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Beehive Bulletin: Crime hits 24-year low in NZ

Beehive Bulletin

Crime hits 24-year low in NZ

Police Minister George Hawkins this week welcomed the latest official crime figures, which he says shows that the Labour-led Government's six years of investment in law-and-order is making New Zealand a safer place in which to live. Total recorded crime in the year to June 2005 is down by 7.1 per cent, which translates to 30,000 fewer offences committed over the past 12 months than the year before. That works out at 968.8 reported offences per 10,000 population - the first time that figure has been since 1981. The minister says that NZ is seeing the results of the government's billion-dollar investment in Police, plus the range of policies that have put New Zealanders into jobs, raised their standard of living and given them a stake in their communities.

PM meets top-level US visitor

Helen Clark this week met the first member of President George W Bush's Cabinet to visit New Zealand. Mike Johanns, the Agriculture Secretary in Washington since earlier this year, made a two-day visit this week. Helen Clark met him in Auckland on Tuesday. Their talks over lunch covered agriculture subsidies, the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round of talks, and bilateral relations between Wellington and Washington. Mr Johanns also met with Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton and officials. He told the New Zealand Herald that he had said to the PM that "there aren't any current plans" in terms of a free-trade agreement. He added: "But on the other hand we are open, I listened very intently and I think there were some from the trade community who also made the case. Part of my reason for being here is to be a good listener - and so that's exactly what I do."

NZ steps in to help with Tongan crisis

A team of New Zealand negotiators traveled to Tonga this week to help resolve a public service strike which is crippling the country. Foreign Minister Phil Goff said it was important for steps to be taken to resolve the long-running strike in Tonga. He noted that the burning of four government cars and the trashing of a school were worrying indications of the high level of tension in the island kingdom. The minister said that, at the invitation of the government of Tonga, New Zealand was willing to assist in any way that may be helpful in resolving the strike. New Zealand would be pleased to work alongside other friends of Tonga, including Britain, Australia, the Commonwealth and the Forum Secretariat to respond to requests for assistance from Tonga, Mr Goff said.

Govt outlines acceptable fisheries' practices

Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope this week announced a new government policy that aims to improve the environmental performance of New Zealand fisheries. The government's Strategy for Managing the Environmental Effects of Fishing is a blueprint for ensuring NZ's environmental performance in respect of fisheries reaches the same world-leading standards as our fisheries management, the minister said. Managing fishing's footprint on non-target species, on marine habitats, and on the wider ecosystems in our oceans is to be as important as maintaining the target fish stocks themselves, he said. To do this NZ must be able to set limits around environmental performance, and say what level of effect is acceptable and what is unacceptable. The minister says we have already taken important steps to minimise fishing's impact on marine ecosystems. These include managing target fish stocks sustainably, closing areas to protect seabed communities, requiring seabird mitigation devices and tech

niques to be used in some

Govt hails partnership project at Marsden Pt

Transport Minister Pete Hodgson says the new Future Fuels facility at the Marsden Pt oil refinery is a result of the government and business working in partnership. Pete Hodgson attended the opening of the facility this week. The $180 Future Fuels project involved the building of a new plant to produce diesel with sulphur levels ten times lower than those today, and petrol with benzene levels cut by two thirds. The minister says this will be a significant benefit for the environment and New Zealanders' health. The fact this this investment went ahead in New Zealand, instead of importing cleaner fuels, is the result of the New Zealand Refining Company and the government working together, the minister says. NZRC worked with the government to secure exemptions from the carbon tax in return for moving to world's best practice in emissions management. By reaching the agreement, the $180 million investment went ahead, the refinery jobs stayed in New Zealand, and emissions are being limited.

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