Releases -

By Newsroom America Feeds at 4 Mar 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// Government and industry unite on Mycoplasma bovis

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:47 PM PST

Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor today welcomed a joint Government and industry commitment to funding the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak response. Funding of $85 million for operational and compensation costs for the outbreak response, beginning 1 July 2017 to the end of the current financial year, was approved by Cabinet today. In December last year, $10M was approved. The Ministry for Primary Industries estimates that total operational costs of $35M and compensation liabilities of $60M will be required until a decision on whether or not to eradicate the disease is made. Since Mycoplasma bovis was found in July last year, MPI has spent $10M on the operational response and $2.5M on compensation claims. Industry bodies DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association have committed $11.2M towards operational costs. “This is a sign of a healthy Government-industry relationship and allows us to continue to contain the disease to determine its full spread, keeping the option of eradication open until that decision is made in a few weeks,” says Mr O’Connor. “This has been a particularly challenging time for everyone and in particular those caught up in this disease. The animal tracing to determine the spread is ongoing and poor uptake of NAIT, especially for farm-to-farm animal movements, has slowed this work considerably. “I am heartened by the industry contribution as we work together to give ourselves the best possible shot of getting rid of this disease.” MPI’s work programme is driving to a decision on eradication being made in late March to early April – understanding the extent of the spread through the bulk milk testing and animal tracing is key to this. A significant piece of work is under way to look at the technical feasibility of eradication and cost benefit of eradication versus long-term management. Either option will require additional funding. Mr O’Connor has also asked officials to explore the feasibility and implications of making the North Island Mycoplasma bovis free, given the large majority of infected properties are in the South Island. There are currently 24 active infected properties (which are under movement restrictions). There have been 29 properties confirmed with infection since the response began but some have been amalgamated into one unit, or had restrictions lifted following depopulation and cleaning. A total of 42 properties are under Restricted Place notices (includes the infected properties), 54 on Notice of Direction and 741 under surveillance. A total of 51 compensation claims have been received with 10 paid in part or in full.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Announcement of Ambassador to Republic of Korea

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 02:58 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has appointed senior business leader and former diplomat Philip Turner as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Mr Turner has extensive experience working in North Asia. He has held a number of senior positions at Fonterra, and most recently as Director of Global Stakeholder Affairs. Prior to joining Fonterra, Mr Turner held a number of roles in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including postings to the New Zealand Embassies in Tokyo and Brussels. “Mr Turner’s background as both as a diplomat and a policy leader, as well as his extensive private sector experience, will help us grow our economic links, while continuing to deepen the political and people-to-people ties which underpin this vibrant relationship,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand and Korea are natural partners in the Asia-Pacific. We have a wide-ranging and modern partnership, built upon our shared sacrifice during the Korean War. “Since the entry into force of our Free Trade Agreement with Korea in 2015, trade between our two countries has continued to flourish. There is scope for both sides to grow these benefits. “We work closely with the Republic of Korea on North Korean nuclear issues, and New Zealand continues to support a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Peters said. ENDS Contact: Alex Masters, Press Secretary, 021 809 186

/////////////////////////////////////////// Recovery package for Samoa following Cyclone Gita

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:46 PM PST

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today announced $3 million in funding to assist Samoa with its recovery work and building resilience following Cyclone Gita. “Cyclone Gita brought flooding to low lying and coastal areas of both Samoa’s main islands, causing damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. “There is much work to do to recover from this and build resilience to these storms so the people of Samoa can ready themselves for these events as much as possible in the future. “Funding announced today will be provided directly to the Samoan Government to support the recovery and building of more resilient infrastructure.” The impact of Cyclone Gita on Samoa was the focus of the Prime Minister’s meeting with Prime Minister Tuila'epa and his Cabinet this morning. She was also briefed on the recovery work so far. “The impact of Cyclone Gita has been felt across the region, including in New Zealand, and the Government is committed to helping communities at home and in the Pacific recover as quickly as possible,” Jacinda Ardern says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Supporting women and young people in Samoa to set up business

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:44 PM PST

Women and young people are set to benefit from $6.5 million in funding for the Samoa Private Sector Development Programme aimed at boosting employment, and helping them get into business. The programme is being announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Samoa today. “Women and young people are strongly represented in the small and medium enterprise sector so this funding will have a direct impact on their ability to establish sustainable businesses and help Samoa achieve sustained and inclusive economic growth,” Ms Ardern says. The funding will be focussing on improving the performance of Samoa's private sector through direct support for micro, small, and medium enterprises. “Supporting the development of a vibrant and inclusive private sector in the Pacific is one way we can help our neighbours address youth unemployment, and ensuring women have the opportunity to set up businesses,” Ms Ardern says. “We will partner with the Samoa Small Business Enterprise Centre to provide business development services, mentoring, training, and technical support. “New Zealand will also work closely with the Samoan Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour to boost export opportunities for smaller and emerging exporters, support the Development Bank of Samoa's programme of small loans to start-ups, and support the development of insurance products for small businesses,” says Ms Ardern.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government to consider recommendations for pay equity principles

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:31 PM PST

The Government will consider recommendations to make it easier for New Zealanders to lodge pay equity claims, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter announced today. The reconvened Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles has reported back to the Ministers, recommending clarifying and simplifying the process for initiating a pay equity claim, making no changes to the principles on comparators, and amending the Equal Pay Act 1972 to implement the principles. Minister Lees-Galloway says the working group was reconvened last month to develop further recommendations that supplement the existing set of principles, developed by the original Joint Working Group in 2016. “The previous Government introduced legislation that set unnecessary hurdles for women to make a pay equity claim, so we reconvened the working group to investigate how we can provide a fairer deal for women,” says Mr Lees-Galloway. “This Government is committed to a better deal for women. These recommendations form the strong foundation needed for improving fairness in the workplace for women,” says Ms Genter. “People on the working group are on the front lines of negotiating pay equity claims, and their agreement on these important issues means a lot,” says Ms Genter. Mr Lees-Galloway says the recommendations will soon be considered at Cabinet. “We will consider the recommendations and look to introduce legislation mid-year,” he says. “I’d like to thank the members of the working group, facilitated by Traci Houpapa and led by Business NZ, the Council of Trade Unions and the Crown, for their quick and comprehensive work,” says Mr Lees-Galloway. “This Government believes that a collaborative approach trumps the combative approach of the previous Government.” The Government has recently agreed to negotiate an agreement to extend the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement to the estimated 3800 mental health and addiction support workers in New Zealand. Attached: Letter of recommendations from reconvened Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles

/////////////////////////////////////////// Humanitarian assistance to Papua New Guinea

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:30 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will make an initial contribution of $500,000 to help with the emergency response following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region last Monday. “The rugged terrain and loss of communications in the area impacted means it is taking time to build a complete picture of the damage but we know that tens of thousands of people are reported as requiring humanitarian assistance,” Mr Peters says. “New Zealand is working with Papua New Guinean authorities, the United Nations, donors and aid agencies on the ground to identify how New Zealand can best assist.” he says. A RNZAF C130 Hercules aircraft carrying emergency relief supplies will depart for Port Moresby on Monday morning carrying family hygiene kits, shelter kits, jerry cans, and tarpaulins. “Our thoughts are with the Government and the people of Papua New Guinea as they come to terms with the scale of this disaster,” Mr Peters says. “New Zealand stands ready to assist Papua New Guinea.” ENDS Contact: Alex Masters, Press Secretary, 021 809 186

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