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Beehive Bulletin April 8 2005

Beehive Bulletin April 8 2005

Parliament voices sadness at death of the Pope

Parliament has expressed its deep sadness on the recent death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and express its sincere condolences to the Holy See and to Roman Catholics in New Zealand and around the world. Prime Minister Helen Clark who moved the motion says Pope John Paul II was a strong advocate for the great causes of our time - peace and disarmament, human rights and democracy, and equality for all. The world was a better place for his life. He made a difference. Helen Clark says she was privileged last year to meet the Pope personally at the Vatican and he spoke of his hope for peace in the Middle East and his respect for New Zealand as a force for peace. The Governor-General, Dame Sylvia Cartwright, will represent the people of New Zealand at the funeral in Rome.

Crown already owns the beaches

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen has rubbished National's "policy statement" that it would reclaim the beaches for all New Zealanders. There is nothing to be reclaimed. The Foreshore and Seabed Act states clearly that the Crown is the full and beneficial owner of the public foreshore and seabed, says Michael Cullen. The Act also clearly provides that the Maori Land Court must not make customary rights orders that restrict or have the effect of restricting public access rights or rights of navigation. The Whakatohea claim before the Maori Land Court is at an early interlocutory stage only. The Crown will take a vigorous stance before the Court in support of Parliament's intentions in the Act and will appeal the judgement if necessary, says Michael Cullen. Most New Zealanders share the view that the legislation achieves an appropriate balance between the rights of all New Zealanders to enjoy the coastline and Maori customary interests as tangata whenua of this country.

Forestry industry gets $18.1m government investment

The government and key leaders in the forest industry met this week and agreed to accelerate their work together under a new relationship to promote the development of the forest industry. Forestry Minister Jim Anderton says as part of the government and the industry developing a strategic approach for the industry's future growth, the government will invest $18.1m to, matched with $3.8 million from industry. This funding follows last week's announcement that Budget 2005 will also include an investment of $2m over the next five financial years to help promote excellence in wood design in the construction sector. Jim Anderton says forestry has long been a major export earner and employer in regions. It has the potential to become even more important economically and socially, says the Progressive leader.

Targeting quality and relevance in tertiary education

Improving the quality and relevance of tertiary education is the focus of the new Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities (STEP) that will guide funding of the sector in the future. Education Minister Trevor Mallard says every one to three years the government releases a STEP under the Education Act. The STEP released this week sets out the priorities for New Zealand's tertiary education system from now until December 2007. Trevor Mallard says in earlier STEPs the focus was on building system capability; this STEP focuses on tertiary education provision that will help New Zealanders become more innovative, more skilled, more productive and more prosperous. Low quality courses and providers have no place in a publicly funded system, says Trevor Mallard. Funding will shift away from this sort of provision.

Prime Minister to visit Gallipoli

Prime Minister Helen Clark will attend the 90th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli on 25 April as part of a range of visits. In Thailand, she will meet with Prime Minister Thaksin, and be present for the signing of the Thailand/New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership. The Prime Minister will then visit Poland to open New Zealand's first ever embassy there and meet Polish leaders. As the largest of the EU's new member states and the sixth largest EU country, Poland will play an important role in the EU's future development. Helen Clark will then visit Krakow and lay a wreath at the Commonwealth Cemetery and travel to the nearby Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps. In Turkey, Helen Clark will attend two days of commemorative services at Gallipoli and make official calls in Ankara. In Berlin Helen Clark will meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

Bill tackles sexual grooming of children

Paedophiles who groom children for sexual activity will face up to seven years' imprisonment under an amendment to a Bill currently before Parliament, Justice Minister Phil Goff says a new offence of sexual grooming will be added to the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2) when Parliament debates the Bill's committee stage within the next few weeks. The sexual grooming amendment further extends the protection of young people from sexual predators by covering situations where a person contacts or arranges to meet a child, with the intention of having sexual activity, whether or not the intended abuse occurs. New technology such as the Internet and cellphones had made it easier for sex offenders to groom their intended victims. The new grooming offence will allow authorities to intervene and deal with those who sexually offend against children before a further victim is created.

Aquaculture set to grow

The New Zealand aquaculture industry now has a sound platform for future growth, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope. He told a meeting of industry leaders that aquaculture was entering a new era. The passing of the aquaculture legislation last year brought a close to a long and difficult process of reform, says David Benson-Pope. Government had listened to industry concerns and worked hard to address the major issues. The environment for aquaculture development was now more certain and predictable, and the stage set for a period of growth and development in the sector. Aquaculture will generate new jobs in regional coastal areas, says David Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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