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Beehive Bulletin – 29 July 2005

Beehive Bulletin – 29 July 2005

Election date announced

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that the 2005 general election will be held on Saturday 17 September. Helen Clark advised the Governor General to dissolve Parliament on 11 August with writ day on 17 August and nomination day on 23 August. The government is proud of its achievements and this year's election is about leadership, credibility, and values, she says.

UK Air Services Agreement

A landmark agreement allowing New Zealand airlines to operate unlimited flights into and out of the UK, was signed by Transport Minister Pete Hodgson and by British High Commissioner Richard Fell in Wellington this week. Today, Air New Zealand operates only one daily service in and out of London.

The agreement means the airline can press on with work to introduce a second daily service. Mr Hodgson describes the agreement as the most liberal signed to date by the UK and is another example of the success in opening up international transport and trade links. The agreement frees up the routes New Zealand airlines can fly to, from and within the United Kingdom, and the ability to pick up and offload passengers and freight in other countries, including Hong Kong, on UK/New Zealand routes.

Higher subsidies for sewage treatment systems

This week Helen Clark and Associate Health Minister Pete Hodgson announced the government is increasing its contribution to sewage treatment projects in small, rural communities with high levels of deprivation. The higher subsidies will help pay for new projects and upgrades of sewage treatment and disposal systems. The Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme (Sewerage) subsidises up to fifty per cent of the capital cost of a sewerage system in a community with a population of 2000 or less.

The subsidy rate declines in a straight line to ten per cent for communities of 10,000 people. The new subsidy rate of ninety per cent means more than eighty communities with a population of about 30,000 will benefit. The scheme began on 1 July 2003, with $150 million being made available in Vote Health at the rate of $15 million a year over 10 years. Despite a fifty per cent subsidy, some small communities with a high deprivation index can't afford to establish reticulated sewerage schemes. Mr Hodgson says the public health be

Notice of motion on Zimbabwe

Prime Minister Helen Clark this week moved a notice of motion in Parliament, calling upon New Zealand Cricket to abandon the Black Caps tour to Zimbabwe, and urging the International Cricket Council to exclude Zimbabwe from international tours while gross human rights abuses continue in that country. The motion noted with grave concern the oppression by the Zimbabwe Government of its own people and its gross violation of human rights. Through the motion, the New Zealand Parliament urged New Zealand Cricket and the International Cricket Council to heed the call of public opinion in New Zealand and around the world, and abandon the tour of Zimbabwe.

Maori aquaculture settlement milestone

The Crown has formalised its agreement to settle Maori interest in aquaculture with the official appointment of a Trustee to act as a steward for Maori. Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Ltd is now Trustee of the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Trust, taking responsibility for allocating assets from the aquaculture settlement to iwi.

The agreement was signed by Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope and Te Ohu Kai Moana chair Shane Jones. Mr Benson-Pope says the Trustee plays a key role in ensuring the assets and benefits flow through to relevant iwi. The assets from the aquaculture settlement provide an opportunity for iwi to play a greater role in the New Zealand's marine farming industry.

Mr Benson-Pope says the aquaculture settlement is an integral part of recent reforms allowing New Zealand's aquaculture industry to develop in a way that fits regional communities' economic and environmental aspirations. It specifically resolves a matter around Treaty claims, that if unresolved would have caused uncertainty.

Maize investigation continues

An investigation by MAF and Environment Ministry officials into a potential GM finding is business as usual, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said this week. The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, which enforces the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, announced a single positive GM finding in harvested maize in storage in the upper North Island. Very little information was available on the situation, but further testing and work is ongoing, Mr Sutton says. There have been several similar scares in recent years, and officials are dealing with this in the same way. All the proper measures are in place and the maize has been isolated while investigations continue, he says.

Spanish-Kiwi double tax agreement

Spanish Senate President Francisco Javier Rojo, and Revenue Minister Michael Cullen this week signed a double tax agreement between Spain and New Zealand. Double tax agreements reduce tax impediments to cross-border trade and investment, ensure that businesses are not taxed twice on income earned in the other country, and assist enforcement of the law between the two countries involved.

The new double tax agreement will help to reduce the costs for Kiwis doing business in Spain and for Spaniards doing business here, Dr Cullen says. New Zealand has double tax agreements with 29 other countries, with agreements with Chile and Poland pending.


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