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Beehive Bulletin Friday 18 March 2005

Beehive Bulletin Friday 18 March 2005

Govt moves to secure flu vaccines

Health Minister Annette King said on Friday that another 360,000 flu vaccine doses have been purchased after concerns there would be a shortage of a full strength vaccine this winter. There is still a shortfall of 232,000 doses. Annette King said successful talks between GlaxoSmithKline, the government drug-buying agency Pharmac, and the Health Ministry meant the extra doses of a full-strength flu vaccine could be used in a vaccination programme.

The ministry will announce next week how the programme will be rolled out this year. Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen told Parliament this week that technical advice received by the government indicated that a two to three week delay in the vaccine arriving in New Zealand was not expected to make much difference given the pattern of influenza in the past few years.

Ngati Awa treaty claim settled

The Ngäti Awa settlement completed its passage through Parliament this week. It is the third largest historical Treaty settlement, and the first Bay of Plenty claims settlement bill introduced by the government. Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton said the Ngäti Awa Claims Settlement Act provided for the transfer of settlement assets agreed in the 2003 Deed of Settlement, and finalises Ngäti Awa's historical Treaty of Waitangi claims.

The settlement includes a Crown apology for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, cultural redress which includes the transfer of seven sites of significance to Ngäti Awa and a combination of cash and Crown-owned land of $42.39 million. Representatives of Ngäti Awa were in the House to witness the passage of the legislation. Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said the settlement will help Ngäti Awa move on from the grievance they have carried over the past 150 years.

Growing numbers in industry training

Education Minister Trevor Mallard this week released figures showing a significant rise in the numbers in training and apprenticeships. The latest figures show that 139,597 trainees were involved in industry training and Modern Apprenticeships during 2004, compared with 126,870 in 2003, the minister said. Trevor Mallard said having nearly 140,000 industry trainees was significant for industry.

A 10 per cent increase over 12 months confirmed that the industry training partnership was working, with benefits for employees, employers and industries. Demonstrating its commitment to a fairer and more inclusive nation, the government has doubled industry training funding since 1999 when National was in government. By 2007, $136.7 million will be invested annually.

Norwegian PM makes historic visit

The visit to New Zealand this week by Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik was the first by a Norwegian prime minister. Mr Bondevik had two days of official duties in Wellington and Auckland. Helen Clark said that New Zealand and Norway had much in common, and that the visit was an excellent opportunity to canvass a range of international and regional issues.

New Zealand and Norway agreed on a Working Holiday Scheme enabling young people to work and holiday in each other's countries. The agreement was signed in Wellington on Monday by the New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff and the Norwegian Ambassador to New Zealand Lars Wensell, in the presence of Helen Clark and Kjell Magne Bondevik. The scheme will enable young New Zealanders and Norwegians to get to know each other's countries and cultures, and build stronger people-to-people links for the future, Helen Clark said.

Molesworth Station to be improved

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced this week that the Department of Conservation will spend $2.7 million over five years on Molesworth Station, New Zealand's largest farm. The funding will enhance the 180,000-hectare station as a park for both conservation and farming.

The Marlborough station passes to DOC management on 1 July. The $2.7m will include $650,000 on bridge and road improvements and new huts, and $750,000 on fences, nature protection, weed and animal pest control, fire control and historic heritage management. Chris Carter said that, like all South Island high country, Molesworth was more than just a place to graze stock. He described it as a rich social, environmental and economic resource for all New Zealanders.

Govt launches ocean survey project

Land Information Minister Pete Hodgson and Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey this week launched the Ocean Survey 20/20 project, which will build up a picture of New Zealand's ocean resources and ecosystems over the next 15 years. Ranging over 6.5 million square kms, the project will cover the seabed, water column and airspace of the exclusive economic zone and extend to the edge of the continental shelf.

The ministers said New Zealand's future prosperity will depend increasingly on our ocean resources; such as our fisheries, aquaculture, natural products, hydrocarbons and other minerals. The Ocean Survey 20/20 project will be co-ordinated by Land Information New Zealand and will involve the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, and a number of other government departments and agencies.


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