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    Letter No.36
    1 April, 1996

    17 March 1996

    An Auckland private investigation company has launched a dob-in-your-workmate phone line to fight employee theft and on-the-job drug use. Employers will be told of the claims and invited to hire the private investigators to check them out.

    18 March 1996

    NZ ranks 11th in a survey of international competitiveness by the Swiss Institute for Management.

    A tax booklet being sent to 1.3 million homes to explain the effects of the tax cuts and benefit changes has confused many people, leading them to believe they will be worse off.

    19 March 1996

    The Institute of Economic Research says that the average family will be just 93c better off from the first round of tax cuts, after increases in mortgage rates are taken into account.

    The Business Roundtable releases a paper called Moving Into the Fast Lane in which it recommends policies to enable NZ to "reach its full potential under current policies..."

    20 March 1996

    Government fees to register voluntary welfare groups are to rise from $22 to $200 at the same time as those for registering companies will fall from $300 to $100.

    21 March 1996

    Amidst a financial crisis, the Cook Islands is introducing far-reaching measures to slash its public sector, boost exports, privatise state enterprises, and introduce user charges on government services.

    Intense activity in the Auckland housing market sees residential prices rising an average of $18,000 in a single month.

    22 March 1996

    Britain's beef industry is threatened with destruction after scientists reveal they have found a likely link between "mad cow" disease (BSE) and its fatal human equivalent Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). The BSE Research group says that as many as one million people in Britain could develop CJD ... "This is the worst crisis since the advent of Aids." The beef industry, which employs about 350,000 people directly and indirectly, is facing import bans in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Portugal.

    23 March 1996

    The development of a Hawkes Bay regional hospital will see the loss of 138 jobs.

    25 March 1996

    Labour announces it's alternative tax package. Under Labour, a two-child family on one income of $35,000 a year (the average wage) would be $11 a week better off than under National's tax cuts. They propose a cutting of the bottom tax rate to 8% of income up to $14,000, and a new top tax rate of 39% on income over $60,000.

    Australian beef graziers are being told to take the exporting advantage of Britain's "mad cow" disease before New Zealand and the United States does. United Graziers President Larry Acton says: "The disease is nothing short of a disaster for the British industry, but Australia must seize the opportunity with both hands..."

    26 March 1996

    NZ bans imports of semen and embryos from British cattle and sheep in reaction to the world-wide fears of "mad cow" disease in Britain.

    Several international economists are predicting that the Kiwi dollar will be on a par with the Australian dollar by the end of the year.

    27 March 1996

    NZ First calls for government to impose tariffs on countries like Japan which had their own trading tariff barriers. Winston Peters: "Let's create a policy that mirrors those of the successful Asian `tiger' economies, a policy which puts NZ first, just as their policies put their people first ..."

    Federated Farmers predicts that 15% of meat and wool farmers will have no income this year due to the high exchange rates and commodity prices being at the `bottom of a cycle'.

    The Alliance urges the Reserve Bank to intervene in foreign exchange markets by moderating exchange rates in order to preserve jobs in NZ.

    28 March 1996

    University students hold street marches to protest against loans and rising fees.

    Immigration Minister Roger Maxwell confirms that visitors to NZ would be allowed to work in Hawkes Bay orchards in order to get around a shortage of fruitpickers. The travellers can now legally have their visitor permits altered to allow them to work. Maxwell acknowledged that many Hawkes Bay orchardists were hiring people not legally entitled to be working in NZ.

    Timber giant Carter Holt Harvey is closing down sawmills in Whangarei, Kumeu and Marton, threatening nearly 200 jobs.

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