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    Letter No.11
    21 February, 1995

    4 February 1995

    The Commerce Commission approves a bid by a meat company consortium to buy and close the Weddel plants, overturning is earlier draft decision which rejected the proposal as `anti-competitive'.

    Graham Pinnell, the President of Federated Farmers, says that shortage of killing capacity was still a major concern to farmers.

    The Police support a call from Auckland lawyer Kevin Ryan that antisocial gangs should be broken up.

    A new Christchurch employment initiative aims help people with schizophrenia back into the work force.

    5 February 1995

    A shortage of skilled engineering staff is seeing an increase in the number of apprentices being taken on. Shortages in the engineering and construction industries are most evident in the main cities, and also New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Invercargill.

    The Ministry of Youth Affairs is investigating the Wellington-based New Hope Conservation Corps programme run by peace activist Moana Cole. The programme includes games which encourage participants to think about social justice issues and environmental responsibility.

    6 February 1995

    Waitangi Day. Protest action against the fiscal envelope and sovereignty issues, by Te Kawariki and others, force the cancellation of ceremonies.

    As Mexico teeters on the brink of a financial collapse, the world's seven richest nations support a US-led $50 billion rescue package.

    Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, says that their unemployment rate of 5.4%, among other signs of continuing strength in the US economy, was putting pressure on him to raise interest rates further in order to pull economic growth back to a more modest pace and forestall inflation.

    Bill Clinton sends a budget to Congress that will abolish or consolidate hundreds of federal programmes and save US$144 billion over five years.

    Roger Maxwell reports a record number of jobs offered to tertiary students through the student Job Search scheme.

    7 February 1995

    Two economic surveys in Australia show falls in business confidence.

    The drought in Hawkes Bay remains unbroken despite sporadic rainfalls. The drought has already cost farmers about 30% of their gross income.

    8 February 1995

    Jim Bolger launches the Te Araroa Trust walking trail project by opening a 20km route between Waitangi and Kerikeri.

    A Social Welfare report lays responsibility for the "explosion" in foodbank numbers on the 1991 benefit cuts.

    The National Party caucus gives Bill Birch the go-ahead for tax cuts before next year's elections.

    9 February 1995

    Changes to criteria for ACC could see some ACC recipients shifted over to the unemployment benefit, with an all-up savings to the ACC estimated at $400 million.

    Labour unveils plans for a nationwide housing action campaign to begin next month.

    10 February 1995

    The Business Roundtable urges local councils to sell their commercial businesses, bring in user-pays for most services, and contract out more of their work.

    Ngai Tahu's whale watching venture at Kaikoura has been named global winner of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award.

    Te Kawariki protest leader Hone Harawiri resigns from his job as advisory officer with the Community Employment Group : "I can choose the way I leave, or get thrown out..."

    11 February 1995

    Australia's jobless rate climbs to 9%

    12 February 1995

    Tim Vestey, the man who pulled the plug on the Weddel chain of freezing works in NZ, is sacked as general manager by his father, Lord Vestey.

    13 February 1995

    The Joseph Roundtree Foundation in Britain has found that inequality between the rich and poor has grown faster in NZ than in 17 other developed nations.

    14 February 1995

    The first official multi-party meeting is held to discuss details of the Employment Taskforce report that was released in November.

    Labour's Commerce Spokesman Ross Robertson attacks level of spending on public relations firms for the Employment Taskforce exercise.

    The legality of Social welfare policies regarding discretion over special benefit payments is challenged in a case under way in the High Court.

    15 February 1995

    Secondary School teachers are angry that they have not been included in a review of the Careers Service.

    After months of uncertainty, a consortium of North Island meat companies complete a deal to buy and close the five Weddel plants.

    85 uniformed Firefighters demonstrate outside the PM's State of the Nation Address to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. They say it is `an act bordering on criminal' to have further job cuts in what they describe as an already under-funded Fire Service.

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