INDEPENDENT NEWS

Beehive Bulletin

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 02:58 PM
Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending Friday 08 November 2002
Also Available On-Line
http://www.labour.org.nz
Weathertight Homes Resolution Service
Homeowners affected by leaky building syndrome will receive a free independent assessment of their claim through the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service the government is setting up. Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen announced the fee for mediation will be $200 and $400 for adjudication. Dr Cullen said the mediation option is entirely voluntary. If one of the parties refuses to participate or if mediation breaks down, recourse can be made to an adjudication procedure. The
government is also working with the Building Industry Authority on its responses to the Hunn report and is examining future regulatory changes, including mandatory registration for builders. Registration forms can be obtained through the www.weathertightness.govt.nz website
or by calling the toll free 0800-116-926 line between 8.30am and 7pm Monday to Friday.
Business visits by IRD
Senior Inland Revenue Department officials will visit small to medium-sized business operators around New Zealand to hear their views on how to simplify the tax system. Associate Minister of Revenue Paul Swain said the visits are part of a major consultation exercise aimed at
reducing tax-related compliance costs for small to medium-sized businesses and an important part of the government's strategy for the sector. Mr Swain said the government is keen for IRD officials to get alongside small business owners to hear about the complications and
costs the tax system imposes on them, and their views on possible solutions. There will be 30 visits before Christmas as well as a series of 15 focus groups, run by an independent research company around the country. A telephone survey will also be conducted of more than 2000
small to medium-sized businesses and tax agents. A web site to submit views is at http://www.ird.govt.nz
Strong employment growth sees small rise in unemployment
A fall in the number of New Zealanders leaving the country has increased the labour force which, despite continued strong employment growth, has led to a small rise in the offical unemployment rate. New Zealand's official unemployment rate now stands at 5.4 percent – up
from 5.1 percent for the June 2002 quarter. This is despite 3,000 more New Zealanders in employment in the September 2002 quarter, most of which was full time employment. Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said the government is pleased that employment growth continues and that the participation rate of working age New Zealanders in the labour force (66.6 per cent) remains at a historically high level. He said the 'brain stay' factor is clearly impacting on the labour market. More New Zealanders are choosing to remain at home, rather than leave for overseas, and this has boosted the number of people in the labour force. Mr Maharey said 115,000 more New Zealanders are employed since the change of government in 1999. New Zealand's
unemployment is significantly below the OECD average of 6.9 percent.
Prime Minister addresses Bali victims memorial service
Prime Minister Helen Clark was among the dignitaries attending a memorial service in Wellington for victims of the Bali bombing. She told those attending, who included relatives and friends of the three New Zealand victims, that the hearts of New Zealanders had reached out to all those who had suffered and to their families. Helen Clark reiterated New Zealand's deepest sympathies to those three countries which suffered the largest number of fatal casualties in Bali - Australia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. She said the historic bond New Zealand has with our close neighbour, Australia, has seen us
share their grief as if it were our own. Helen Clark said New Zealand was well aware of the effect on our nearest Asian neighbour, Indonesia, and pledged to work closely with it to combat terrorism and its transnational links. She said indiscriminate attacks like the Bali
bombings are crimes against humanity. In the 21st century, New Zealand will step forward to be counted as a nation which stands against terrorism, just as last century we stood against fascism and totalitarianism, said Helen Clark.
Study released on workplace injury
A study on the social and economic consequences of workplace injury and illness was released this week by Labour Minister Margaret Wilson and ACC Minister Ruth Dyson. Carried out by the Department of Labour, WEB
Research and ACC, the study highlights the debilitating effect of workplace injury and illness for the injured or ill employee, their friends and family, workplace, and the costs to society. Margaret Wilson said the release of the research was timely with the proposed amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act due to be
debated in Parliament shortly. She said the legislation was first and foremost about reducing the human cost of poor workplace safety and health. Ruth Dyson said the research would raise awareness of the need for effective measures to prevent workplace injuries. Injury prevention
was now ACC's top priority.
Funding boost for early childhood education
More than 1300 early childhood education services received more than $3.3 million of extra funding this week, in a move designed to help ensure all children can access education before they get to school. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the payments mark the full
implementation of equity funding. So far $5.5 million has been paid out of an $8 million annual funding pool which is available for non-profit early childhood services. The funding targets services in low socio-economic communities, isolated areas, or services that are delivering education in a language and culture other than English.
Savings for government and business from GoProcure
State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said GoProcure, the whole-of-government e-procurement system, will go live in early 2003, at an estimated annual cost saving to government agencies of at least $6.5 million. Government departments, and many Crown entities, will use GoProcure to buy goods and services from on-line catalogues with orders being automatically sent to suppliers. Trevor Mallard said GoProcure will mean suppliers will find it easier and cheaper to deal with government. Only one catalogue needs to be maintained, and only one interface established, to sell electronically to all government agencies. Until now, suppliers built links to many government agencies individually. GoProcure will reduce costs for many small and medium-sized businesses, said Mr Mallard.

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