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By Newsroom America Feeds at 8 Nov 2017


/////////////////////////////////////////// NZ condemns Japans whaling in Southern Ocean

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 07:44 PM PST

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says Japan’s decision to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean is out of step with international opinion and defies scientific advice. Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research announced on 9 November that the Japanese whaling fleet had departed Japan for the Southern Ocean. “While the world calls for greater protection of the ocean’s ecosystems, Japan’s whaling vessels will be heading to the Antarctic to hunt over 300 minke whales. “New Zealand has long been opposed to whaling and has repeatedly urged Japan to end its whaling programmes,” Mr Peters says. “Japan’s decision to conduct whaling in the Southern Ocean flies in the face of the clear recommendations of the International Whaling Commission, its Scientific Committee and its expert panels.” “Put simply, Japan can achieve its stated research objectives without killing whales. This is an outdated practice and needs to stop,” Mr Peters says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Minister honours "Wahine Toa" Māori broadcasting star

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 07:00 PM PST

Associate Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson said it was an honour last night to present the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book and Journalism Awards to one of the Māori World’s wahine toa veteran broadcasting star, Wena Harawira. “Wena was the first woman reporter and presenter on TVNZ’s Māori language show Te Karere nearly 35 years ago at a time when very few Māori, let alone Māori women, were on our national screen,” says Mr Jackson. “She was seen as a trailblazer and her voice and immaculate presentation resonated with everyone – not just Māori. “After Te Karere, Wena was involved in Mana Māori Media and has played a major role at Māori Television as a presenter and producer through the years. “I even had the privilege of working with her in the early 1990’s as a fellow broadcaster, and was always impressed with her ability in both languages, Māori and English, and her consummate broadcasting ability. “Her broadcasting career deserved to be honoured, as she is not a person who looks for accolades. “All the other young Māori women who were celebrated last night at the awards could have no better role model than Wena Harawira of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāi Tūhoe,“ says Mr Jackson.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Labour-led government committed to increasing public safety

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 06:57 PM PST

Police Minister Stuart Nash has expressed concern that a number of New Zealanders have reported feeling less safe in the latest Citizens Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by New Zealand Police. “After nine years of underfunding and under resourcing by the previous government, it is no wonder that the latest Survey shows New Zealanders are feeling less safe in their neighbourhoods or town centres,” he says. “I believe New Zealanders have the right to feel safe in their communities, but when people are telling us they don’t feel safe in their own neighbourhood after dark, including nearly a quarter of people surveyed who said they don’t feel safe in their city or town centre after dark, then we have a real issue. “What also concerns me is that a large number of people across the country reported a decline in the belief that Police are responsive to community needs and that Police are involved in community activities. “This echoes what I have heard at the 200 street corner meetings I have held over the last two years and is one of my key focuses as Police Minister. “This is why Labour and New Zealand First have made a binding commitment to work towards recruiting 1,800 more police staff into our communities and into fighting organised crime over the next three years.” Mr Nash is working with the Police Commissioner and the Police Executive Team on how to best achieve this goal. “I intend to visit these communities to hear for myself what their concerns are and to talk to Police staff on what can be done to help address the situation. My number one priority is to ensure public safety and I will work with Police, helping them to make New Zealand the safest country in the world. “Under a Labour-led government we will see more police in our neighbourhoods because we understand that living in fear is no way to live at all,” said Mr Nash. The survey presents the results of over 9,000 interviews, conducted between July 2016 and June 2017. The results can be found on the Police website:

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government affirms commitment to better labour laws in film sector

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 06:51 PM PST

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway has today announced that the Government will collaborate with representatives of both the film industry and people working in film and television to develop a durable framework for workplace relations in the sector. Meeting with representatives from across the film sector that advocate for producers, technicians, actors, writers, directors and musicians, Minister Lees-Galloway says all parties are committed to working closely, collegially and collaboratively to find an enduring and positive structure that works for everyone in the sector. “The film industry, like any business, needs certainty and today this Government has reaffirmed our commitment to New Zealand’s vibrant, strong and world-leading film industry. “Labour and our support parties are determined to provide New Zealand workers a fair go, and we are committed to restoring the right for all New Zealand workers to engage in collective negotiations. “My discussions with advocates and union representatives in the film sector have been very constructive and it’s fair to say we’re all excited about what we can achieve by working together. “I will seek to formalise this good start with the establishment of a Film Industry Joint Working Group to develop a durable framework to restore collective bargaining rights for film workers in a way that is fit for purpose for the industry. “I appreciate the need for certainty to encourage continued investment in New Zealand, and my message to the international film industry is that New Zealand will remain both a premium hub of film craft and innovation, and as easy to do business with in future as it is today. “Under the last Labour-led Government, the New Zealand film industry flourished like never before. Under this Labour-led Government, it will continue to be a shining light of New Zealand industry and innovation,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

/////////////////////////////////////////// New Minister wishes students well for exams

