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Letter No.50
22 November, 1996

2 November 1996

Former MP and NZ First strategist Michael Laws, writing in the Evening Post, proposes a coalition deal that would cost about $750m in extra spending, including $150m for community employment initiatives.

Labour and NZ First call for a report on increases to state housing rentals and agree that action can be taken on this issue even while coalition negotiations were taking place.

3 November 1996

Prostitution should be used in promoting NZ as a travel destination, says Dr Jody Hanson, a Waikato University researcher. Hanson has just completed a report that shows that sex tourism is already worth at least $15m to the NZ economy.

The Smith Family Report in Australia claims that almost one in three Australians are living in poverty.

4 November 1996

Radio NZ announces another 50 staff will be made redundant.

5 November 1996

Palmerston North business and community leaders are shocked at the full extent of the job losses likely at Tui Dairy's Longburn milk plant. At a meeting with Kiwi Dairies it was confirmed that as many as 350 jobs could be lost at Longburn alone. It was originally thought that 350 jobs would be lost across the whole region as a result of the Kiwi-Tui merger.

Restructuring at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences has left 22 staff without jobs and the future of the Taupo volcanic observatory in doubt.

Parliamentary Services reports that several Ministerial secretaries who collected redundancy cheques after the general election could be re-employed after only a month away from work.

6 November 1996

Democrat United States President Bill Clinton wins re-election to a second term of office. The US Congress remains under the control of the Republicans.

7 November 1996

McDonalds has offered jobs to all 700 staff at the 17 Georgie Pie outlets it has taken over.

8 November 1996

NZ Employment Service launches a special youth campaign aimed at getting young people aged 17-20 "off the couch" and into work. The campaign will encourage the young people to build a picture of where they would like to be in a few year's time, and then work out the steps needed to reach their goals.

9 November 1996

The government welcomes the latest official employment statistics. Caretaker Employment Minister Wyatt Creech : "Not only are there more people in the working age population but a lot more of them are recognising opportunities and making themselves available for work ..."

Labour's Steve Maharey says that the government's "good news facade" was slipping: "This data would tend to suggest that slowing economic growth is now impacting on employment growth. Unemployment is now on its way up again ..."

11 November 1996

The Reserve Bank Governor, Don Brash, says that the economy cannot sustain tax cuts as well as greater government spending. In a speech aimed at the coalition talks presently taking place, Dr Brash said that if the talk result in a net increase in government spending, then the tax cuts will need to be deferred.

The Clothing Workers Union is outraged that the NZ Police is to buy 23,000 shirts a year with a firm manufacturing the shirts in Indonesia by workers earning only 50c and hour. The shirts were previously made in NZ by companies in Levin and Christchurch.

12 November 1996

A Social Welfare report, released by an order of the Ombudsman, estimates that the cost of child abuse in NZ has reached $1.5 billion a year, and conservatively estimates that 27,000 young NZ'ers each year suffer physical assault and emotional maltreatment.

Labour's Social Welfare Spokeswoman Annette King says that the government has been 'wilfully under-funding' the Children, Young Persons and their Families Service (CYPFS) and calls for more funds to be allocated into preventative measures against child abuse.

The Alliance launches a campaign to raise the minimum wage, dubbing it: " All I want for Christmas is $300 a week".

TVNZ begins its television documentary series "Revolution" which examines the economic and social changes in NZ over the last ten years.

13 November 1996

The CTU calls for Don Brash to be sacked over his latest comments about the economy and his warning that tax cuts might have to be delayed.

The ILO reports that child labour, prostitution and slavery are increasing worldwide, with 250m children now working full time. This is double the previous estimates of child labour.

The lobby group Education Accord says that indebted teachers should be entitled to a loan abatement scheme as a way of attracting university and teacher college graduates into the teaching profession.

14 November 1996

50th anniversary of NZ's membership of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

15 November 1996

The Alliance announces its new line-up of party spokespeople. Employment goes to Rod Donald, while Pam Corkery picks up the social security portfolio from unsuccessful candidate Dave McPherson.

The ANZ Bank in Australia is to shed 3,000 jobs by the end of next year.

16 November 1996

Senior government officials from Latin America and Asia will be flying into NZ next month to study how former state-run enterprises have been corporatised and privatised.

17 November 1996

The World Food Summit ends in Rome, having adopted an 'action plan' to halve the number of hungry people in the world within 20 years. At present there are 840m people going without sufficient food. Like other UN meetings before it, the Rome Summit has seen sharp differences between the views and commitments of rich and poor countries.

Social Welfare head Margaret Bazeley reveals that her office has been checked for 'bugs' or listening devices many times by the Security Intelligence Service, as part of measures to stop information leaks to politicians.

Nearly 500,000 adult NZ'ers have no insurance of any kind, and fewer are taking out health insurance.

18 November 1996

PSA President Tony Simpson says that with about 400 jobs expected to be cut at Social Welfare over the next six months, morale is at such a low ebb that there is bound to be leaks of sensitive material. Simpson: "The wonder is not that there are leaks, but that there are so few leaks ... In general, the staff have been very loyal."

19 November 1996

Maori welfare providers are so concerned about the failures of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Services, that they have set up an 0800 number to log complaints. The number is 0800 KAIAWHI (524 2944).

Forty-eight schools on the West Coast are to receive extra government funding in order to help them attract teachers for next year.

Outgoing Dargaville High School Principal Les Sweetman says that unwilling students should not be forced into classrooms, and the school leaving age should be lowered to 13 years.

20 November 1996

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce says that business in the Wellington region is being badly hit by the three-month election doldrums and the delay in forming a government.

Student job search centres report an "early summer job famine". After eight weeks in operation, job vacancies have slowed and a high percentage of the 5,000 students enrolled are still unemployed.

21 November 1996

The Dominion reports that it is generally expected that MP Peter McCardle will be Minister of Employment in any coalition government that includes NZ First.

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