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By Newsroom America Feeds at 10 Apr 01:51


/////////////////////////////////////////// Gay men can now apply to have historic convictions wiped

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 10:03 PM PDT

In an important moment for New Zealand’s gay community men can now apply to have historical homosexual convictions wiped says Justice Minister Andrew Little. The application scheme can now be accessed via the Justice website. "This means that men and the families of those who have since passed away who were convicted of specific offences that were decriminalised by the Homosexual Reform Act 1986, can now apply to be treated as if they had never been convicted. “The key element of the application process is showing that conduct that led to the conviction is no longer illegal. “The applicant should supply as much detail and supporting information including, old documentation or newspaper clippings. “However, all applications will be considered. The Ministry of Justice will work with the courts, the Police and Archives New Zealand to gather information on the official record of the convictions. “The Secretary for Justice must then be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the conduct would not be an offence under today’s law when making the decision on whether to wipe the conviction or not. “The wiping of these convictions is a significant step forward for men with historical homosexual convictions who have faced ongoing stigma and prejudice. It is great to see this underway,” says Andrew Little. Application forms and further information about the application process is available here:

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Pukekohe West primary school a step closer

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 09:20 PM PDT

Construction of the new Pukekohe West primary school in Auckland is set to begin next year, with an Establishment Board of Trustees in the process of being appointed. Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the school, which will initially be called Pukekohe West School, will be built on a four-hectare site in Belmont, and have an initial build roll of 350 students. “Once selected and appointed, the Establishment Board of Trustees will contribute to the school’s design, vision, and staffing plan,” Chris Hipkins says. “Data projections show that the population in Pukekohe is expected to double from 21,000 people now, to more than 40,000 people by 2040. We’re building a new school to make sure that the local schooling network is set up to cope with the projected population growth in the area. "Pukekohe West School will also include provision for special education facilities including a Sensory Resource Centre for Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ). “This is an exciting new development for Pukehohe and I’m looking forward to watching the school take shape over the next few years,” Chris Hipkins says. Pukekohe West School is expected to open in 2021. It will be a contributing Year 1-6 school, and will have room to expand in the future if needed.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Foreign Affairs Minister to travel to Belgium, UK and Singapore

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 08:57 PM PDT

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is travelling to Europe and Singapore this week to hold bilateral meetings and attend the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The Foreign Affairs Minister will visit Brussels for a range of calls on senior figures in the European Union, NATO, and the Belgian government to discuss trade and security issues. Mr Peters will also pay his respects at several World War One commemorative sites in Belgium during his visit. “Our shared values and commitment to the global rules-based system make the EU an important partner for New Zealand in today’s increasingly uncertain world,” said Mr Peters. Following his visit to Belgium he will travel to London to meet with the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and attend the 25th CHOGM with the Leaders and Foreign Ministers of over 50 Commonwealth nations. “Along with the New Zealand Prime Minister, I will hold a number of bilateral meetings with our Commonwealth counterparts discussing issues of shared interest,” said Mr Peters. The Foreign Affairs Minister will then travel to visit Singapore, one of New Zealand’s closest partners in Asia, to hold discussions with the Singaporean government. ENDS Contact: Alex Masters, Press Secretary, 021 809 186

/////////////////////////////////////////// Porotī land secured for Treaty settlement

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 07:32 PM PDT

Treaty Minister Andrew Little has announced the Government has secured land near Whangarei that’s been the focus of Ngāpuhi concerns about the health and well-being of Porotī Springs. “The Crown has purchased nearly four hectares of land near Porotī Springs which will be landbanked for a future Treaty settlement. “The Crown property purchase includes a resource consent to extract water from the Whatitiri aquifer which feeds the Porotī Springs. “The Crown has been negotiating for some time to acquire this piece of land because of the cultural significance of Porotī Springs to the local hapū and Ngāpuhi. “To secure ownership of the property the Crown entered a commercial negotiation and paid $7.5m. Ngāpuhi is currently engaged in discussions around their Treaty of Waitangi negotiations. This purchase is about addressing the potential for this site to become an asset to the beneficiaries of a future settlement. “Management of the land before settlement will be the responsibility of the Crown Property Centre of Expertise at Land Information New Zealand. “I want to acknowledge the hapū who have endured years of frustration” says Andrew Little.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Ngāi Tahu & Waikato-Tainui payments

