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Beehive Bulletin February 10 2006

Beehive Bulletin February 10 2006

Unemployment remains lowest in OECD

New Zealand continues to have the lowest unemployment in the OECD, the latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) has confirmed. The quarterly survey, released by Statistics New Zealand, showed that the official unemployment rate for the December 2005 quarter was 3.6 per cent.

This seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is the equal lowest on record, along with the June 2005 and December 2004 quarters. Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope welcomed the news noting that for the 2005 calendar year the average unemployment rate was 3.7 per cent, down from 3.9 per cent in 2004 and well below the 1999 average rate of 6.8 per cent. The total number of people receiving an unemployment benefit has reduced by around 110,000 since 1999. Read more>>

PM in Australia, South Africa

Prime Minister Helen Clark travelled to Australia and South Africa this week for formal bilateral meetings, and for the Progressive Governance Summit near Pretoria. Helen Clark visited Canberra on Wednesday for talks with Prime Minister Howard on a range of international, regional and bilateral issues, including closer economic harmonisation between the two economies. In South Africa over the weekend, the Prime Minister will meet with President Mbeki and members of his government, before attending the Progressive Governance Summit.

Funding helps more children into early education

An extra 344 places for children at new and expanding early childhood education centres will be created with funding of $11.4 million. This investment will increase participation in quality early childhood services around the country, in particular for children from low socio-economic and isolated communities.

The investment supports the rollout of the Government's policy of 20 hours free early childhood education for all three and four year-olds in teacher-led services from July 2007. The funding, from the second round of the annual $20.8 million Discretionary Grants Scheme, provides planning and capital assistance to centres in areas of need. It reflects the Government's ongoing commitment to make quality early childhood education accessible and affordable for all New Zealand families.

Drivers reminded to slow down near schools

A new Police initiative to encourage drivers to reduce speed around schools was launched this week. Police Minister Annette King and Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven launched the new road safety campaign in action, aimed to coincide with the start of the new school year. In the last five years over 1200 child pedestrians have been killed or injured during school terms.

Police will be reminding people to slow down when driving near schools and will be rigorously enforcing speed limits within 250 meters of school boundaries. Local authorities will be focusing on parking offences around schools.

Employers impressed with skilled migrants

A new survey has found that the vast majority of employers are pleased with the skilled migrants they are hiring under the Skilled Migrant Category introduced in 2003.

The survey - Skilled Migrants in New Zealand: Employers' Perspective - has found that 81 per cent of employers are impressed with the performance of their skilled migrant staff. The survey was designed to identify how well the Department of Labour is meeting New Zealand employers' needs at a time of skill shortages.

It particularly focused on the ability of the Skilled Migrant Category to meet the requirements of employers. The Government is committed to working with businesses to ensure that appropriate immigration is one solution to help overcome these shortages and improve the way businesses operate, when qualified local labour is not available.


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