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Beehive Bulletin - 4 August 2006

Beehive Bulletin - 4 August 2006

Success with Working for Families uptake

Kiwi families are taking up their Working for Families entitlements. The latest figures show that in the month of June 2006 there were 70,500 more families receiving Working for Families tax relief than a year ago. Over that month the Government paid out $140 million in Working for Families targeted tax relief. Raising children costs money, and Working for Families targets tax relief where it is needed. About 360,000 families will be better off as a result of Working for Families. For more info: www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz

Mental health workforce grows by 26 per cent

The number of specialist psychiatrists and mental health nurses working in New Zealand has grown by over 26 per cent since the election of the Labour-led government.

The number of mental health nurses has grown by 27 per cent, while the number of specialist psychiatrists is up by 16 per cent since 2000. Most NZ families at some time suffer the effects of mental illness and addiction, but a failure to invest in the mental health workforce in the 1990s led to increased pressure on services and a failure to deliver quality care for those in need. The Labour-led government has re-invested in services and improved mental illness support, this year investing almost $1b in mental health services - a 75 per cent improvement since 2000. More info: www.moh.govt.nz/mentalhealth

New draft school curriculum

The government launched a new draft school curriculum this week. It provides teachers, parents, and employers three months to debate the core values and knowledge for students to meet high standards, achieve to their potential and get set up for life-long learning.

The new simpler document sets out the skills, knowledge and values that all students need in the 21st century. The draft curriculum builds on five key competencies: managing self; relating to others; participating and contributing; thinking; and using language. It also emphasises learning new languages. When complete, the new curriculum will come into effect from September 2007. Further details available on the Ministry of Education's dedicated homepage, here.

New Helicopters Represent Quantum Leap Forward

The government has signed a contract for the purchase of eight NH-90 helicopters to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force's ageing Iroquois. The new helicopters are a quantum leap forward for military and peacekeeping operations, for police and counter-terrorism work and for civil emergencies in New Zealand and the Pacific.

The versatile NH-90 is state of the art technology and will be integral to our newly modernized Defence Force, also equipped with greater mobility through Light Operational Vehicles, Light Armoured Vehicles, the new Multi-Role Vessel, HMNZS Canterbury. Compared to the Iroquois, the NH90 carries twice as many passengers, can fly a third faster, travel 2½ times further, and lift almost five times as much weight. More details:www.airforce.mil.nz/about-us/aircraft/nh90-helicopter.htm

New tourism marketing campaign launched in Australia

A huge new tourism marketing campaign aims to attract more Australians to visit NZ. A new TV commercial features media personalities Petra Bagust and Robbie Magasiva using ipods to show Australians in offices and on the street the latest of what's on in New Zealand. The $6m campaign gives Australians a reason to come now and come often to see key events and experience New Zealand's different regions. Media include TV, print and Internet (www.newzealand.com). The campaign also marks 100 years since Tourism New Zealand opened its first office in Australia.

Prime Minister's Athletes Scholarships announced

More than 300 athletes were successful recipients this week of the Prime Minister's Athlete Scholarships from the New Zealand Academy of Sport. More than 500 athletes nationwide have been offered a Scholarship this year, to pursue studies and reach sporting goals.

Studying while competing helps athletes maintain balance in their lives, and ensures that they have career opportunities after sport. Sport plays a fundamental role in Kiwi national identity and the Labour-led government recognises the importance of investing in elite athletes and in lifting the physical activity levels of all New Zealanders. The Scholarships are worth up to $10,000 each. More details here.

Kiwi TV content up by nearly 10 percent

Kiwis are enjoying more local content on their TVs than ever before, increasing from 6423 in 2004, to 7026 in 2005. Prime time local content is at its highest level ever at 2070 hours, an increase of over 11 per cent since 2004. Also, TV One's local content increased to 54 percent (3551 hours), and Prime TV introduced 571 hours of local content for the first time. The government expects further improvements next year, when Maori Television is included. The government provides $62 million a year for local content through NZ On Air and $15 million to TVNZ to support charter programming. More details at the NZ On Air website: www.nzonair.govt.nz.

Aquaculture industry growth strategy launched

NZ's Aquaculture Strategy, launched this week by the NZ Aquaculture Council, is a strong foundation for growing the sector. It aims to build a sustainable $1 billion industry by 2025. The sector needs to move further up the value chain - average value of NZ aquaculture is $3 per kg, compared to Australia's $20 per kg. Industry growth will come through better use of space, developing higher-value species, developing new technologies, and the diversification into new markets.

As well as developing a whole-of-government response to the strategy, the government is embracing sustainable aquaculture as part of its economic transformation agenda; and establishing an aquaculture ministers' group and a chief executives' steering group. More information here.


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