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Beehive Bulletin - 18 August 2006

Beehive Bulletin - 18 August 2006

Te Ariki Dame Te Atairangikaahu

Prime Minister Helen Clark, other ministers, politicians, and dignitaries are amongst those who have expressed deep sadness at the passing of the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Many manuhiri from across the country will be at the tangi at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia (Monday 21 August). "A mighty kauri has fallen. With quiet dignity, humility, humour, and warmth, Dame Te Atairangikaahu achieved a tremendous amount for Maoridom and New Zealand," Helen Clark said.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu's mana brought Maori and Pakeha together; and she was at the forefront of many initiatives, from Maori language revitalisation to Maori education, welfare, and the promotion of Maori culture, arts, and sport. Condolences have flooded in from around the world, with the British royal family, Rarotongan Prime Minister Jim Marurai, United States Ambassador William McCormick and the Peruvian Embassy among those to pay tribute. A condolence book for Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu is available for the public to sign in t Tributes to Te Ariki Dame Te Atairangikaahu:

Nanaia Mahuta's update on visitors and condolences (17 August): here Prime Minister Helen Clark (15 August): here Nanaia Mahuta (15 August): here Luamanuvao Winnie Laban (15 August): here Mita Ririnui (15 August): here

Government launches new Justice package

The government is improving sentencing and providing more prisoner treatment services with a package of measures under the 'Effective Interventions' banner, launched this week by Prime Minister Helen Clark, Justice Minister Mark Burton, and Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor. Central to the Labour-led Government's commitment to a society where all families, young and old, are safe and secure is a criminal justice system that more effectively punishes offenders and uses prisons better. Effective Interventions aims over time to reduce rates of offending -- including recidivisim -- and consequent imprisonment. The package has four key elements:

A revamp of the sentencing system so that there is a more transparent, consistent, and standardised approach to sentencing. This will include the establishment of a Sentencing Council and parole reform The introduction of home detention as a sentence in its own right for lower-risk offenders The introduction of a new tier of community sentences which will increase the number of sentencing options available to judges. These will be part of a clear hierarchy of community-based sentences so that there is clarity about the relationship between sentences in terms of their severity Two new drug and alcohol treatment units in prisons and two further general purpose special treatment units to provide intensive rehabilitative programmes in prisons.The high rate of imprisonment and recidivism are hard issues to tackle, but clearly that the criminal justice system cannot go on as it is. The Effective Interventions website has background information, including reference documents and factsheets:

Government home ownership scheme widened

The government's Welcome Home Loan scheme will from September reach double the proportion of the national housing market accessible to people without a deposit. This decision is part of the the Labour-Progressive government's broader exploration of new ways to help reverse the decline in home ownership rates, keeping the front door open for first-time buyers.

The Welcome Home Loan Scheme underwrites private lenders to give home loans to people on the margins of traditional mortgage criteria. Though it has always aimed to help people looking at the lower rungs of the housing market, the scheme's usefulness has been cramped by a 55 per cent rise in the lower quartile price of residential properties since it originally came into play. To combat this, the government is:

Increasing the limit for lending with no deposit from $150,000 to $200,000; Changing the minimum deposit required for lending over $200,000 from 5 per cent of the total loan value to 15 per cent of that portion of the loan, which is above the 100 per cent lending limit.This means a household can borrow $200,000 without a deposit, and can borrow up to $280,000 in total under the scheme. If you're borrowing more than $200,000, you'll need a deposit of 15 per cent of the difference between the purchase price and $200,000. For more details on the Welcome Home Loan visit: Chris Carter's media statement, with extra info is here

Using statistics to grow New Zealand businesses

The government this week launched a new pilot programme to help small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) use statistics to grow their business. SMEs - defined as having less than 20 employees - are fundamental to the transformation of the NZ economy; they employ more than half a million New Zealanders accounted for an increase of nearly 84,000 jobs nationwide over the last five years, representing one third of increased employment over that period. Statistics Minister Clayton Cosgrove says the "Go Stats!" pilot programme will halp provide them with reliable, relevant, and up-to-date information - a vital tool in achieving even more growth potential. Statistical information collected by government can be tailored to help businesses determine market share, identify export markets and local customers, monitor trends and better target products ... all free of charge, or for minimal cost. If the pilot proves popular, the government will look at rolling it out nation-wide. More information and electronic tutorials

NZ airport security tightened

Security procedures at New Zealand airports were tightened in the wake of the terror plot that prompted the arrests of the 24 people in Britain. New Zealand's system for Domestic and External Security was been activated, and our civil aviation authorities received notice from the US Department of Homeland Security advising of an emergency amendment to normal security procedures for flights into and out of the USA. Our High Commission in London provided advice to New Zealanders caught up in the disruption, and travel advisories and other information for intending travellers were placed on the MFAT website.


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