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By Newsroom America Feeds at 7 Mar 23:51


/////////////////////////////////////////// Auckland employment hubs benefit over 500 young job seekers

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 07:07 PM PST

Minister of Employment Willie Jackson today visited the Auckland CBD Jobs and Skills Hub and the Southern Initiative in Auckland that have benefitted over 500 young workers and rangatahi in the city. “There is outstanding work going on in the Hub in response to employment demands in the construction industry,” says Mr Jackson. “Auckland’s inner city skyline is testimony to the intense infrastructure development that is taking place in the largest commercial centre in New Zealand,” says Mr Jackson. “Since the Hub’s establishment nearly a year ago it facilitated training for 500 job seekers and over 150 people have been placed into employment with early indicators of success, with 47 percent under the age of 25; 37 percent of Māori descent; and 32 percent of Pacific Island descent. “The Auckland city centre, including Wynyard Quarter and the downtown waterfront, is the commercial, cultural and educational heart of the city as New Zealand’s ‘shop front’ for international tourists, migrants and investors. “The Jobs and Skills Hub’s purpose is to support commercial activity in the city by connecting employers and local job seekers, facilitating workforce skills development opportunities and supporting sustainable employment. “The Jobs and Skills Hub is a testament to how good collaboration is vital to improving outcomes for young people. These two initiatives are a partnership between a number of central and local government agencies, construction sector stakeholders, the Auckland Tourism, Employment and Economic Development (ATEED), and community groups. “In the Wynyard Quarter alone, one of the largest urban regeneration projects in New Zealand, around 2,500 construction workers are needed within the next two years,” says Mr Jackson. “It’s been pleasing to hear that the Hub is focused on ensuring that we have those workers in place to support the city’s growth and development projects. “It’s also encouraging to see a programme like The Southern Initiative making significant contributions to the community of South Auckland. “The place-based initiative included in the Auckland Plan works with a range of groups including whānau, local social change agents, grassroots entrepreneurs, local businesses and government agencies to create a prosperous and resilient South Auckland where children and whānau thrive. “It’s important that we do more to reduce a lot of the disparities we have in places like South Auckland, and I like the way The Southern Initiative is doing that through various partnerships and a diverse range of programmes. “The Southern Initiative places a major focus on shared prosperity which can be created by lifting the incomes of South Auckland households through quality and sustainable employment and enterprise opportunities. “I’m particularly interested by the whānau-centric approach that they’ve adopted to build whānau capability, leadership and knowledge. We all know that strong whānau are essential to creating strong communities, and with that, a strong workforce. “South Auckland is rich in job and investment opportunities, but our people here still experience high levels of unemployment, underemployment and low wages. This is something that I’d like to see addressed as the Minister of Employment,” Mr Jackson says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Bobby calf deaths down by half for the second year running

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 06:47 PM PST

The number of bobby calves that die between the farm gate and the works is now down to 6 calves for every 10,000 and that is a victory for our animal welfare regulations, says the Associate Minister of Agriculture responsible for Animal Welfare Hon Meka Whaitiri. “This improvement is just great to see and represents a lot of hard work done by MPI and the industry to improve the welfare of bobby calves. “In 2008 the mortality rate was a depressing 68 calves per 10,000 and that prompted changes in the industry that saw that rate start to fall. “The regulations that were introduced in 2016 have seen the deaths continue to drop every year. “Improvements in the mortality rates show that these regulations, alongside the industry’s own initiatives have made a real difference. “The welfare of calves is a collective responsibility so it’s important that we keep up the good work to make sure calves are treated humanely.” MPI developed the Animal Welfare (Calves) Regulations and implemented four of them in 2016, with the final three regulations coming into force in 2017. “I am delighted that there is yet another improvement in the mortality rates around bobby calves but we must remain vigilant,” says Meka Whaitiri. For the full ‘Mortality rate in young calves in the 2017 spring calving season’ report see the MPI website:

/////////////////////////////////////////// $1 billion of drug harm stopped at the border

