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Last Beehive Bulletin Before Election 2005

Last Beehive Bulletin Before Election 2005

NZ tops world in Doing Business

New Zealand has been rated first ahead of 154 other countries, for ease of doing business, by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said this week. The rating, published in the Doing Business in 2006 report, measured the areas of starting a business, hiring and firing, enforcing contracts, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors and closing a business.

New Zealand's top rating was a credit to the quality to our regulatory regime and to the government's economic management, Dr Cullen said. The other top five countries for ease of doing business are Singapore, United States, Canada, and Australia.

Family tax credit increase

Low-income working families will be eligible for an increase in their family tax credit from 1 April next year, Revenue Minister Michael Cullen and Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced this week. The family tax credit tops up the after-tax income of working families making them financially better off than if they received a benefit. The present guaranteed net income level of $15,080 will rise to $17,680 from 1 April 2006, under the Working for Families programme announced in Budget 2004. The threshold will be reviewed and increased annually from 2006.

The change means a family with an after-tax income of $12,000 and which currently receives an extra $3,080 a year from the family tax credit will receive an extra $2,600 a year - or $50 a week - from April 2006. Steve Maharey said about 80 per cent of the families receiving the family tax credit top-up, are headed by solo parents who work at least 20 hours a week. The rest are two-parent families working at least 30 hours a we

Funds for Pacific news service

The government will put $512,000 into a satellite service to South Pacific television broadcasters, the government announced this week. Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said the service includes TVNZ's ONE news satellite broadcasts to the Cook Island, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, as well the weekly Pacific issues half-hour programme Tagata Pasifika.

Steve Maharey said funding of the news service would help strengthen the important linkages between New Zealand and Pacific Island communities. TVNZ has provided news to the Pacific for several years, but recent satellite service technical failures and reception problems have meant that TVNZ has had to consider other options for continuing its broadcasts to the Pacific. Broadcasts are offered to the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga without charge. Government agencies will work with TVNZ to develop future options for broadcasting to the region in 2006 and beyond.

Focus on paua poachers

Increased attention on paua poachers was signaled by Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope, who this week announced a decision to progress key recommendations of a joint working group. The commercial paua industry has worked with the Fisheries Ministry to come up with actions to help manage compliance risks in New Zealand's paua fisheries.

The work was a collaborative effort and the recommendations fell broadly into two categories, those that can be implemented relatively quickly, for example, by way of regulation changes, and those requiring a longer-term approach as we identify technologies or law changes that will need to be introduced, he said. Ministry officials have been asked to begin consultation with the community about those changes that can be introduced quickly. These include: effectively removing a poacher's ability to claim large hauls of illegally taken paua were caught legitimately over many different days; limiting the number of paua that people can take out of the country; a targeted revi

Prince Andrew to visit

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew will visit New Zealand later this month, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this week. Prince Andrew, will be in New Zealand for four days, following a visit to Melbourne, Australia. As Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment (Duke of York's Own), he will inspect regimental training activities at Linton, and meet personnel and families. In Wellington he will visit the Trentham Military Camp, and attend a diplomatic corps dinner at Government House, and later in his visit will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

In the Nelson-Marlborough area, the Prince will visit a NZALR training exercise and open Nelson's Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Prince Andrew arrives on 28 September and leaves on 2 October. Prime Minister Helen Clark said she was pleased that New Zealand will host the Duke of York, following the successful visits by his brother the Prince of Wales in March, and his nephew, Prince William in May.

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