Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain today announced a balanced package of reforms in the Class 4 (non-casino) gaming sector.
“There is a clear need for reform in the Class 4 sector, which is why Te Ururoa Flavell and I have worked together on his Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Bill. The Bill will be the first in a set of significant changes,” says Mr Tremain.
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has today announced 14 members of a new reference group that will provide expert advice on 21st century learning environments and digital literacy in schools.
“The group will be chaired by Brett O’Riley and includes people who are proven leaders in technology and education,” Ms Kaye says.
“It has been important to me to have people from a diverse range of backgrounds at the table.”
Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says the LINZ Data Service has set the benchmark for the release of public data for reuse, innovation and enterprise.
Launched in 2011, LDS provides free and open access to Land Information New Zealand’s fundamental land and seabed datasets to support the creation of new and improved products and services across business, government and the community.
The draft strategic framework for the housing-led regeneration of Tamaki has today been released for public feedback by Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the Tamaki Redevelopment Company.
Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says the launch of a new website will make it easier for Licensed Building Practitioners to access information online.
The www.lbp.govt.nz site also provides information for New Zealanders wanting to find the right people for building and renovation work.
“This website will act as a one stop shop and provide crucial information for those in the industry and the public.”
Health Minister Tony Ryall is encouraging health professionals to take part in the fourth annual Clinicians’ Challenge to develop IT solutions to improve health services.
“The Clinicians’ Challenge is a chance for health professionals and IT vendors to work together to identify and solve issues health professionals face in their day-to-day practice using innovative information technology,” says Mr Ryall.
Senior Citizens Minister Jo Goodhew has announced the opening of consultation on the second Carers’ Strategy Action Plan.
“The New Zealand Carers’ Strategy was launched in 2008 with an Action Plan covering 2008 to 2012. The Action Plan is now in the process of being renewed for the five years covering 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“The Strategy acknowledges that improving support for informal carers is important for developing strong healthy families and meeting future challenges of providing care.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce arrives in Europe tonight to strengthen New Zealand’s science, innovation and international education links with the European Union.
The visit includes Mr Joyce opening the biennial New Zealand-European Commission Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee meeting in Brussels on 20 June.
“The EU plays an increasingly major role in setting the agenda for Europe’s research and innovation,” Mr Joyce says.
The Government has concluded an agreement with Workotel to provide accommodation for an additional 50 rebuild workers at the former Riccarton Holiday Park, Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
“Christchurch is going to require temporary accommodation villages to accommodate thousands of additional workers needed for the rebuild. If we don’t provide this sort of temporary housing we risk slowing the recovery through a shortage of workers or putting too much pressure on the already constrained housing market,” Dr Smith says.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says no decisions have been made yet on any changes to regulations in the Snapper 1 area, but formal consultation will begin next month.
“Overall the stock is growing and in good health. This is a highly valuable fishery and we need to ensure the benefits are shared sustainably amongst all sectors.
“The new plenary science report shows the stock is rebuilding well, and anecdotal evidence suggests it is in good health.
Commerce Minister Craig Foss has welcomed the 2013 Financial Knowledge and Behaviour survey at the Financial Literacy Summit in Auckland today.
“Improving financial literacy is vitally important. The study launched today shows that while New Zealanders have the knowledge to make good financial decisions; they often do not act on this knowledge. Many continue to make poor decisions when it comes to their personal finances,” says Mr Foss.
Finance Minister Bill English leaves for Europe and the United Kingdom next week, where he will meet government officials and business leaders, including senior staff at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
“The visit will provide me with a direct insight into Europe’s economic challenges and their expected impact on New Zealand over the next few years,” Mr English says.
“I am also keen to talk to senior officials about using technology and innovation in delivering better public services.
Employment relations and workplace health and safety are key areas of discussion for Labour Minister Simon Bridges when he attends the International Labour Conference in Geneva next week.
The Minister will address a plenary session on this year’s theme of ‘Building a Future with Decent Work’, meet with political counterparts and senior ILO officials and attend a meeting of Asia Pacific Labour Ministers.
New minerals exploration permits awarded today will help create jobs and lift the Northland economy, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges says.
Five permits have been offered to three companies – Tai Tokerau Minerals Limited, Waimatenui Exploration Limited and De Grey Mining Limited – as a result of the Northland 2012 tender which sought interest in exploring for metallic minerals in the region.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is pleased to see a number of good work opportunities around New Zealand as businesses expand.
“We’re seeing some positive economic indicators, with business confidence growing and it’s translating to jobs which those on benefits can take up,” says Mrs Bennett.
NZ Bus Limited is recruiting up to 120 new staff in the next six months.
Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia announced $4.5 million for Pasifika Health Provider Development at the Pacific Providers Fono in Porirua today. This budget is aimed at strengthening providers delivering primary care services to their local populations.
This fund will assist providers to:
· Develop improved models of care and business models
· Strengthen governance, performance management and management systems
· Provide for workforce improvements, IT system and research developments
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today released a new report showing opportunities for further growth in the New Zealand fresh fruit sector, including into Asia.
The Coriolis Research report, Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector, says that New Zealand’s fruit exports are shifting towards Asia and away from traditional markets like Europe and North America.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will travel to Bail today for the Forum for East Asia and Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) Ministers’ meeting.
FEALAC was launched in 2001 to encourage closer links and cooperation between the two regions.
"New Zealand has significant ties with Asia and we are committed to developing closer relationships with Latin American countries through the Government’s Latin America Strategy," Mr McCully says.
Education Minister Hekia Parata will attend the 13th education seminar organised by Libertad y Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile this week.
The seminar will be attended by over 1,000 teachers from public schools, principals, country school managers and other key sector stakeholders.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today welcomed the appointment of Sue Mackwell as the new National Children’s Director.
“Ms Mackwell has been a key figure in social policy development for many years, and a highly respected leader at the Ministry of Social Development,” Mrs Bennett said.
“In her role as Deputy Chief Executive for Social Policy and Knowledge she has been instrumental in driving the extensive policy work behind the White Paper for Vulnerable Children.”
Education Minister Hekia Parata says the latest National Standards data shows an increase in Years 1-8 achievement, particularly for Pasifika children.
She also says the Government has a more complete picture of education in New Zealand with the inclusion of Nga Whanaketanga Rumaki Maori information for the first time.
The 2012 national aggregate data shows:
• Reported achievement against the National Standard for reading increased by 1.2 per cent from 76.2 per cent in 2011 to 77.4 per cent in 2012.
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew is today joining Canterbury DHB Chair Bruce Matheson in announcing an $8.7 million plan to redevelop Ashburton Hospital.
“The Government is committed to rebuilding Canterbury and rebuilding the health sector infrastructure is a high priority. This redevelopment will be a significant step for Ashburton, Canterbury DHB and Canterbury towards their recovery from the effects of the earthquakes,” Mrs Goodhew says.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has welcomed a move by Australia to extend its student loan scheme to long-term New Zealand residents.
Australia’s Tertiary Education Minister Craig Emerson today announced many New Zealanders will, from January 2015, be eligible to apply for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) for tertiary education or vocational training.
Relocating government agencies back into the Christchurch CBD is a step closer says Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman.
“The public sector will be locating facilities in the heart of the city as an integral part of delivering the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Moving government agencies back into the CBD is part of the government’s commitment to the revitalisation of Christchurch.”