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Beehive Bulletin - Fri, 28 Jan 2005

Beehive Bulletin - Fri, 28 Jan 2005

National returns to failed welfare policies

National leader Don Brash's Orewa speech this week reveals the same policies the National Party made use of in the 1990s, says Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey. Dr Brash wanted a return to policies based on punishment rather than opportunity. A decade of applying these policies had shown they don't work, says Steve Maharey. The Labour-led government had adopted a proactive approach to getting people into jobs and the number of New Zealanders in work had grown by 230,000, saving $770 million this year. With only 3.8% unemployment, the focus was now on ensuring beneficiaries took every opportunity to get a job, and stepping up mandatory work training opportunities for the long-term unemployed so they had no excuse for not getting a job, says Steve Maharey.

New Zealand marks Holocaust Memorial Day

The world's sense of horror at the atrocities in Nazi concentration camps has not faded in the sixty years since the liberation of Auschwitz, and must not fade, says Prime Minister Helen Clark. New Zealand added its voice to all those mourning the horrifying death and destruction at Auschwitz and other camps. The 60th anniversary commemorations were important in ensuring that the memory of the Holocaust continues to shape the international community's fight against genocide, racism, anti-semitism, and war crimes, says Helen Clark.

$225 million boost for Wellington Transport

The government is to boost transport spending in the Wellington region by $225 million. Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister Pete Hodgson say the cash injection arose from the Wellington Transport Project, a study by central and local government supported by Wellington Labour MPs, the Green Party and United Future. The main areas for extra funding are $65 million for existing passenger transport and $160 million for reducing congestion and improving access. Dr Cullen says the underinvestment in the transport system, which characterised the 1990s was over. Spending in the greater Wellington area is already 88 per cent higher than under the last year of National. Pete Hodgson says the next challenge is to address the Western Corridor (Ngauranga to Otaki) with preliminary findings of a study due in April.

Government gives $333,000 to tsunami cricket series

The government will contribute a third of a million dollars to New Zealand Cricket's tsunami fundraising efforts for Sri Lanka. Foreign Minister Phil Goff says the series against the World XI was a great success in engaging New Zealanders in support for the victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. On the agreed sponsorship rate for the three matches $252,000 was raised; $224,000 from the first two matches. The government decided to increase its contribution to $333,000, the upper level of what it was calculated the sponsorship might be worth.

Regulating immigration advisors

A bill to regulate immigration advisors is to be introduced to Parliament in May. Immigration Minister Paul Swain says the bill will require the licensing of all immigration advisors who assist migrants and asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand. It's estimated at least 1000 advisors may be affected with the industry is currently unregulated and only a small number belonging to any professional bodies. The legislation will make it an offence to provide immigration advice without a licence, with fines of up to $100,000, seven years imprisonment or both. Paul Swain says the vast majority of advisors act professionally and ethically but the government won't tolerate the small number of crooks who prey on vulnerable people wanting to live here. Further info @ www.immigration.govt.nz/community/stream/advise

New 'edCentre' information gateway

Parents' need for information has been one of the driving forces behind a new web-based education resource. Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope says the new education portal -edCentre - provides people with a single gateway to information on education in New Zealand from any one of 28 different Government websites. The edCentre for Parents section, for instance, offers access to comprehensive information for parents to help them plan their children's education and understand what their children are doing at any stage of learning. See: www.edCentre.govt.nz.

New Zealand extends commitment in Afghanistan

New Zealand Defence Force deployments in Afghanistan will be extended. Prime Minister Helen Clark says the deployment of the 120-strong New Zealand-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan Province will continue for a further 12 months to September 2006.

In addition, two New Zealand police officers will be deployed to assist with the training of Afghani police officers in Bamyan. Helen Clark says New Zealand is making a difference in restoring stability to Afghanistan. Failure to stabilise Afghanistan would have consequences for the campaign against terrorism.

Financial support for organ donors

Live organ donors will be eligible for financial assistance from 1 February 2005. Social Development Minister, Steve Maharey says people who donate a kidney or liver tissue for transplantation in New Zealand may be eligible for support to help cover associated loss of income and childcare costs.

This will include donors from overseas. Health Minister Annette King said the initiative was a contribution towards lost earnings in recognition of the sacrifice people are making. It was not offering a financial incentive but reduced the financial barriers to donors. The support will be available for up to 12 weeks from the date of the operation to remove the kidney or liver tissue.


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