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 07:29 PM PDT

Payments have been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under their Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Negotiations Hon Andrew Little announced today. Payments of $16.6 million to Waikato-Tainui and $18.7 million to Ngāi Tahu have been made to ensure the value of their individual settlements maintain their relative size compared with the total value of all Treaty of Waitangi settlements. “These payments are separate from payments made at the end of 2017 and relate to a dispute over a 2012 payment. “This process is about maintaining the agreed relativity between the settlements agreed with Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu and the total value of all historical Treaty settlements. That was the undertaking made by the Crown in 1995 and 1997 when these settlements were reached, and we must honour it.” “The Relativity Mechanisms, and Treaty settlements in general, are intricate. Each settlement has unique aspects to it, and the type and variety of redress has evolved over time. This has led to some genuine questions over what to include when calculating the total value of Treaty settlements. This uncertainty has led to differing views on the amounts payable to maintain relativity. “It’s important to get these payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu right. The Crown is committed to honouring the contractual nature of the Relativity Mechanism clauses. “Treaty settlements for both iwi include a Relativity Mechanism to ensure the value of their individual settlements maintain their relative size compared with the total value of all Treaty settlements. Both iwi can make a request for payment every 5 years to ensure the real value of their settlements remain at 17% (Waikato-Tainui) and 16.1% (Ngāi Tahu) of the total. “The Crown, Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu have held different interpretations about what should be included when calculating the total value of Treaty settlements, and agreed to independent arbitration in 2013 to resolve these disputes. A variety of disputed items have already been considered by the independent arbitrator,” says Andrew Little. Notes for editors Overview of Relativity Mechanism payments The total amounts paid under the Relativity Mechanisms are: Waikato-Tainui $289.3 million and Ngāi Tahu $297.4 million Timeline of Relativity Mechanism payments Waikato-Tainui and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement in 1995. Ngāi Tahu and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement in 1997. The Relativity Mechanisms were first triggered in 2012 when the total value of historical settlements exceeded $1 billion in 1994 present value terms. In 2012, Waikato-Tainui received $70 million and Ngāi Tahu received $68.5 million in Relativity Mechanism payments. The Crown and iwi agreed to enter dispute resolution in 2013 following the Relativity Mechanism payments made in 2012. The dispute resolution process provides a level of independence over the decision about what to include in the relativity mechanism calculations. Additional payments relating to disputed items have totalled $29.3 million for Waikato-Tainui and $48.9 million for Ngāi Tahu. These payments relate to the 2012 Relativity Mechanism payments. In 2017 the second five-yearly Relativity Mechanism payments were made, $190 million to Waikato-Tainui and $180 million to Ngāi Tahu.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Cutting fine print from financial information: public and sector urged to have their say

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 06:04 PM PDT

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi is encouraging public feedback on proposed regulations that will make it easier for consumers to understand the whole picture when receiving financial advice. “I want consumers to make the best decisions they can during their financial planning so ensuring important information is available and easy to understand is crucial. For example, information hidden in fine print isn’t helpful to consumers – that might be information about commissions or incentives that the provider receives, and the fees that will be charged. “Consumers should have that information to assist them to decide, for example, whether to obtain advice from a particular provider. I want to make sure that important information is presented in simple terms that consumers understand. “ The proposed regulations support the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill, which introduces a new regulatory regime for financial advice. The discussion paper seeks feedback from industry and consumers on what information should be given to consumers in relation to financial advice, says Mr Faafoi. “I am also seeking feedback on a discussion paper outlining proposed regulations to support measures in the Bill to address the misuse of the Financial Service Providers Register. “Some mainly offshore-controlled entities have been “free-riding” off New Zealand’s reputation for sound financial markets regulation by using their registration to imply that they are actively regulated in New Zealand when that is not the case. I want feedback on the proposals that aim to address this unscrupulous behaviour. “I encourage consumers and people in the financial services industry to provide feedback on the proposed regulations.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Remembering the victims, survivors and rescuers of the Wahine tragedy

