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Beehive Bulletin 9 September 2005

9 September 2005

Beehive Bulletin 9 September 2005

NZ response to Hurricane Katrina

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced a $2 million contribution to help Americans affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Helen Clark said the contribution, to be made through the Red Cross, was on behalf of all New Zealanders. The funding announcement follows the government's offers to send an Urban Search and Rescue team, a Disaster Victim Identification team or post disaster recovery personnel - offers which were accepted by the US.

New Zealand Emergency management expert, John Titmus, of Auckland, will also lead a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team from a disaster response base in Washington DC. With over 100,000 Katrina evacuees in Red Cross shelters, this was a time for New Zealand to show support for friends, Helen Clark said.

Funding for top researchers

Forty research grants, totalling $4.2 million will go to some of New Zealand's top new researchers in the latest round of the Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarships, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced this week. The scholarships confirm the government's commitment to increasing the number of highly trained researchers and graduates across a variety of disciplines.

The scholarships ensure PhD students have adequate support to undertake research that New Zealand needs to underpin New Zealand's ongoing social and economic development, Trevor Mallard said.

The researchers will receive more than $4.2 million over the next 36 months of their study. Current and past Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship winners will receive more than $7.7 million in 2005/2006. The latest scholarships include a variety of research projects from psychology, and information systems and technology, to literature, anthropology, ecology, health sciences, research and history. With funding rounds twice a year, the next round closes o

NZ top of the world in UK

New Zealand has been voted the best country in the world for the first time at the Condé Nast Traveller Awards 2005, in the United Kingdom this week. Tourism Minister Mark Burton said New Zealand also took out the top overall prize, beating the winners of 23 other categories. Mark Burton said the win was gratifying because the readers who voted for New Zealand are the kind of visitors New Zealand is trying to attract. New Zealand received top marks for scenery, environmental friendliness and safety.

Describing the win as 'amazing', the Minister said that 30,000 readers voted for their favourite holiday destination in a questionnaire published by the travel magazine last year. Condé Nast Traveller is a glossy magazine with a circulation of over 83,000. New Zealand's High Commissioner in London, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt collected both awards on New Zealand's behalf. Visitor arrivals from the UK for the year ended July totalled more than 300,000, up 10 per cent on 2004.

Kiwis eligible for Malaysian military medal

The Queen has given her approval for eligible New Zealanders who served in Malaya/Malaysia to wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal, Helen Clark announced this week.

The Malaysian government wants to award the PJM medal to those who served in Malaya/Malaysia for at least 90 days, between 31 August 1957 and 31 December 1966, including service in Singapore up to 9 August 1965. Helen Clark said New Zealand and Malaysia enjoyed a long-standing and valuable defence relationship and Malaysia's offer of the PJM medal acknowledged New Zealand's contribution to the security of Malaysia and the region.

The medal recognises certain service in Malaya, Borneo and Singapore. The NZ Defence Force will act as the agent for the Malaysian government in administering the PJM award to New Zealanders. However, in some circumstances the Malaysian government will present medals to recipients in person, including next of kin in the case of posthumous awards.

More action on climate change

Two renewable energy projects have been awarded carbon credits under a scheme to bring forward more power for the economy at the same time as taking action on climate change.

They are a landfill gas project in Rotorua and a geothermal project in Kawerau, Convenor of the Ministerial Group of Climate Change, Pete Hodgson said this week. Together, the projects are set to save the emission of over 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Elsewhere, changes the government has made to the Resource Management Act have been applied in the Environment Court as it gave the go-head for another wind farm, Pete Hodgson said. That brings the total number of wind farms consented this year to six with a total output of 488 MW.

New schools for Manukau City

Public consultation will begin this month on a proposal for seven new schools in Manukau City's Flat Bush area, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said this week. The Flat Bush population is expected to grow to 40,000 over the next 15 years, with an estimated 8500 school-aged children living in the area by 2021. Trevor Mallard confirmed a proposal that includes four new primary schools, two junior high schools and one senior high school, will go to the public for consultation this month.

A new school - Baverstock Oaks Primary - opened in the area earlier this year. The government is committed to providing strong public services such as schools that are modern, up-to-date and enjoyable learning environments, Trevor Mallard said. He encouraged parents living in the area or looking to move there, to take part in the public consultation sessions to be run by the Ministry of Education.


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