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    Letter No.34
    28 February, 1996

    8 February 1996

    PM Jim Bolger gives his state-of-the-nation address to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. "We are back in control of our own destiny. We are poised to leave a better country for our children ... The next generation will be more educated, earn more, have better quality health care and live longer."

    9 February 1996

    Telecom boss Rod Deane dismisses Alliance claims that its profits are the fruits of monopoly and might need to be curbed by legislation. Telecom profits are running at almost $2 million a day.

    As the Australian government heads for another election, it's latest unemployment statistics show a rise from 8.1% to 8.6%, and show that more people are out-of-work in all states except Tasmania.

    Helen Clark shatters the fragile truce between Labour and the Alliance, saying that Labour will not be linked with the Alliance's economic policies "in any shape or form..."

    12 February 1996

    Business Round Table executive director Roger Kerr calls for the privatisation on water and sewerage services, and the roading network.

    13 February 1996

    Don Brash says he would quit if a future government gave him a target to meet other than low inflation.

    14 February 1996

    The Auckland Regional Services Trust is now debt-free after 4 years of operation. When the Trust was set up, it was also handed $224m of debt, and given 15 years to pay it off. The debt-free trust now has assets of around $2 billion, and is the fifth largest company in NZ.

    15 February 1996

    Helen Clark says that Labour will bring back state houses and state mortgages, after visiting a West Auckland caravan park where she saw families paying $190 a week to live in plywood cabins with no running water, kitchen or toilet facilities. A family at the caravan park said they had no hope of finding better accommodation as they could not afford between $900 and $1200 for bond and advance rental payments.

    PM Jim Bolger praises Don Brash's stand on his inflation focus, describing his threat to resign if it was changed was an "honourable' stand.

    A TV3/CM Research poll shows that 75% of voters think health and education services were getting worse. On the subject of pre-election coalition talks, 89% said they favoured knowing before an election the likely coalitions that will occur after the election.

    16 February 1996

    The National Party is considering bringing United New Zealand MP Peter Dunne into the Cabinet as part of an electoral deal with the struggling centre party.

    The average Aucklander who visits the Harrah Sky City Casino is losing $50-$60 on their "evening's entertainment". Attendance figures are well above the daily expected average of 9,500 people.

    17 February 1996

    The number of students suspended from school has more than doubled since 1990. Last year 8850 students were suspended and 112 students expelled, compared to 4207 suspensions in 1990. Maori students made up a disproportionate number of the suspensions, at nearly 40%, although they number only 15% of all students.

    Labour outlines its family services policies called "a Good Start" aimed at turning around social problems and juvenile crime. They promise more money for support services for parents.

    18 February 1996

    House Speaker Peter Tapsell calls for regional, non-tribal, Maori organisations to be set up to address Maori development issues.

    The government has rejected pleas for financial help from the network of children's health camps, whose funding has remained unchanged since 1992 despite increased demand for their services.

    19 February 1996

    Bill Birch unveils the final details of his Tax Cuts programme.

    SOE Minister Philip Burdon announces that the Works Corporation is to be privatised.

    21 February 1996

    A boisterous rally outside Parliament calls for extra funding for kindergartens which are being put under increasing pressure to charge fees.

    The rents of more than 600 state houses in Porirua have been cut by Housing NZ in an effort to fill hundreds of empty units.

    22 February 1996

    Hourly wage rates rose 3% to $15.79 in the year to November 1995, according to Statistics NZ. This is the largest annual increase since Nov 1991.

    Winston Peters urges a 4-year probation period for new immigrants to NZ.

    23 February 1996

    Building permits issued for commercial buildings have risen 14.7% in the year to Dec 95.

    24 February 1996

    A meeting of business leaders and key government departments has been called to discuss alternative ways of beating inflation. The meeting is being organised by the Manufacturers Association.

    New Zealand is second to bottom in the OECD in its contributions to international aid.

    25 February 1996

    A powerful alliance of employers groups is to stir up an election-year debate of the ACC compensation scheme. A campaign calling for the privatisation of the scheme has been launched by the Federated Farmers, the Business Roundtable, the Employers Federation, the Manufacturers Federation, the Master Builders Federation, the Meat Industry Association, the Forest Owners Association and the Road Transport Association.

    26 February 1996

    Jim Anderton calls for an urgent meeting of the parties to the 1993 superannuation accord to consider the implications of the tax cuts on pensioners.

    The Minister for the ACC, Mr Kidd, rejects employer calls for the ACC to be privatised, saying that employer efforts would be better directed at preventing injuries and helping to rehabilitate injured workers.

    Fortex boss Graeme Thompson was found guilty in the High Court of defrauding shareholders and creditors of the Fortex Group. Fortex was put into receivership in March 1994, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

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