Beehive Bulletin - Friday, 26 November 2004
Beehive Bulletin - Friday, 26 November 2004
Criminals property to be targeted
A civil forfeiture regime to be introduced by the government will force criminals to prove their property was legally obtained. Justice Minister Phil Goff says the current Proceeds of Crime Act 1991 has only been moderately successful at recovering assets from criminals. Under the new legislation, the Crown will be able to seek a High Court order restraining a person's assets if it can show there are reasonable grounds to believe that person benefited from serious criminal activity. The Court can then order confiscation. No specific criminal offence need be proved. Phil Goff says the new legislation will allow the targeting of gang bosses who remain at arm's length from the actual offending but take the profit.
Investigation into SIS
Prime Minister Helen Clark has concurred with an investigation into the Security Intelligence Service by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. Helen Clark, who is Minister in charge of the SIS, says the Inspector-General, Justice Paul Neazor, had advised her of a complaint from Maori Party MP Tariana Turia about the SIS allegedly targeting members of the Maori Party and other Maori organisations. Any inquiry into whether the service had acted with propriety requires her concurrence. Helen Clark has advised the Inspector-General that the SIS will cooperate fully with him in his investigation and she looks forward to the outcome of that.
More young holidaymakers able to work in New Zealand
The number of young people from overseas able to work while on holiday in New Zealand will increase to at least 40,000 within two years. Working Holiday Schemes (WHS) currently allow 31,000 people from 22 countries, aged 18 to 30 and without children, to work here for up to a year, and for young New Zealanders to work overseas under reciprocal agreements. Immigration Minister Paul Swain says with unemployment at just 3.8 per cent, working holidaymakers were a good source of temporary labour for New Zealand. They are also a potential pool of talent for the longer-term Skilled Migrant Category. Changes to the scheme include removing the cap on the number of WHS applicants from the UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands coming to New Zealand.
More consensus on NZ Superannuation Fund
The greater the political consensus around the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the safer New Zealanders' long-term security in retirement, says Finance Minister Michael Cullen. He was commenting on the decision of the National Party caucus to support the Fund's continuance. National campaigned for the abolition of the Fund in the last elections. Michael Cullen says he'll need to see evidence that National understands that contributions to the Fund are made out of the budget surplus and that money paid into the Fund is not available for spending elsewhere. He will now write to the National Party inviting it to sign up to Part Two of the New Zealand Superannuation Act 2001 which provides for the establishment and governance of the Fund which, by the end of June, will contain $6.3 billion.
More funding for school property
More than 130 schools around the country are set to receive around $60 million to build new school buildings. Education Minister Trevor Mallard says the funding will mean schools can better accommodate increased numbers of students and teachers and provide modern environments for better teaching and learning. In the past, schools have used money from this Property Guide programme to provide a wide range of facilities including administration blocks, a new hall or gymnasium. Trevor Mallard says schools will be able to combine this funding with other property budgets they already have, such as the schools' five-year property programme (for improvements to existing buildings), to add new buildings and upgrade existing property at the same time.
Another milestone for Modern Apprenticeships
The 500th graduate of the Modern Apprenticeships programme was celebrated this week. Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey visited Jacob Taylor at his Wellington worksite and said it was a great achievement for the young electrician and for the programme's work to provide opportunities for young people and address New Zealand's skills shortages. Modern Apprenticeships have gone from strength to strength since beginning in 2000. The government recently contributed additional funding of nearly $9 million over the next four years to expand the scope of Modern Apprenticeships providing for 1,000 extra places this financial year, bringing the total number of Modern Apprenticeships to 8,500 by June 2005.
No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba campaign launched
A new youth sexual health campaign was launched at Parliament this week by Health Minister Annette King who says New Zealand's rising rates of sexually transmitted infections will not just go away. The No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba campaign encourages sexually active young people to use a condom. (See website www.hubba.co.nz). Annette King says while teenage sex is an uncomfortable topic for some, studies suggest more than 20 percent of secondary school students are sexually active. Without condoms, these young people were at risk of sexually transmitted infections and viruses like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and HIV. Annette King says campaign materials also encourage young people to think carefully about sex and to discuss issues with parents and caregivers.