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Beehive Bulletin - 1 October 2004

Fri, 1 Oct 2004

Beehive Bulletin

Major lift in funding for apprenticeships and training

A package to help address New Zealand's skills shortages and build skill levels in critical areas of the workforce was announced by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey. Helen Clark says our strong economy and record low levels of unemployment have created widespread skill shortages.

The package includes an extra $8.9 million to start an additional 1,000 Modern Apprenticeships this year, to bring the total by next June to 8,500. An additional $5 million will provide for 5,000 more industry-training places during 2005. Steve Maharey says industry training and Modern Apprenticeships have proved so successful that demand for both programmes has increased substantially across a range of industries.

Job partnership will put unemployed on the road

A job partnership launched this week will see up to 200 unemployed people trained in road construction over the next year. Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey says the partnership is the latest in the government's Jobs Jolt package. Roading joins the hospitality, retail, trucking and trades industries in partnering with Work and Income to provide unemployed people with entry-level skills training.

Training programmes are already operating in Northland, Auckland and Dunedin, with plans underway to expand to Waikato and Wellington. Roading New Zealand's Chief Executive Chris Olsen says the partnership is an important initiative to avert a potential skill shortage in the roading industry as a result of the government's extra $5 billion spending on transport over the next decade.

Prime Minister says ball now in Israel's court

Two Israelis convicted and sentenced earlier this year were this week deported from New Zealand, Prime Minister Helen Clark has confirmed. At the time of making her statement, there had been no approaches from the Israeli government with respect to the actions for which the two Israelis were sentenced - (attempting to falsely procure a New Zealand passport.) Helen Clark says the ball is in Israel's court.

PM and Defence Minister welcome engineers home from Ira

q Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton were present to welcome Zealand's Light Engineer Group home from Iraq. Helen Clark and Mark Burton greeted the 61 military engineers and support staff when they arrived at Ohakea Air Force base, following the second rotation of New Zealand's 12-month humanitarian and reconstruction mission in Basra. Helen Clark says the government said from the start that New Zealand would be prepared to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq. Working alongside British forces, New Zealand's Light Engineer Group contributed to over 40 projects to restore key infrastructure, including the repair and refurbishment of hospitals, health clinics, schools, police stations, law courts, and municipal and government buildings. Helen Clark says no further deployments of this kind to Iraq are being considered, but New Zealand would consider formal requests from the United Nations for assistance in its headquarters in Iraq.

Early warning system in place at Ruapehu

New Zealand finally has a world-leading lahar (mudslide) response system installed on Mount Ruapehu fifty years after the Tangiwai disaster. Conservation Minister Chris Carter says the multi-million dollar Eastern Ruapehu Lahar Warning and Response System, which includes volcanic flood sensors and automatic gates, was fully tested for the first time this week. There have been 15 lahar-producing eruptions on Ruapehu since Tangiwai and the technology now in place has been available since the early 1990s. Christ Carter says excavation would do absolutely nothing to prevent future lahars and would simply be a continuation of the short-sighted, cheap fix approach taken for decades. He's proud the Labour-Progressive government fronted up with the cash to put a response system in place as soon as it came to office.

Bypass to protect heritage site will be funded by government

The government will fully fund the construction of the Kerikeri Heritage Bypass, designed to protect historic Kemp House and the Stone Store. Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is also Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, says Kemp House and the Stone Store are of exceptional heritage significance and the wider area remains New Zealand's single most evocative Maori-Pakeha early contact site. Both buildings are at risk of being damaged or destroyed by flooding caused by the piers of the nearby bridge, which act as a dam when the Kerikeri River is in flood. Construction of the $10.8 million bypass will protect the heritage landscape and realise more fully the heritage as well as tourism potential of the area, says Helen Clark.

Community forums on drugs get underway

The national roll out of public forums on P, alcohol and other drugs promised by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton in June got underway this week in Manukau City. The commitment, vision and determination of people working at the coalface in communities, day after day, is essential in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse, says Jim Anderton. He'll chair another forum in Waitakere City on October 14. Public meetings will follow in coming months in different locations around the country, the details of which will be released as finalized. The government has provided $2.55 million more for fifteen new community action on youth and drug programmes CAYADs), that get the community involved in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse.


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