by maintaining their immunity from suit. Among other issues dealt with by the new law is the increase of the maximum number of High Court and District Court judges.

April Moth spray programme ends

The final aerial treatment for the painted apple moth has marked a major milestone in the battle to wipe out the pest. In July 2002, the Government made the tough decision to support a major aerial spraying operation to ensure the eradication of the painted apple moth by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry. This moth is a serious threat to our urban, native and commercial trees with an estimated economic impact of about $258 million. Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton says aerial spraying has disrupted people's lives, but is heartened and grateful for the support received from the majority of the people in western Auckland.

ENDS


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