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Beehive Bulletin 12 August 2005

Beehive Bulletin 12 August 2005

Record Unemployment Figures

More New Zealanders are in work than ever before, according to the June Household Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7 per cent - the lowest rate in the developed world - with 11,000 more people in jobs in the quarter. Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey says the results are a reminder of how far New Zealand has come in the last six years.

Since 1999, the unemployment numbers fell by 36 per cent, with 273,000 more people in jobs. The figures also showed strong growth in the number of women in full time work. Women's participation in the labour force was almost 61 per cent in the same week that average earnings for women reached a record 86.6 per cent of what men earn.

Excellent Partnerships

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Trevor Mallard this week announced multi-million dollar government investments in six new projects under the Partnerships for Excellence scheme. The scheme, with $40 million pledged by the government for this financial year, forges closer ties between tertiary institutions and industry. Auckland University is to receive $7 million in government funding, and $9.8 million from private sector partners, to build the Institute of Health Innovation at its Tamaki campus.

The institute will focus on making future health treatments and technology accessible and affordable. The university also gets $5 million in government funding, matched by the plastics industry, to build the Centre for Plastics Innovation and Technology. The centre will help the industry maintain manufacturing capabilities and expand expertise. Another government investment of $8.95 million goes into a new trust designed to enhance agricultural and biological sciences research. The trust, to be est

Paid Parental Leave for Self-Employed

Self-employed mothers will be eligible for paid parental leave from July 2006 under legislation tabled in Parliament this week. Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson says the Parental Leave Amendment Bill provides for 14 weeks paid parental leave from 1 July 2006 for self-employed mothers who have been working an average of 10 hours a week or more during either a six or 12 month period immediately before the birth or adoption of a child.

Self-employed mothers will have the same right as employees to transfer this leave to their eligible partners. Ruth Dyson says the extension to the government's paid parental leave scheme reflects the government's commitment to working families. It is estimated that 2,173 self-employed parents will apply for paid parental leave each year. Paid parental leave was extended to 13 weeks in December 2004, will be extended further to 14 weeks in December 2005.

Biodiversity Grants

Wetlands and forests being protected and restored on private land are among 106 projects receiving more than $1.55 million in government grants, announced by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Conservation Minister Chris Carter this week. The grants are divided among 83 projects under the Biodiversity Condition Fund, totalling $1,072,560, and 23 projects under the Biodiversity Advice Fund, totalling $515,140. The projects involve 234 landowners and community groups nationwide.

The grants complete the funding programme (a total $3.1 million) for the financial year to 30 June, the ministers said. The ministers said the funding announcement reinforced the government's commitment to the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy by supporting nature protection on private land. The contestable funds were established under the government's $187 million Biodiversity Strategy Package in 2000.

Tributes to Lieutenant Colonel William Malone

Ceremonies to honour the life of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, the Commanding Officer of the Wellington Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli who died at Chunuk Bair ninety years ago this week, were held in Wellington. Prime Minister Helen Clark unveiled a commemorative plaque and launched an edition of Malone's Great War diaries and letters.

She acknowledged the work Progressive leader and Minister Jim Anderton had put into securing proper public recognition for William Malone who led the Wellington Infantry Battalion when it seized Chunuk Bair and held it all day against ferocious attacks from Turkish troops.

When other New Zealand units relieved them at the end of that day, some 70 of his battalion's men remained. Malone lay among the dead, and although he has no known grave, his name is recorded with more than 300 of his men on the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing on Chunuk Bair, Helen Clark said.


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