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 10:29 AM PST

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has wished students well on the eve of NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship examinations. “End of year examinations are the culmination of many months of study. I want to congratulate students for all their hard work so far and wish them the very best for their examinations.” More than 143,000 students will participate in this year’s examinations, which begin tomorrow with Scholarship Drama and continue until 1 December. “This can be a stressful time for students, but parents and teachers will be doing everything they can to support students to do well in their examinations. “Schools have been working hard throughout the year to prepare students and I thank them for their efforts.” The first big examination will be NCEA Level 1 English on Monday 13 November, which has more than 47,000 entries. Scholarship Latin has the fewest students, with just 22 to sit this examination on Wednesday 29 November. A breakdown of the 2017 examination entries shows that there are a total of: 58,879 students entered at Level 1 54,181 students entered at Level 2 40,953 students entered at Level 3 8,066 students entered in New Zealand Scholarship. number of students are entered for examinations at more than one level. “It is also great to see that more than 5,100 students are entered for digital examinations, which are available in English, Media Studies and Classical studies at NCEA Level 1, and for selected schools at NCEA Level 2.” A team of approximately 1,700 markers will mark all papers by Christmas, with NCEA results expected to be released online from mid-January. The full examination timetable is on the NZQA website here

/////////////////////////////////////////// Ministers welcome Pacific focus at climate meeting

Posted: 08 Nov 2017 10:27 AM PST

The Bonn climate change meeting will put the global spotlight on the concerns of vulnerable Pacific nations, Ministers say. Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio are attending the climate change meeting in Bonn, Germany, known as COP23[1]. “Under Fiji’s leadership the voice of low-lying small islands, such as those in the Pacific, will be heard clearly at this COP,” Mr Shaw says. “Aupito and I will be listening closely to Pacific Island leaders’ concerns and priorities. “This is the first time a small island developing state has presided over the COP. This is important, because these countries are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts such as threats to food and water supplies, and energy security.” Mr Shaw and Mr Sio will also be attending a meeting in Rome between Pacific Island Forum Leaders and His Holiness Pope Francis, en route to COP23. Mr Sio says the Government and Pacific peoples need to speak together in responding to climate change. “The Government recognises that Pacific Island nations are at particular risk of rising sea levels as a result of climate change and global warming. People from low-lying island nations face real threats of being displaced from their homes and may need to find new homes in future years. “We will work with regional partners and organisations, and review migration policy with the Minister of Immigration to establish a better approach to deal with this very real issue for Pacific nations and peoples, and we will keep fighting climate change,” says Mr Sio. “We want to see on-the-ground action to reduce emissions, and progress on the Paris Agreement work programme. The aim is to make good progress so the rules and procedures for the Paris Agreement can be completed by COP24,” Mr Shaw says. “New Zealand’s goal is to work constructively with the rest of the world to accelerate the global transition to a low emissions future.” [1] The 23rd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or COP23, takes place from 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany.

/////////////////////////////////////////// No new mines on conservation land signalled

Posted: 07 Nov 2017 10:54 PM PST

The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today confirmed that the new Government will strengthen the protection for public conservation land by making it off-limits for new mining. The announcement was made as part of the Speech from the Throne given today at Parliament, which outlined the Government’s policy and legislative proposals. “Public conservation lands are set aside for nature to thrive and for New Zealanders and visitors to enjoy. Mining, especially open-cast mining runs counter to that. It destroys indigenous vegetation and habitats, permanently changes natural landscapes and can create sizeable waste rock dumps with a risk of acid mine drainage polluting waterways. “New Zealanders expect to see our conservation lands and their wild landscapes and indigenous plants and wildlife protected from being dug up by bulldozers and diggers. “We have a biodiversity crisis with 4,000 of our native plants and wildlife threatened with, or at risk of extinction. The places they live need protection. “We need to build a sustainable, modern, clean green economy for all New Zealanders. New mines on our protected lands are not going to take us there. “Coal mining adds to the climate crisis and new mines generally have a 15-year lifespan. Once the coal is gone, the jobs are gone and so is the unique environment of places like the West Coast – which is the basis of a sustainable economy and long-term jobs. “Places like the West Coast and Coromandel have diversified their economies on the back of their stunning natural beauty and landscapes, and the warmth of local communities. This Government is committed to helping workers in these regions make a just transition from mining. “Tourism on the West Coast is now responsible for more jobs than the mining sector. It’s crucial that we protect the very thing that draws visitors – unequalled beech and rimu forests, river valleys and a network of huts and tracks. “The Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour included a goal of significantly increasing the funding for the Department of Conservation (DOC). I welcome the commitment to that in the Speech from the Throne. The Department of Conservation has been under resourced for the last nine years. We need to scale up its capacity,” said Minister Sage.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Government moves to extend Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks with urgency

Posted: 07 Nov 2017 09:03 PM PST

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway has introduced a Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2020 to Parliament today, saying it is a vitally important move to support working families with newborns and young children. "Our Government’s commitment to families is underscored by this legislation, which is the first to be introduced by the new administration, and we’re doing so with urgency,” says Mr Lees-Galloway. “We campaigned on giving children the best start in life, and we’re making good on our pledge to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks in the first day of legislation in the 52nd Parliament.” The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill proposes the increase to be phased in over three years and two stages: an increase from 18 to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020. “As well as the direct financial benefits to households and reducing stress on parents, extending paid parental leave has a range of positive impacts on child development and fostering parent-infant attachment. “It also aligns with the World Health Organisation recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding up to six-months of age, all of which improves short-term and long-term child and society outcomes. “This is just one of the measures in the Government’s Families Package which will better support families with children and reduce child poverty. “Other measures include the Best Start scheme and boosting the Working for Families payments, targeting low and middle income families. “The Government believes that every Kiwi child deserves the best start in life. The previous Government said it couldn’t be done, but we’re doing this now so I’m incredibly proud to be introducing this Bill to parliament today,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

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