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 05:06 PM PDT

Prime Minister and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Wahine disaster at an event in Wellington today. “Today we acknowledge the people and the families of the people who lost their lives in the disaster and recognise the survivors and their families,” said Jacinda Ardern. “We also thank the rescuers who helped save 683 lives of the passengers and crew of the Wahine. “The local Eastbourne and Seatoun communities helped survivors ashore and looked after them before they got further care from police and civil defence. The efforts of the rescuers, and the fact that so many lives were saved, marked a truly notable moment in our history. “The legacy of the Wahine is one of sadness for the lives lost, but also one of gratitude to the rescuers. “The Wahine disaster was a tragedy that affected our country deeply and is an important part of the story about what it means to be a New Zealander.” The 1968 Wahine disaster was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster. Fifty-one people lost their lives that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck. “The Wahine disaster is one of the six major disasters of the century that affected New Zealand and our history. The tragedies of the influenza pandemic, Hawkes Bay earthquake, Tangiwai railway disaster, Erebus disaster, Canterbury earthquake and Wahine disaster all had a significant impact on our country. “Recognising events, such as the Wahine tragedy, ensures New Zealanders are aware of our history. It’s important that we learn from these tragedies and continue to build our resilience as a country,” said Jacinda Ardern. For more information on the Wahine Disaster visit the NZ History website Information on 20th century shipwrecks can be found on Te Ara:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister announces Whānau Ora Review Panel

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 03:15 PM PDT

An independent panel to undertake the review of Whānau Ora has been appointed, Minister Peeni Henare announced today. The Government has committed to identifying ways to grow and improve the Whānau Ora model. The review will look at how a whānau-centred approach can be applied across government, particularly in the social sector. “This Government has a unique opportunity to work together to achieve ambitious goals that focus on real outcomes for whānau,” Peeni Henare said. “The review will assess the ability of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Model to make sustainable changes in the wellbeing and development potential of whānau. “We want to ensure the Whānau Ora service delivery model and commissioning approach is accountable and transparent in the achievement of outcomes for whānau. The review panel will be led by Caren Rangi as Chair, with members Tania Lee Hodges, Te Raumawhitu Kupenga, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, Mereana Kim Ngārimu, and Brenda Steele. “I am confident that this panel reflects the broad range of skill and expertise required to appropriately review Whānau Ora. “Each member contributes to an impressive array of expertise, from knowledge of government systems, policy development and implementation through to service provision, clinical, cultural and community experience, and of course understanding of the Whānau Ora system as it has evolved since 2010,” Peeni Henare said. The review panel will deliver a report on their findings in November 2018 and is expected to report back to Cabinet in December 2018. Media contact: Patisepa Helu 021821562

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Zealand condemns chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 01:52 PM PDT

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has expressed New Zealand’s grave concern at reports that dozens of civilians have been killed in a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. “New Zealand condemns this barbaric attack in the strongest terms. If it is proven that the Syrian Government is responsible, it provides further evidence of its callous disregard for the lives of its own people,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand calls for an independent investigation into the attack by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and for the perpetrators to be held to account. We call on the parties to the conflict in Eastern Ghouta to urgently allow OPCW inspectors access to the area.” “We also call on the international supporters of the Syrian Government to work to uphold the cessation of hostilities promised in UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and to prevent further attacks of this nature,” Mr Peters said. ENDS Contact: Stephen Parker, Chief Press Secretary, 021 195 3528

/////////////////////////////////////////// No loss of life acceptable

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 04:35 AM PDT

No loss of life is acceptable, is the message behind the development of the Government’s new road safety strategy, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. The development of the new strategy was announced today at the Local Government Road Safety Summit in Wellington. “As part of the development of a new road safety strategy the Government will investigate setting a target of zero road deaths,” says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. “I accept that a target of zero death would be audacious, but ambitious targets are need to focus the resources of both central and local government to save lives on our roads. “No other industry accepts hundreds of people dying each year as normal. No person I know thinks losing a loved one in a crash is an acceptable price to pay for living in a modern society. “Ambitious zero road death strategies have been successful overseas. Countries like Canada, Sweden, and Norway all aim for zero road deaths and have considerably lower fatality rates than New Zealand. “The development of a new road safety strategy will take until September 2019 and be ready for implementation in 2020. It will outline the steps New Zealand will take to meaningfully reduce deaths and serious injuries over the coming decade. “While the strategy is being completed we intend to push forward with actions where there is strong evidence of effectiveness. “The Government has proposed a significant boost in funding to improve local and regional roads right around the country. This will have a particular focus on proven safety treatments, like median and side barriers. “We’re also considering a significant funding boost to deliver safe walking and cycling infrastructure in our towns and cities. “Over the next year the Government will consider a number of options for reducing harm on the road, including improving the safety of vehicles entering New Zealand, reducing speeds around schools, and will implement mandatory alcohol interlock device systems for repeat drunk drivers,” Ms Genter said.

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