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Beehive Bulletin 29 April 2006

Beehive Bulletin 29 April 2006

Moving towards free-to-air digital TV

The government has asked TVNZ to explore a cooperative approach with other broadcasters to make the transition to digital broadcasting. Broadcast Minister Steve Maharey said this week that TVNZ has brought together a group of free-to-air broadcasters to develop proposals for a jointly run digital platform called 'Freeview' - based on the successful BBC-led model featuring a package of existing channels and new services.

The government, having identified digital broadcasting as a priority, is expected to consider proposals in the next couple of months with a view to shifting to digital starting later in the year. Steve Maharey said the government would continue to prioritise development of TVNZ as a public broadcaster. TVNZ has made a major shift in focus over the last couple of years with the introduction of its charter. This is increasingly reflected in the quality of programming, including more high quality local content. TVNZ is also continuing to provide a good commercial return with strong ratings t

Helping more into work

Comprehensive employment help will be available to all Work and Income clients regardless of their benefit type under a new case management approach launched this week by Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope. The change reshapes Work and Income services to provide comprehensive employment help to all clients. Previously, the type of benefit a person received determined which services Work and Income could offer that client. From next month, all new Work and Income clients will be case managed differently to improve the focus on getting people into the right job at the right time, from the start - the starting point being what a person can do rather than which benefit they are entitled to. Beneficiary numbers have dropped 30 per cent under a Labour-led government and while there will always be people for whom work is not an option, most people on benefits want to, and with the right support, are able to work, he said.

Prepared for disasters

A major new classroom initiative to help kids survive a disaster was launched by Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker this week. Fronted by a cartoon dog character Stan, the curriculum based teaching programme, 'What's the Plan Stan?' uses role-playing, quizzes, an inter-active CDROM, stories and colourful cartoons to deliver messages about preparing for tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. Rick Barker said it had been almost twenty years since the last resource was developed and teachers have been asking for new material. The government is investing heavily in the civil defence sector, with more than $6 million allocated for public education alone in last year's budget. Rick Barker said the campaign would give kids life-saving knowledge that he hoped would be shared at home with parents and families.

Gallipoli artist in residence

New Zealand artist and ta moko expert Derek Lardelli will be the first recipient of a new artist in residence programme, based near the Gallipoli peninsula, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this week. Helen Clark, also Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said the new residency will provide an opportunity for Kiwi artists to create a fresh way of looking at the Gallipoli campaign. The aim is for the artists to produce work that projects a new perspective on the site of a battle, which was a seminal event in shaping the nationhood of both Turkey and New Zealand, she said.

Derek Lardelli's talents include multimedia, sculpture, composing, Kapa Haka and graphic arts. He is a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate award recipient and recently created the motif on the Zambesi-designed Air New Zealand uniform and the design to be incorporated with the koru on the Air NZ fleet. He composed the new All Black haka and created the design worn by Commonwealth Games athletes in Melbourne this year. His iwi affi

A new Supreme Court home

In his role as Courts Minister, Rick Barker this week unveiled a high-level design concept for a purpose-built home for the Supreme Court. Creating a permanent home for the highest court in New Zealand, was an important development in the continued strengthening of New Zealand's national identity, he said. The design concept proposes developing vacant land adjacent to the existing Old High Court building, building a new low-rise building and full restoration of the Old High Court building with a link between the two buildings and landscaped grounds for public use. Detailed design options will be presented to Cabinet by 31 August 2006. The Supreme Court replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London as New Zealand's highest court on 1 January 2004.

Helping farmers go organic

A $2.2 million three-year funding programme to set up an organics advisory service was announced by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton and Green Party Organics spokesperson Sue Kedgley this week. The programme, which will provide research and advice to farmers converting to organic production, meets a post-election agreement between Labour and the Greens. Jim Anderton said organics had developed a niche and was becoming an increasingly realistic option for farmers looking for alternative markets.

ENDS

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