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Beehive Bulletin - Fri, 10 Dec 2004

Fri, 10 Dec 2004

Beehive Bulletin

Modern Apprenticeships numbers increase again

Over 7,000 young people are now in Modern Apprenticeships, gaining the skills and experience they need to prosper in today's competitive economy. Associate Education (Tertiary) Minister Steve Maharey says in the past year alone, more than 1,000 Modern Apprenticeships have been created; an increase of over 15%. Steve Maharey praised the businesses and industry training groups whose support has allowed the government to far outstrip its original goal for this stage. Established in 2001, the Modern Apprenticeships programme provides 16-21 year-olds with opportunities to earn money while receiving on-the-job training that will lead to a nationally recognised qualification in their field. Modern Apprenticeships are now available in 31 industries. More info:

Major boost for Auckland film and television industry

A boost to Auckland's film and television capability is expected to benefit the national screen production industry and help secure further investment. Industry Development Minister Jim Anderton says the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy and Film Auckland will receive up to $2 million over the next three years from Trade & Enterprise's regional partnership programme to help establish the Auckland Screen Production Major Regional Initiative. An economic impact report projects the MRI will help boost gross domestic product by between $32 and $34.7 million between 2005 and 2010 and facilitate the creation of more than 250 jobs a year.

Further prison beds being provided

An additional 240 beds are being added to the country's prison capacity as part of the Corrections Department's management of record inmate numbers. Acting Corrections Minister Phil Goff says the extra beds are needed because inmate numbers have been increasing faster than projected due to the impact of the government's tougher sentencing, bail and parole laws and improvements in the police's crime clearance rates.

The 240 low-security beds will be added to Wanganui, Christchurch Men's , Christchurch Women's and Rimutaka prisons by the end of next year. The new beds are on top of the 213 new prison beds announced last month, bringing the total to 453 beds to be added to existing prisons by 2006.

More families qualify for Kiwibank loans

More families are a step closer to home ownership following changes to Kiwibank In Reach home loan eligibility criteria. Housing Minister Steve Maharey says the household income cap for a Kiwibank In Reach home loan has increased from $55,000 to $65,000. Kiwibank In Reach is a partnership between Kiwibank and Housing New Zealand Corporation to improve access to home ownership for low to middle income earners. Steve Maharey says the income cap adjustment recognises changes in the housing market and the need for people, particularly families, to have greater buying capability. To find out more about a Kiwibank In Reach home loan, call 0800 272 278.

Nuclear weapons threat remains

The world cannot afford to be complacent about the existence and threat of nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Helen Clark told an international forum of Parliamentarians this week. Nuclear weapons were still with us and they were still dangerous. New Zealand's goal was to see the complete, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Helen Clark urged the network of parliamentarians opposed to nuclear weapons to keep up a high level of activity in the period leading up to the Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May next year.


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