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    Letter No.49
    5 November, 1996

14 October 1996

The first day of trading on the sharemarket after the election goes without a hitch, with foreign investors seemingly unconcerned about the result, or the prospect of a Labour-led government.

15 October 1996

The Ajax fasteners factory in Hutt City will close in March with the loss of 90 jobs.

16 October 1996

The underlying inflation rate for the year to September is 2.3%, slightly less than banks were expecting.

Nearly 190 Wellington City Council library, Cityworks, and policy jobs are due to go within the next two years. The redundancies are detailed in a review of operations by consultants A.T.Kearney, which has been hired to slash $32m from the Council's budget over the next five years.

The TAB is to close 18 telephone betting agencies with the loss of 150 part-time jobs.

About 35 Northland Polytech staff will lose their jobs as part of a drive to save $1m in costs a year.

17 October 1996

NZ Employment Service reports that the number of registered unemployed has dropped 195 people in the last month to 154,133 people.

The government begins a major advertising campaign to recruit 880 teachers for the 1997 year. Incentives include a $3,000 relocation grant to teachers moving to hard-to-staff schools, $2500 recruitment payments to schools, and financial help to find relief teachers. Teachers will also be recruited again from Australia, Canada, Britain and South Africa. Ministry of Education officials say that Canada alone has about 9,000 unemployed teachers.

18 October 1996

A long-serving senior Manawatu police officer broke down at the Police Association's annual conference as he described the staffing crisis and risks faced on the beat.

19 October 1996

The armed services say they are reaching breaking point as the private sector lures staff away with big money, and budget cuts bite deep. Some units say they are down to 70% strength. Last year 468 technicians resigned from a staff total of 2100. Worst case scenario : by July next year there probably won't be the critical staff necessary to run the air force.

20 October 1996

Deputy Police Commissioner Barry Mathews confirms that police numbers will still be dropping by 540 officers over the next four years to pay for the introduction of a new computer system ... despite a reported staffing crisis.

A no-confidence motion has been passed at the Police Association conference expressing 'disgust' in police chiefs and threatening legal action if understaffing was to blame for assaults on police officers.

21 October 1996

Westpac and Trust Bank are expected to shed at least 50 staff when they merge their data and computer services in the wake of the Westpac takeover.

23 October 1996

The scientific community attacks the decision to cut about 20 top science jobs as ludicrous and short-sighted. The Institute of Geological and Nuclear research will lose 10% of their staff in order to make savings of about $1m. Professor Neil Curtis, President of the Royal Society's Council : "Why waste the investment we have in these people because of the inadequacies of a funding structure ?"

24 October 1996

Veteran protester Sue Bradford had her CHOGM assault charge against a constable dismissed. Her husband, Bill Bradford was convicted of obstruction and fined $250 with court costs of $95.

25 October 1996

The Reserve Bank says that monetary conditions are "a little firmer than needed", sending clear signals to banks to lower mortgage rates.

Children and Young Persons Service Managers have complained in a confidential report that budget cuts and overwork was leading many staff to resign and that heavy workloads were leaving some children in a situation where they were at risk.

26 October 1996

The NZ Council of Social Services urges community groups to make submissions to the Internal Affairs Department about the proposed de-regulation of gambling. It says that the funding of community groups through the Lotteries Commission, Lottery Grants and Trusts Board and Pub Charities, must continue to be protected.

NZ stocks have soared, interest rates eased, and the Kiwi dollar dropped a cent against the US dollar, following signals from the Reserve Bank that monetary conditions were too tight.

27 October 1996

The ANZ in Australia will close 110 branches and slash 7,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive.

28 October 1996

A public holiday since 1890, it became Labour Day in 1910 to celebrate the institution of the eight-hour day for labourers and tradesmen.

D. Casey, in a letter to the New Zealand Herald remarks : "I wonder how long it will be before the powers that be abolish the celebrating of a myth? Today if you're lucky enough to be in full employment, you work the hours you're told to ..."

29 October 1996

Jim Bolger orders a search for bugs at the post-election coalition negotiations.

More leading NZ banks lower their interest mortgage rates.

30 October 1996

The National Bank reports that business confidence has slipped amidst post-election suspense.

31 October 1996

The PSA is trying to save jobs at Public Radio where 14 staff have been told to expect redundancies. The restructuring plans could lead to further redundancies next year.

Social Welfare Head Margaret Bazley says that "welfare dependence' is at the heart of issues faced by the Children and Young Persons Service. She says that 86% of the families the service encountered were on benefits.

Auckland University students have filed papers in the High Court seeking a judicial review of student fees next year.

1 November 1996

ACT leader Richard Prebble announces his party's spokes-people. Donna Awatere-Huata is spokeswoman for education, Maori Affairs and Employment.

Mrs Joan Lawson, a 75-yr old holder of the Queens Service Medal, has lost her challenge in the High Court against Housing New Zealand seeking a judicial review of market rents.

Labour Leader Helen Clark predicts it will be another three weeks before her party and NZ First complete possible coalition talks.

NZ First is not giving any indications of its coalition preference between National and Labour.

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