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 06:43 PM PST

Customs seizures at our border in 2017 prevented at least a $1 billion of potential harm to New Zealand communities, says the Minister of Customs Hon Meka Whaitiri. Methamphetamine and its precursor ephedrine made up the bulk of the seizures at nearly 897kg. Other interceptions included cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, LSD, Class C analogues, psychoactive substances, plus over 238,000 ‘items’ such as tabs and pills. “I congratulate Customs for stopping over a tonne of illicit drugs entering the country preventing potential harm to New Zealanders. This is fantastic work. “When I started in my role as Minister, I was clear to my officials that keeping methamphetamine off our streets and away from communities should be a big priority. “These destructive drugs would have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the streets – it’s pleasing to know these seizures would have stopped many criminals in their tracks. “More importantly, these seizures have protected our families, whānau and the wider community from a considerable amount of potential harm. “As Minister of Customs, it is so heartening to know the passion and commitment that our Customs officers share to protect this country. I commend Customs and the great job they are doing,” says Meka Whaitiri.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Working group to develop solutions to freedom camping

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 04:39 PM PST

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has announced the establishment of a working group to develop solutions to freedom camping issues. This morning Mr Davis met with 32 mayors and deputy mayors from across the country about freedom camping. “The meeting was very productive and I want to thank the mayors and deputy mayors for sharing their views and experiences. It was really valuable. The issues with freedom camping are not insurmountable and there is a clear willingness from everyone to work together and find solutions. “Freedom camping is a complex area. Freedom campers bring economic benefits to our regions, but the behaviour of a small percentage and the sheer increase in volume of freedom campers is causing real problems for some councils. “The mayors talked about the need for a more consistent approach, including around enforcement and signage, more infrastructure needed in some areas, and the need to look at the Freedom Camping Act. “The mayors fully supported the establishment of a working group – made up of central and local government, the tourism industry, and other stakeholders – to discuss and work through the issues. “I am keen to get the working group established as quickly as possible. We need to come up with some solutions in time for the next summer peak season. Other issues, such as looking at the Freedom Camping Act, will take more time.” Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the establishment of the working group. “This is a significant issue for many local authorities who face significant stress and challenges to respond to seasonal influx of freedom camping. “The Government recognises that tourism is an important industry – it’s our biggest export earner – but it’s also important that councils have the necessary tools and powers to respond when their communities are feeling the impact of high visitor numbers. “Collaboration is key in this situation and it’s great to see central and local government are committed to working together, with the tourism industry and other stakeholders.” The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, in consultation with other agencies, will develop a terms of reference for the working group.

Additional information: Over the last two years, international visitors who did some freedom camping spent an average of around $4,700 and stayed around 51 days in New Zealand, compared with the average for all visitors of $3,200 and 18 days. Over the last three years, international visitors who did some freedom camping spent an average of around $526 million a year in New Zealand. Over the past ten years, the number of international visitors doing at least some freedom camping during their stay has risen from around 30,000 to 115,000 annually. In December the Government announced $14 million funding for 32 infrastructure projects through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. The next $10 million round of the fund will be launched soon. Mayors were invited from Buller District, Central Otago District, Christchurch City, Clutha District, Dunedin City, Far North District, Gisborne District, Grey District, Hauraki District, Hurunui District, Kaikōura District, Mackenzie District, Marlborough District, Napier City, Nelson City, New Plymouth District, Queenstown Lakes District, Rotorua Lake District, Ruapehu District, Selwyn District, Southland District, Tasman District, Taupō District, Timaru District, Wairoa District, Waitaki District, Waitomo District, Wellington City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Whanganui District, Whakatanē District, and Whangarei District.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government to work with Mayoral Housing Taskforce

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 03:06 PM PST

The Government today committed to working with the Auckland Mayor’s Housing Taskforce aimed at ramping up the pace and scale of housing building in our largest city, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa says. The Taskforce is a multi-sector group made up of private sector housing organisations and public sector agencies. It will be a key forum for reviewing and developing housing policy to better address shortages and unaffordability in Auckland. Phil Twyford says there is a strong overlap between the Taskforce’s objectives and the Government’s own reform projects. “It’s great that Auckland Council is taking the lead on this work. Government officials will be doing all they can to work with the Taskforce to implement the necessary reforms. “Fixing Auckland’s housing issues is the key to addressing the national housing crisis. Central government can’t do this alone; we must partner with Council, the community, business and iwi. “The social cost of the housing crisis on Auckland’s most vulnerable – and especially its children – means this work must be a priority,” Phil Twyford says. Jenny Salesa says Council and the private sector have stressed the need for standardised solutions that can accelerate house building. “A key priority for me is developing a skills strategy for the construction sector. We have ambitious house building targets and need the right people with the right skills to help deliver it. “For this to be successful, the sector and government must work together to make sure immigration, training and education are matched by the construction sector’s efforts to be seen as an attractive career to a diverse range of Kiwis,” Jenny Salesa says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Changes to New Zealand Super for Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 01:34 PM PST

