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Beehive Bulletin – 26 May 2006

Beehive Bulletin – 26 May 2006

NZ sends troops to Darwin

Prime Minister Helen Clark early this morning announced that the government is dispatching an RNZAF 757, a Hercules C130, and New Zealand army personnel to Darwin today. The situation on the ground in Timor Leste deteriorated seriously this week with chaos and murders on the streets of the capital, Dili.

The United Nations Security Council made its concern clear and expressed full understanding of the request made by the Timor Leste government for assistance from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Portugal.

Helen Clark said she spoke with the United Nations Secretary-General who expressed his thanks to each of the four countries for their willingness to assist. The Prime Minister said given New Zealand's distance from Timor, it is appropriate to position New Zealand airlift capacity in Darwin now, to assist with evacuation if required, and with troop transport as required. The government has authorised the positioning of a platoon in Darwin, and the mobilisation of a company which is able to be posit

Regulations review

Details of a broad review of regulations were unveiled by Commerce and Small Business Minister Lianne Dalziel this week. The review will introduce fast-track mechanisms for change, make life easier for business where multiple regulatory frameworks intersect; improve government's own processes for monitoring the impact of regulations; and conduct sector studies, starting with food and beverage, wine, retailing and hospitality.

A Ministerial Group for Quality Regulation will carry out the review, which the minister described as dynamic. An inter-departmental Quality Regulation Taskforce will drive the whole-of-government aspects of the review. Lianne Dalziel said the government had an appetite for working with business to address concerns, while ensuring that quality regulatory frameworks supported New Zealand's international reputation as a quality investment and business destination. The government is also examining international best practice to improve its processes. People who run or work in small busi

Visa loophole closed

New restrictions have been imposed on work permits granted to people who come to New Zealand as guardians of students. Immigration Minister David Cunliffe this week announced that the government wants to stop any abuse of the visa system by guardians of foreign fee-paying students.

This follows evidence that some students were able to avoid paying school fees when their guardians obtained a work permit. David Cunliffe said the guardian policy was primarily instituted to protect the welfare of foreign children who come to study in New Zealand. Under the amended policy, guardian permit holders will continue to be able to vary the conditions of their permits to allow them to work or study part-time, and they will still be able to apply for any permit under partnership grounds.

However, guardian permit holders will not be eligible for a general work permit that would allow them to work full-time. At the same time, guardians can apply to remain in New Zealand longer if they can show they meet the criteria un

NZ declared BSE free

New Zealand was declared BSE-free by the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris this week. BSE is also known as mad cow disease. Australia, Argentina and Uruguay were also given the same clean bill of health by the organisation. Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton welcomed the announcement saying it confirmed what New Zealand has always known, officially granting freedom status from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Jim Anderton said New Zealand has never had a case of BSE, but on issues of animal health that impact on trade, the World Organisation for Animal Health's standards guided the World Trade Organisation. The declaration now means fewer barriers for New Zealand products heading off-shore.

Accelerating the health workforce

The government's work on health workforce development will accelerate over the next financial year, Health Minister Pete Hodgson announced this week. Speaking at a General Practice conference in Rotorua, Pete Hodgson released two reports on the medical workforce and announced plans to 'quicken the pace' of change in graduate medical training.

The two reports released were: the Health Workforce Advisory Committee's (HWAC) Medical Reference Group's Fit for Purpose and Practice, and Training the Medical Workforce 2006 and Beyond from the Doctors in Training Workforce Roundtable.

The minister outlined a number of points of broad agreement in the two reports including: Increasing the number of New Zealand trained doctors; improving the work-readiness of graduate doctors; strengthening the relationship between the Ministry of Health and the Tertiary Education Commission and, improved graduate training in primary care.


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