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    Letter No.14
    3 April, 1995

    16 March 1995

    Latest economic forecasts from the Reserve Bank's indicate no early relief from higher mortgage rates for home owners.

    Housing NZ tables its statement of corporate intent in Parliament saying it expects its state house rentals to turn a profit of $123 million within three years.

    17 March 1995

    The number of people registered unemployed has dropped 17.1% over the past year.

    The Job Intro work experience programme for school leavers is introduced by NZ Employment.

    Auckland recorded the largest rise in economic activity last year, with Southland recording the biggest lift in the December quarter, says the National Bank regional trends survey.

    Jim Bolger believes politicians should still be concerned about the plight of the poor, despite comments by Bill Birch that he was not worried by widening income disparities in NZ.

    18 March 1995

    The US is planning to double its exports of subsidised dairy products to world markets, putting further pressure on the NZ dairy industry.

    The moderator of the Presbyterian church, Graeme Murray, says Bill Birch's indifference to poverty was likely to be an unacceptable vision of the country for most NZ'ers.

    19 March 1995

    The Salvation Army's appeal last week fell well below targets, raising fears that the Sallies will not be able to meet the huge increases in demand for its services. Major Peter Savage says that `donor fatigue' is setting in : "People can't afford to help, just when we need it the most..."

    20 March 1995

    It has been a year since the closure of the Fortex plants.

    50 unemployed Southlanders are to receive 8-wk training courses and the chance of jobs as part of the $400 million upgrade of the Tiwai point aluminium smelter.

    21 March 1995

    The number of people receiving the accommodation supplement and special benefit has increased 28% in the last 10 months.

    BERL economist Paul Frater and Family Centre consultant Charles Waldegrave tell a parliamentary select committee that poverty in NZ could be eliminated for $850 million a year. They want the elimination of poverty to be the fundamental social policy goal of government.

    22 March 1995

    A report on the provision of legal aid has found that poor people are falling through the cracks of the system and risk imprisonment through not receiving legal aid.

    NZ is now the world's fifth fastest growing tourist market. There are now 1.3 million tourists visiting NZ each year, nearly double the figure in 1986.

    50 jobs in Tourism Green projects have been approved in Northland, mainly in upgrading walkways and facilities on reserves around the region.

    The Principals Federation says that Primary School principals were leaving their jobs `in droves' because of unbearable stress levels.

    23 March 1995

    Wellington's International Festival of the Arts brought more than $16 million into their local economy last year.

    Jim Bolger says that the government does not need to fund foodbanks as the social welfare system was adequate to meet the needs of families.

    Wellington's Mayor Fran Wilde has been appointed chairperson of Community Housing Ltd, the arm of Housing NZ that provides housing for the disabled, women's refuges and youth at risk.

    24 March 1995

    Up to 600 unemployed Maoris have the chance to train for jobs in the new Auckland casino by attending a two-week pre-employment training programme run in partnership between the casino operator, NZ Employment, ETSA and the inter-tribal group Nga Herenga Waka Ki Tamakimakurau.

    The Hawkes Bay Employment Services have placed about 3000 people in fruitpicking jobs this season, and only about a dozen people have been taken off the employment register for refusing to take picking jobs without a good reason.

    25 March 1995

    Visiting influential Catholic theologian Michael Novak is on a public speaking tour of NZ promoting capitalism as the best alternative for the poor to break out of the prison of poverty. Also on his agenda : private meetings with Jim Bolger and Bill Birch.

    26 March 1995

    Annette King releases confidential cabinet papers indicating a major review of enterprise assistance programmes run by government agencies.

    In Albania, 1200 young jobseekers storm the US Embassy after rumours that jobs were available for them in America.

    27 March 1995

    Job losses are looming at Ashburton Hospital after a drastic drop in funding from the Southern RHA.

    Jim Bolger is in America for an historic meeting with the American President Bill Clinton. He offers cautious opinions on the radical welfare reforms planned in the US.

    The Chinese Government says it will introduce a five-day (40-hr) working week for all employees nationwide from May 1st. This means most workers will get an extra day off every fortnight. The State Council took the step because of rising unemployment, energy shortages and traffic congestion.

    28 March 1995

    The Firefighters Union now has more than 200,000 signatures out of the 240,000 needed to force a referendum on job cuts to the Fire Service.

    29 March 1995

    The Manufacturers Association predicts a 50% growth in manufacturing in the next 5 years.

    Brokerage Firm Ord Minnett says that falling business confidence is denting economic growth. They predict a 6.4% growth rate in the March 1995 year falling to a 3.4% growth rate in the March 1996 year.

    A visiting UNICEF official says that the government is leaving volunteer organisations such as the Plunket Society to carry the burden of providing many child health and welfare services in NZ.

    Lockwood Smith says that the average female student doing a three-year Batchelor's degree would take 38 years to pay off a student loan. The average male would only take 15 years to repay a loan. He says the difference in repayment times was explained by the gap between average male and female earnings.

    30 March 1995

    General outrage expressed as MP John Carter poses as a Maori dole bludger on John Bank's talkback radio show.

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