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced proposed changes to New Zealand’s superannuation requirements that will make the system fairer for residents of Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. “The New Zealand Cabinet has agreed to make changes to the eligibility requirements for receiving New Zealand Superannuation and the Veteran’s Pension that will help level the playing field for people residing in the Realm counties,” Mr Peters says. “Under the current system people must have lived in New Zealand for five years after turning 50 in order to be eligible for New Zealand Super. We will now allow residency in Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau after the age of 50 to count towards the eligibility requirements. “This will mean that people who are eligible for New Zealand Super will be able to remain in these countries and contribute to the local economy without having to return to New Zealand just to qualify for their pension. “These are changes which the Governments of Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau have advocated for. We will continue to work with them to ensure New Zealand’s superannuation requirements recognise the special constitutional relationships we have with the Realm countries,” Mr Peters says. Minister for Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni will continue to progress these changes as a matter of priority. The changes will take place by no later than January 2019. ENDS

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Zealand explores ties with Mercosur

Posted: 07 Mar 2018 11:39 AM PST

New Zealand is interested in strengthening economic ties with the Mercosur trading bloc, says Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker. Mr Parker visited Paraguay, the current president of Mercosur, on 6-7 March. He held talks with the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Marcos Medina and with Minister of Foreign Affairs Eladio Loizaga during the visit. He also held a working lunch with Paraguay’s new generation of leaders to discuss sustainable economic growth. “As part of my visit I registered with Paraguay New Zealand’s desire to begin exploratory discussions with the Mercosur trading bloc,” says Mr Parker. These exploratory discussions would identify joint interests and strengthen New Zealand’s understanding of the benefits of a potential free trade agreement. “An agreement with Mercosur could contribute to New Zealand’s track record of comprehensive and high quality free trade agreements,” said Mr Parker. There is also considerable potential to use a trade agreement to enhance cooperation across a range of important areas, including agriculture, labour and environmental standards. Any agreement would reflect the Government’s progressive and inclusive trade agenda, which is currently being developed. “A New Zealand-Mercosur agreement would also send an important signal about the value we place on a strong, rules-based international trading system”. Taken as a whole, Mercosur countries, which include Brazil and Argentina, have a combined GDP of US$2.42 trillion. “There is considerable value in developing stronger trade linkages with Mercosur,” says Mr Parker. New Zealand is one of only two observer countries of Mercosur, a South American trade bloc comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Zealand to host World Conference on Women in Sport

Posted: 06 Mar 2018 09:32 PM PST

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today welcomed New Zealand’s successful bid to host the 8th International Working Group on Women in Sport secretariat from 2018 to 2022. The honour will culminate with New Zealand hosting the 8th World Conference of the International Working Group on Women in Sport (IWG) in Auckland in 2022. The bid was a joint effort by Sport NZ, Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA), the NZ Olympic Committee and Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED). “The vision of the IWG is sustainable sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport – a vision our Government shares,” Grant Robertson says. “Hosting this influential event will provide an opportunity to connect New Zealand with the global conversation, highlight our achievements and focus our efforts and aspirations on achieving much more.” “Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the immense achievements of women, and is a call to action to accelerate gender equity around the world,” says Julie Anne Genter. “The hosting of the IWG World Conference and work of the Wonderful Group are reminders of the important role sport can play in this.” Grant Robertson was in Auckland today to help launch the newly formed Wonderful Group’s ‘It Takes Two’ mentoring programme. The programme helps young women with ambitions to work in sport media by drawing on the experience of women already in the industry, in turn empowering these mentors to strive for leadership roles. “Increasing the profile, participation and leadership contribution of women across our sporting sector is a key priority for the Sport and Recreation and Women’s portfolios,” Grant Robertson and Julie Anne Genter say.

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