NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for May 06, 2015

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Newsroom Digest

This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains 6 media release snippets and 4 links of the day from Wednesday 6th May.

Top stories in the news cycle today include the Government defending the amount of funding Whānau Ora uses for administration after criticism from the Auditor-General, international dairy prices fall for the fourth consecutive time, and the unemployment rate stays unchanged at 5.8% due to the size of the labour force reaching a record high.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

$98 Million For Surgery: An extra $98 million will be invested in Budget 2015 to provide more New Zealanders with timely elective surgery, and to improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says. “The number of patients receiving elective surgery has increased from 118,000 in 2007/08 to 162,000 in 2013/14. That’s 44,000 more operations – a 37 per cent increase,” Dr Coleman says.

Social Housing Reform Regions: Tauranga and Invercargill have been selected as the first regions for the proposed transfer of Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) houses to registered Community Housing Providers (CHPs), Ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett say. “This is another important step to creating a more effective and efficient social housing sector with more housing providers supporting tenants and their needs,” Housing New Zealand Minister Bill English says. As announced by the Prime Minister in January, the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme includes plans to transfer 1000 – 2000 HNZC houses to registered CHPs over the next year.

Strong Growth In Labour Market: The latest Household Labour Force Survey shows ongoing job growth in the New Zealand economy, while a record labour market participation rate kept the unemployment level steady at 5.8% in the March quarter Today’s HLFS shows the number of people employed grew 16,000 in the March quarter and 74,000 over the year. The participation rate was the highest ever recorded for New Zealand, at 69.6%.

Green Party: Auckland Homes Earning More Than Working Person: With wages rising just 0.3 percent in the three months to March 2015 but average Auckland house prices rising 6.1 percent in the same timeframe, urgent action is needed to ensure working New Zealanders can achieve home ownership, the Green Party said today. “Young New Zealanders see the growing gap between their wages and house prices and despair that the National Government is ignoring their hopes to one day own their own home,” said Green Party housing spokesperson Kevin Hague.“The simple fact is that a house in Auckland earns more than a working person does.”

Labour Party: Spotless Must End Zero-Hour Contracts: New Zealand’s largest contractor of food, cleaning and hospital staff, Spotless, must now take action to end all zero-hour contracts, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday Labour asked questions of Parliamentary Service and the Speaker after we revealed nine parliamentary workers contracted by Spotless were on zero-hours contracts. “Following our questions the company, which employs 33,000 workers across Australia and New Zealand, agreed to end the practise in parliament, ensuring their employment agreements include guaranteed hours. This was the right and fair thing to do,” Little says.

NZ Dollar Falls Below AUSD: The New Zealand dollar fell to an eight-week low against the Aussie as traders bet the Reserve Bank of Australia is finished its easing cycle after it reduced the country’s benchmark interest rate to a record low 2 percent yesterday. The kiwi touched 94.90 Australian cents, and was trading at 95.09 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 95.45 cents at 5pm yesterday and 96.05 cents immediately before the RBA’s 4:30pm statement. The local currency edged up to 75.54 US cents from 75.45 cents yesterday after a report showed the US trade deficit widened.

LINKS OF THE DAY

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE UNCHANGED: The unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent in the March 2015 quarter (from a revised 5.8 percent in the December 2014 quarter), while the labour force participation rate reached an all-time high of 69.6 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Over the year to the latest quarter, the number of people employed increased 74,000 (3.2 percent) while the number of people unemployed fell 1,000 (0.6 percent), as measured by the Household Labour Force Survey. For more information about these statistics:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPMar15qtr.aspx

SUPERGOLD CARD DISCOUNTS: Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry says the latest SuperGold business recruitment campaign has achieved its aim of signing up more health professionals and lawyers. The campaign ran over March and April and resulted in more than 650 new businesses offering discounts. Around 70% of these new businesses have come from outside of the main centres. A comprehensive list of the businesses offering SuperGold Card discounts in each region can be found at:
www.msd.govt.nz

RED CROSS PUBLISHES RECOVERY MANUAL: New Zealand Red Cross has launched Leading in Disaster Recovery: Companion through the Chaos, a book for leaders working in disaster recovery. Download the Companion for free here:
www.preparecenter.org/resources/leading-in-disaster-recovery

MINISTER CONGRATULATES TOP SCHOLARS: Education Minister Hekia Parata has congratulated Joshua Hansen on being awarded this year’s Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence. The former Westlake Boys’ High School student was presented the award by Prime Minister John Key at the NZQA Top Scholar Award ceremony held at Parliament today. More information is available on the NZQA website:
http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/news/2014-nz-scholarship-results-now-available/

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Wednesday 6th May 2015.

Brought to EveningReport by Newsroom Digest.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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