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    Letter No.25
    26 September, 1996

    5 September 1995

    The Irish are remembering the great famine that struck 150yrs ago when mildew rotted the potato crop. More than 1.5 million people died of famine at the time, and more than one million emigrated.

    6 September 1995

    Wellington Manufacturers Association is crying foul over repeated intervention in the economy by the Reserve Bank, saying it will further knock business confidence.

    Radio Pacific has appointed Sue Bradford to be its reporter at the CHOGM summit conference in Auckland in November. Bradford will play a dual role of demonstrator and journalist in planned protests outside the three-day conference.

    Another sign of the economic recovery Aucklanders threw out 12% more rubbish in the past financial year. This follows three years of falling volumes attributed to the recession.

    The World Competitiveness report shows NZ at 9th place out of 48 countries surveyed. In 1991, NZ ranked in the 18th place.

    7 September 1995

    The trade union representing journalists has taken exception to the proposed dual role of Sue Bradford as both reporter and protester at the CHOGM conference. It says the action would breach the journalists' code of ethics which preludes personal interests to influence professional duties.

    8 September 1995

    Statistics show that men outnumber women in all industry training areas except hairdressing. The statistics on industry trainees show that 14,664 men were being trained compared with 1971 women. Of the women, 1399 are being trained to be hairdressers.

    11 September 1995

    Catholic organisations in Auckland are launching the "Just Housing" project which will begin building homes for low-income families unable to afford government-imposed market rentals for State houses.

    12 September 1995

    Mike Dixon-McIver from the newly-formed Porirua beneficiaries group the Guardians, has been fasting outside Parliament for 12 days in an effort to establish a right to a special benefit if a beneficiary is `in poverty'.

    13 September 1995

    Only 27 people have taken up the Telecom cheap phones-for-the-poor scheme announced last May. The Budget Link scheme was offering half-rate line rentals to 20,000 low-income households. The scheme was offered as a sweetener to Telecom's record $620 million profit.

    14 September 1995

    The People's Resource Centre in Wellington is urging people not to shop at Jeans Jones fashion store until it agrees to accept payments for clothes from the Income Support Service for beneficiaries buying clothing for job interviews.

    ACT New Zealand says it would channel all benefits to struggling families through `mentors' who would help them manage their finances. The party would replace benefits with food parcels for those families who refused to accept such a `mentor'.

    15 September 1995

    The Reserve Bank says that the inflationary effects of the government's planned tax cuts will rule out indefinitely any major fall in interest rates.

    Michael Cullen says that "every borrower, every homeowner with a mortgage, every business with an overdraft, is paying in advance for Bill Birch's tax cuts..."

    16 September 1995

    Leaked details of a tax-cut package show the government would boost the average pay-packet by about $28 per week. Family Support payments would also be increased by $14-$20 per child.

    Both Michael Cullen and Jim Anderton say that the tax cuts will mean that key areas in social spending in health, education and housing will not be able to be dealt with.

    The real wage index which measures the difference between after-tax salary and wage rates and consumer inflation fell by 3.2% in the June year. The CTU says the falling index was proof that wage and salary earners were continuing to miss out on the spoils of the economic recovery.

    17 September 1995

    A weekend hui of 1500 Maori leaders at the marae of Ngati Tuwharetoa paramount chief Sir Hepi Te Heu Heu condemns government sales of Maori assets, called for a national Maori committee, and called for constitutional change towards tino rangatiratanga (self determination).

    18 September 1995

    Up to 500 new teachers promised by the government will have no extra classrooms to work in when they start school next year. Some schools will have to wait up to a year for new classrooms because of a backlog of work in the Ministry of Education's building programme.

    19 September 1995

    Jim Bolger says there will be no discussion of sovereignty and self determination with Maori. He says that talk of de-colonisation was distracting from the settlement of Maori grievances. "Get Real" is the advice of Rotorua MP Paul East to those who attended the hui.

    Retail sales fell 0.2% in July from the previous month, and building consents issued in July fell 12.1% on a year ago. These figures indicate that the economy is slowing in line with Reserve Bank forecasts.

    Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service says that the NZ dollar is likely to overtake the Australian dollar in value. It says that exporters will have to cope with the rise, and it was `the price they had to pay for the success of economic reforms'.

    20 September 1995

    The government is preparing to sell the cutting rights to Forestry Corp trees with a book value of $2.1 billion.

    Terry Gosset, chairman of the Auckland District Council for Social Services, says that ACT's policies of `mentors' for beneficiaries is intrusive and breaches the Bill of Rights. Owen Jennings from ACT does not disagree. but he says its the way it has to be, and calls the policy `tough love'.

    Beneficiaries owe $312 million to the Dept of Social Welfare with almost 250,000 people currently or previously on a benefit owing some money.

    21 September 1995

    Maori groups in the Bay of Plenty say they should have the first chance at rights to cut Forestry Corp timber

    The National Bank Index of Regional Economic Activity has the Northland region beating Auckland as the region with the highest growth, while Taranaki recorded the biggest drop in activity of all the regions.

    22 September 1995

    Sue Bradford is sentenced to 75hrs community service for obstructing a police officer at the Asian Development Bank Conference in May. The police were pressing for a jail sentence. Bradford vows to press ahead with a campaign of protests during the CHOGM conference in November.

    Paul Holmes features Sue Bradford and the many projects of the Auckland People's Centre on his TV1 show.

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