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Beehive Bulletin – 8 July 2006

Beehive Bulletin – 8 July 2006

Unemployment Benefit smashes 40,000 barrier

New Zealand's Unemployment Benefit numbers have dropped below 40,000 for the first time in 24 years. Work and Income quarterly figures show that at the end of June this year, 39,572 New Zealanders were registered unemployed. The last time Unemployment Benefit numbers were under 40,000 was in 1982.

"Unemployment Benefit numbers have plummeted 75 per cent since the Labour-led Government first took office in 1999. Seven years ago, the economy was languishing, and around 161,000 New Zealanders were on Unemployment Benefit.

"Today, Unemployment Benefit numbers are below 40,000 - a drop of 22% in the past year alone. Sole parent benefit numbers have dropped 5% in the last year to 93,400, and we've got the growth in Sickness and Invalid's Benefit numbers firmly under control." Said Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope.

"Overall, since the Labour-led Government took office in 1999, combined working-age benefit numbers -- Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Invalids Benefit, Domestic Purposes Benefit - have dropped by over 30%, from 372,000 to 280,300".

More businesses to access Enterprise Training

More New Zealand businesses are now eligible for management training through the government's Enterprise Training Programme, Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard announced this week.

The Enterprise Training Programme is now open to businesses that employ up to 50 full-time equivalent employees, compared to the previous maximum limit of 20 full-time staff.

"The Enterprise Training Programme is a management up-skilling programme aimed at helping the owners and operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to develop and grow their firms. A recent evaluation found it worked well - both in terms of training and also by giving firms good opportunities to network with each other," Trevor Mallard said.

"The Labour-led government is committed to growing more firms that are competitive in global markets, as part of our economic transformation agenda. This training programme is one level of government-funded support that we are giving to kiwi businesses with that aim in mind," Trevor Mallard said.

The programme assists around 15,000 individuals from around 12,000 businesses each year. For more information see

Next phase of meningococcal campaign begins

The second phase of the government's Meningococcal B vaccination campaign began this week, as new evidence shows that the campaign has already led to massive reductions in the incidence of epidemic strain Meningococcal B.

"The Meningococcal B immunisation campaign has been one of the boldest steps in the Labour-led government's work for New Zealand families," Health Minister Pete Hodgson said. "We set out to end an epidemic by undertaking the largest mass-immunisation programme in New Zealand's history.

"With the mass-immunisation phase of the campaign coming to an end, there is a lot to be celebrated - we are seeing more and more evidence that we're beating this epidemic.

"But it's very important that every young New Zealander completes their courses. Those aged over 5 have until 31 December to complete their courses. I urge all families to follow through with their vaccinations as soon as possible."

Pete Hodgson previously announced that Budget 2006 would set aside $22 million to provide vaccinations for all newborns and under-5s until 2009. Figures released in April showed that the campaign had already led to a 57 per cent reduction in cases overall.

Students positive about NCEA

Education Minister Steve Maharey this week welcomed new research on what students think of NCEA and student motivation. The research included a major study commissioned by the Ministry of Education and conducted by Victoria University, as well as NZQA research.

"This research is endorses NCEA's more flexible, tailored approach to learning," Steve Maharey said. "It demonstrates that, overall, NCEA is working well for New Zealand students. Under NCEA, students are doing better, staying at school longer and clearly enjoying the flexible approach to learning that NCEA offers. The result is that more students than ever before are motivated and supported to reach their potential."

Steve Maharey said the research also raised some important issues that would be looked as part of the ongoing refinement of NCEA.

"These are issues and behaviours that are common to any assessment system, including that some students will find ways to avoid working to their full capacity. The difference with NCEA is that we are building the evidence base that will allow us to better understand these issues and make the necessary refinements."

The report 'The Impact of the NCEA on Student Motivation June 2006' is available on the Ministry of Education website

Government to look at further help for Canterbury Farmers

The Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton said this week that that MAF will be reporting to him further practical measures that the Government can take to help snow affected farmers.

"MAF's report will go to Cabinet next Monday for consideration. Any further measures will be additional to the contribution that the Government has already made of $600,000 for response and recovery measures, through the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and the $160,000, provided to date, though MAF to provide the four Rural Support Offices - a total of $3/4M to date.


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