Beehive Bulletin Fri, 4 Mar 2005
Beehive Bulletin Fri, 4 Mar 2005
The unprecedented drop in recorded crime, the best since 1970 when data collection began, shows the excellent job being done by the police, says Police Minister George Hawkins. Total numbers of recorded crime for 2004 are down 8.2 percent since 2003 - a drop of 36,000 crimes. That's nearly 700 fewer crimes recorded every week, nearly 100 fewer every day. The rate of recorded crime is nearly 22 percent lower than it was at the peak nine years ago. George Hawkins says Police Commissioner Rob Robinson has been given the resources to do the job, including over 1000 more police staff than in 1999. The whole of the police force have picked up the challenge of ensuring safer communities and are to be congratulated for the tremendous gains towards that goal.
The government this week confirmed its plan to invest more than $2 billion in transport infrastructure improvements around New Zealand over the next ten years by raising fuel excise duty by 5 cents a litre from 1 April. Customs Minister Rick Barker says it's hypocritical for opponents to say they want economic growth and road transport improved, then suggest government pay for this by slashing spending in education and health. An average family could pay an estimated extra $1.60 a week for petrol. Rick Barker says this will fund transport improvements in the regions, reducing gridlock, improving living standards and economic efficiency.
The ten-year forecasts for regionally distributed funds (based on population) are: Northland $72.6m; Auckland $715.8m; Waikato $187.3m; Bay of Plenty $134m; Gisborne $21.1m; Hawkes Bay $70.3m; Taranaki $48.4m; Manawatu-Wanganui $108.7m; Wellington $219.5m; Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman $66.4m; West Coast $14m; Canterbury $252.2m; Otago $93.1m; Southland $41.5m
Prime Minister Helen Clark told this week's Hui Tamata that it's most important focus as a gathering of Maoridom was to look forward and accelerate Maori development. The ability of Maori children and young people to stand tall and make a big contribution to our country's development and wellbeing is critical to our common future, says Helen Clark.
Maori have every reason to be confident about their future and about Maori achievements. Only this week, Taika Waititi's 'Two Cars, One Night' - filmed at Te Kaha - was being considered for an Oscar. Accelerating Maori development further will require leadership, commitment, and good strategies and policies. Participants at the hui know that there's no room for complacency, the status quo, or for going back to policies of the past, says Helen Clark
The goal of getting all 15-19 year olds in work, education or training by 2007 is a step closer with the announcement of the first five Youth Transitions Service providers. Youth Affairs Minister Steve Maharey says the Youth Transitions Service will provide career training, job seeking advice, information on educational opportunities and customised support for at-risk school leavers.
The first five providers of the Youth Transition Service are: Whangarei: People Potential Ltd; Waitakere: Youth Horizons Trust / Hoani Waititi Marae; Rotorua: Te Waiariki Purea Trust; New Plymouth: Tui Ora Ltd; Porirua: Porirua City Council with Work and Income's regional office. Steve Maharey says the Youth Transitions Service - in partnership between the government and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs - will be up and running in its first five locations over the next month and in 14 locations by 2007.
A comprehensive package has been announced in response to concerns and allegations raised about the tertiary education provider Te Wananga O Aotearoa. Education Minister Trevor Mallard says it will be required to play by the same rules as everyone else. The government wants Te Wananga o Aotearoa, to be a strong and successful institution but with a future focus on Maori students, the quality of its programmes and outcomes achieved rather than on volume growth.
Trevor Mallard announced the appointment of Crown Observer Brian Roche to the wananga with delegated financial powers,r and a renegotiation of its charter so as to focus the institution on its core functions. Trevor Mallard says the Auditor General will bring forward some components of his review of the wananga. Reviews of pricing, quality and value of courses will also take place across the tertiary education sector.
Mark Burton, Minister Responsible for the Fire Service Commission has written directly to fire brigades around New Zealand to counter "cynical election year misinformation" on the part of some opposition MP's. He's given unequivocal assurance to brigades that there is no plan to reduce fire appliances or services to isolated rural, or any other communities.
The government will not allow any cuts to appliances covering isolated rural communities, says Mark Burton. He expects that over time the Fire Service Commission will achieve upgrades of vehicle replacements in order to ensure the maintenance of current levels of coverage and service and preferably to improve them.