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Beehive Bulletin - 25 March 2005

Beehive Bulletin
25 March 2005

Govt to fund offshore education plans

Education Minister Trevor Mallard this week announced the first projects to be funded by the Export Education Innovation Programme. The fund helps educators who demonstrate they have a viable offshore export education plan. Funding has to be matched at least dollar for dollar by the applicant. The Auckland University of Technology (School of Languages) will receive $73,265 to assist with the integration of Advanced English Studies with Jinan University in China; Christchurch College of Education gets $42,975 towards its professional development programmes for English and bi-lingual school teachers from China; Heurisko Ltd will receive a $57,690 contribution towards GlobalFieldTrips.com - a programme providing a virtual New Zealand education experience for students at years 8-10 in international schools in Asia; Victoria University gets $75,000 to assist with the delivery of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation Studies Programme in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The fund will grow to $1 million per

Strategy for increasing oil reserves

The government this week announced a strategy for increasing New Zealand's oil storage capacity. It will hold tenders for additional oil storage to meet obligations to the International Energy Agency to hold 90 days of reserves, Energy Minister Trevor Mallard said. The minister said the decision was prompted by falling oil stocks as a result of rising consumption and declining domestic production. The cost of the tenders will be met by an increase in the petroleum fuels monitoring levy paid by oil companies. Cabinet papers say this will be passed on to consumers, raising the price of petrol by one cent a litre from 2006. Trevor Mallard said the government had carefully considered the submissions on a consultant's report released late last year on options and costs. Tendering best met the government's objectives of minimising costs while avoiding any adverse effects on competition between the oil companies and ongoing investment in the sector.

NZ gift for Charles and Camilla

Helen Clark announced this week that the wedding gift from New Zealand for Prince Charles and Mrs Parker Bowles will be a selection of New Zealand plants and trees for Prince Charles' southern hemisphere garden at Highgrove House, Gloucestershire. Prince Charles and Mrs Parker Bowles will marry on 8 April. The PM said Prince Charles' advocacy for the natural environment and love of gardening were well known. The NZ High Commission in London is working with a UK-based nursery on identifying an appropriate selection of plants. Helen Clark said the success of the New Zealand garden at the Chelsea Flower Show last year highlighted for many visitors the uniqueness and extraordinary variety of our trees and plants.

Economy registers moderate growth

The NZ economy experienced lower than expected economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2004. GDP rose by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 0.6 percent in the September quarter, Statistics NZ figures show. However, the seasonally and inflation adjusted growth rate in the December year rose to 4.8 per cent from 4.7 per cent in the September year. In another announcement this week, Statistics NZ said the country had a $3.11 billion balance of payments deficit in the December quarter. Economists had on average forecast the figure, also known as the current account, measuring all New Zealand's dealings with the outside world, at $2.653 billion. Finance Minister Michael Cullen warned that last week's interest rate rise and this week's massive current account deficit announcement should be the last nails in the coffin for arguments that the government is running too big a surplus. He said it was important to avoid further stimulating an already overheated economy. Rising interest rates and

Govt assists research on housing

Industry and Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton and Housing Minister Steve Maharey this week announced funding of up to $90,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development's Regional Initiatives Fund, and $130,000 from the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand for research on housing pressures in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions. Jim Anderton said a strong regional economy, a growing population and rising property values sounded like a recipe for success. But in the upper South Island that combination, along with low unemployment and sustained skills shortages, was potentially constraining future growt


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