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    Letter No.21
    17 July, 1995

    28 June 1995

    A new chairman has been appointed to the NZ Qualifications Authority. He is Sir Neil Waters, the retiring Massey University vice-chancellor, who says he is `open to suggestions' for a new approach to setting academic standards.

    29 June 1995

    NZ has one of the highest rates of assault in the world, according to a study by the Otago Medical School.

    Annette King takes over from Clive Mathewson as Labour's spokesperson on Social Welfare.

    Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash admits that he expects to miss the government's inflation target this year. He expects underlying inflation to peak at 2.3% for the year to June. Bill Birch says that the Governor will still keep his job.

    In the face of US defence cuts, the aeronautics and armaments firm Lockheed announces it will shed 12,000 jobs and 26 offices worldwide.

    Christchurch's computing company Aoraki is to lay off 96 of its 495 staff.

    30 June 1995

    Annette King reports that 1400, or about 20%, of Social Welfare staff have quit the department this year : " a damning indictment of the department's low morale caused by high workloads and a lack of resources..."

    The Inland Revenue Department announces it will axe 200 jobs as it restructures over the next 2-3 years.

    The Combined Beneficiaries Union is burgled in Auckland with the theft of most of their communications equipment.

    2 July 1995

    Many rallies and protests are held around the country to protest the latest round of market rentals for state houses.

    The Education Ministry has been inundated with enquiries from overseas teachers, and expects to easily fill the shortfall of 1000 teachers, even before its advertising campaign is due to begin.

    3 July 1995

    NZ's Asian immigration policies are failing to put wealthy Taiwanese business people into local jobs, according to an Auckland University survey. The survey showed that almost half had not found a job, and spoke little or no English.

    4 July 1995

    The Labour Party releases its alternative budget which promises $6.2 billion of new spending, which would come from adopting a much slower debt repayment schedule.

    Firefighters are threatened with instant dismissal after volunteering to work without pay at stations and on fire engines where staffing was being cut.

    The Director-General of Social Welfare, Margaret Bazley, disputes Annette King's claims of low morale in the Department, and says that reductions in staff numbers were attributable to "improved operating efficiencies".

    5 July 1995

    Bangladesh announces that it will abolish child labour in its garment factories by October. In an agreement - between UNICEF, the ILO, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association - it stipulates that no child below 14yrs would be given employment, and also provides for the schooling of those children who will lose their jobs.

    6 July 1995

    A survey of employment contracts has shown that wages have moved up on average of 3%, with several industries recording wage rises of 5-6%. Angela Foulkes of the CTU says that wages have risen in jobs where there was a skills shortage but the increases were not consistent across the board.

    A Hamilton study shows that unemployed people are more likely to die in road smashes than any other social group.

    Wellington's Capital Power will lay off a fifth of its staff, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    7 July 1995

    Auckland community groups and welfare organisations are shocked that their combined rates bill from the Auckland City Council will go up by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Wyatt Creech says he expects the June registered unemployed figures to show a rise, for the first time this year.

    8 July 1995

    The Summit Wool Spinners firm in Oamaru has cut wages by 12% because of the rising NZ dollar, and lost competitiveness on the international market.

    Economists predict that our annual surplus could reach $3 billion.

    The central Bank of France cuts interest rates, signalling a loosening of French monetary policies.

    9 July 1995

    The United States and Japan moved to cut short-term interest rates slightly, the first cut for the US in three years.

    10 July 1995

    The Council of Christian Social Services releases a report on the housing needs of users of Salvation Army foodbanks. It shows that the number of low income people paying more than half their income in rent has increased by nearly 6% in the past year. The report says that families were having to choose between going hungry or paying rent.

    The US unemployment rate drops to 5.6% for June.

    11 July 1995

    The rising NZ dollar is blamed for the loss of 40 more jobs at New Plymouth's McKechnie Metals plant. McKechnies pledges to put pressure on government to ease their inflation targets so that NZ manufacturers can be more competitive overseas.

    Housing Minister Murray McCully disputes the Christian Social Service report on housing costs, saying that the survey did not take full account of the accommodation supplement. He says the statistics in the survey are an exaggeration of the situation.

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