Beehive Bulletin For Week Ending
Friday 06 December 2002
Also Available On-Line
New Zealand Transport Strategy Released
Transport Minister Paul Swain released this week the New Zealand Transport Strategy, which will guide government decision-making on transport. It has five main objectives; to assist economic development; to assist safety and personal security; to improve access and mobility; to protect and promote public health and to ensure environmental sustainability. The NZTS represents a fundamental change in the way we deal with transport in New Zealand, said Paul Swain. This is the first time all the modes of transport - road, rail, sea and air - will be looked at in an integrated and long-term way. Paul Swain also tabled the Land Transport Management Bill in Parliament. It proposes the biggest overhaul of land transport funding since the late 1980s. Transit NZ and Transfund NZ will focus on land transport as a whole, not just roads. The bill allows for Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), which give the private sector the opportunity to finance transport projects in partnership with the public sector. Paul Swain said the aim is to secure funding for projects, which might otherwise proceed. For an online copy of the New Zealand Transport Strategy go to http://www.beehive.govt.nz/nzts
State house tenants much better off
Nearly 53,200 low-income state house tenants are now paying an income related rent, saving on average about $35 every week. Marking the second anniversary of the introduction of the policy this week, Housing Minister Mark Gosche said income related rents were putting extra money into the hands of those most in need. On average state tenants have an extra $35 every week as a result of the policy and in some areas of Auckland that figure is between $50-$60. The government's purchase of the Auckland City Council housing stock means about 1700 more tenants will be eligible to apply for an income related rent, said Mr Gosche. The allocation system introduced is ensuring that state houses go to those most in need. Another major benefit of income related rents is that turnover in state houses has nearly halved, from 32% in June 2000 to less than 17% now. People no longer have to move on because they can't afford the rent, said Mark Gosche. The government has acquired about 1600 state houses in the last three years, and there are plans to add another 3000 in the next four years.
Extra places for more than one thousand children
Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced this week that 89 early childhood education centres across New Zealand will receive $8.8 million to extend, upgrade or develop their buildings. This money will create an extra 1343 new places for children in licensed and chartered centres over the next year. Funding is from the early childhood education discretionary grants scheme, which provides capital assistance to community-based not-for- profit early childhood services. The funding is focused on increasing participation for Maori, Pasifika and low socio-economic status children in quality early childhood services. The purpose of the scheme is to assist groups to reach licensing standards or help others to maintain standards by removing health and safety hazards. It is also designed to increase the number of new places available in existing centres.
Strategy essential to tackle cancer
Health Minister Annette King says a strategy to reduce the crippling burden of cancer is essential in tackling this country's second leading cause of death. Ms King has launched a public discussion document: Towards a Cancer Control Strategy for New Zealand, outlining goals to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in New Zealand. She also launched a Health Ministry report forecasting cancer risks and burdens over the next decade, which will provide a stronger evidence base for the Cancer Control Strategy. Ms King said reducing the impact of cancer is one of the Government's top 13 health priorities. Most New Zealanders' lives have been affected personally in some way by cancer. The document, developed by the Ministry and the NZ Cancer Control Trust, encompasses cancer prevention, screening, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation, support and palliative care.
Measures to bolster Auckland police
Auckland has some police staffing issues, but the Government has strong measures in place to address them, said Police Minister George Hawkins. The Government recognised policing was a skilled, demanding job requiring great personal commitment. Auckland had not missed out, with a number of initiatives specifically designed for policing New Zealand's largest and fastest growing city. This included a second radio band, creating 60 more non-sworn positions to free up sworn officers for frontline duties, introducing a modern cadet recruitment scheme with graduates targeted for Auckland, and bringing in 60 to 80 experienced United Kingdom officers. These measures acknowledge Auckland has staffing issues that needed to be fixed, said George Hawkins. Auckland resignations and transfers numbered 772 in 2001/02, slightly down from the previous year, he said. National retention rates at 4.9 per cent and 4.6 per cent in Auckland would delight any employer. George Hawkins said there is movement of staff in Auckland, but often this involves transfers within the three Auckland police districts.
Goff to Afghanistan and Iran
Foreign Minister Phil Goff is making the first New Zealand Ministerial visit to Afghanistan. Mr Goff is visiting Afghanistan and Iran from December 7 to 12. He is the first New Zealand Foreign Minister to visit Iran in ten years. Since September 11, Afghanistan has been the focus of international efforts against terrorism. With the rest of the world, New Zealand has a vested interest in efforts to establish a stable and democratic government there. The visit to Iran has both political and trade objectives. Iran is a major market for New Zealand wool and butter and has the potential to grow significantly. Two-way trade represents $134 million a year. The visit to the region is important in security and political terms as well as economic. It offers the opportunity to meet with key figures and to develop further New Zealand's political security, humanitarian assistance and trade relationship with the two countries.
Anderton announces latest funding to boost regions
The Minister for Regional and Industry Development, Jim Anderton, has announced a new round of Industry New Zealand funding for regional initiatives. The Industry New Zealand's Regional Partnership Programme provides guidance and funding to assist regions identify and develop sustainable economic growth strategies and put these into action. The Auckland Regional Partnership gained $500,000 to implement its economic development strategy. Kapiti/Horowhenua gets $21,882 to research tourism opportunities and $33,165 to conduct a scan of potential and existing cluster industries. Eastern Bay of Plenty receives $65,000 to assist in the establishment of a regional economic development agency. Wairarapa is to get $11,250 to help fund regional economic summit. Meanwhile, Mr Anderton said the first companies, which received Industry New Zealand Business Growth Grants, have doubled their staff numbers and increased sales by 46 per cent in the year since their grants were approved. Since 2001, Industry New Zealand has signed off grants totalling $14.7 m to 231 small to medium sized companies throughout New Zealand. Only one of these has been known to go into receivership, said Jim Anderton.