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Beehive Bulletin

Proposals for Maori stake in marine farming

The government has this week met with Maori and proposed a model for allocation of space for marine farming. Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope says the model is similar the historic 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement. Since 2001, a moratorium has been in place on new consents for marine farms to allow for a new management regime, including settling Maori interests. The government intends to provide iwi with 20 per cent of any new marine farming space, and where possible, allocate an area equivalent to 20 per cent of marine farming space allocated since 1992. David Benson-Pope says the government is confident this proposal will address Maori concerns and enable the smooth progression of the Aquaculture Reform Bill. Cabinet will make final decisions within the next few weeks. New passport and citizenship legislation

The new Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill will increase security around New Zealand passports and tighten citizenship criteria and vetting processes. Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins who this week introduced the bill, says the New Zealand passport provides visa free arrangements with 53 countries, making it highly sought after by fraudsters and other criminals. The bill would reduce the validity of the New Zealand passport from ten years to five years to help retain a technological edge over fraudsters, says Mr Hawkins. It would also increase the standard period of residence in New Zealand to qualify for citizenship from three years to five years. Transport changes announced

The policy functions of the Land Transport Safety Authority and Transfund are to be transferred into the Ministry of Transport, to enable more coherent policy development and delivery across the sector. The operational functions of LTSA and Transfund will be brought together in a new agency. Transport Minister Pete Hodgson says both the Ministry of Transport and the new agency will be able to take a more cohesive and co-coordinated approach to delivering on the government's transport strategy objectives, nationally and regionally. Legislation implementing the changes will be introduced later this year.

Police and Immigration Service to work more closely

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), due to be signed at the end of this month between the Immigration Service and Police will not see police target illegal immigrants. Immigration Minister Paul Swain says currently police came across illegal immigrants in the course of their day-to-day duties and would now be able to access a 24-hour Immigration Service helpline about an individual's immigration status. The ability to access this information will be specific to particular cases and will not usher in a regime of police discrimination against people with different coloured skin or accents, says Police Minister George Hawkins. Immigration Service last week removed 47 overstayers from the country with police providing escorts on flights out of New Zealand. Govt boost for gas exploration

Exploration for new gas reserves will be encouraged through a range of proposed new measures. Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says with the depletion of Maui gas reserves, new fields were critical to meet future energy needs. The proposals include reducing the ad valorem royalty rate from 5 per cent to 1 per cent for gas and allowing deductions for exploration and prospecting costs. Associate Energy Minister Harry Duynhoven will lead consultations with industry on these proposals. Any changes arising from the consultation will apply to production from fields discovered within the 30 June 2004 and 31 December 2009 period and will be integrated into the Minerals Programme for Petroleum to have effect from next year. Government confirms support for America's Cup challenge

The government has confirmed its trade and tourism investment in Emirates Team New Zealand's challenge for the 2007 America's Cup, following research showing it will deliver significant spin-offs for New Zealand. Minister for the America's Cup Trevor Mallard says the government is satisfied that a substantial return on the $33.75 million investment will be made, from tourism and trade spin-offs from the European regattas. Increased economic activity from the Auckland-based build-up to the challenge is estimated at a minimum of $85.5 million, and tax revenue at between $18.9 million and $25.5 million. A copy of the research into the potential benefits of the 2007 challenge for New Zealand is available on the Ministry of Tourism website.

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