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Oil spike takes off

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, April 11th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: energy - Tags: ,

Get ready for another petrol increase this week. Last week, the Dubai crude benchmark, which most of New Zealand’s imports are priced of, shot up over 4% in NZD terms. Unless that rise reverses right away, petrol will have to rise past $2.25 a litre. We’re now pay $160m a week for oil imports – $2b a year more than a year ago.

We’re seeing a pattern where small events cause oil prices to leap and then the prices not falling when the event ends. For example, last week oil workers in Gabon went on strike. It took just 0.25% of world supply off the market but oil rose several percent. When the strike ended, the oil price didn’t sink. In fact, it kept rising.

Increasing unrest in tiny producers like Syria and Yemen, and the slim threat of revolt in Saudi Arabia, is used to explain these oil prices – but that’s a shallow analysis that missed the real story.

The world supply situation is incredibly tight. For nearly two months Libyan imports have been offline (apart from one shipment from rebel-held Tobruk last week). The Saudis are supposedly using spare capacity to fill this gap but it’s not clear how much this is really happening.

There just isn’t enough oil to go around and the price will keep rising until economies go into recession and start demanding less oil.

New Zealand imports about 150,000 barrels of oil a day. This time last year, oil was $110 NZD a barrel and that meant we were paying about $117 million a week. Now oil is over $150 a barrel and we’re paying over $158 million a week. An extra $40 million a week – 1% of GDP – is being sucked out of our economy for no extra stuff.

In total, we’re paying 4% of our GDP just to import oil. If we could cut that consumption just 10%, we would have $800 million more a year to invest in our own country rather than seeing it go up in smoke.

36 comments on “Oil spike takes off”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Petrol over $2/L means zero or negligible economic growth.
     
    Factor in English’s Budget cuts and you will have an economy going into a death spiral.
     
    Perfect for those who are cash rich here and overseas who want to buy up more hard NZ assets.

  2. Shane Gallagher 2

    The University of Otago has calculated that we have about 50% redundancy in our internal trade transport – ie. just moving apples to Auckland from Wellington and moving the same number of apples from Wellington to Auckland (that is just a random made-up example).

    So we could significantly reduce the amount we spend on fuel – BUT we would need a level of centralised control that a lot of people would balk at – even though it makes perfect sense. If we push for lots of true efficiencies we can reduce costs to the country (and make a big dent in our CO2 emissions!).

    • Rich 2.1

      Reducing subsidies to road transport would be a help though.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Rich and Shane, you are both right about being able to get far greater fuel efficiencies, in particular with regard to trucks on roads. The whole thing is predicated on just in time delivery. Years back we had local warehouses from which distribution was done, now it is sent overnight by truck from Auckland etc. What this meant for businesses was that they were able to free up capital otherwise tied up in stock. To carry that stock again will mean either we wait for delivery or we pay more.

    • PeteG 2.2

      Shane, apples could be a good example if they are bulk distributed like wine, produce from Cromwell (Central Otago) is trucked to grocery warehouses in Christchurch (420km) and then to Dunedin (360km) instead of direct (220km).
       
      780km versus 220km.

      Trains won’t solve that example.

      I’m not sure if it still is but Speights beer was brewed in Dunedin, taken by tanker to Christchurch and bottled, then distributed to Dunedin and further south.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        Trains won’t solve that example.

        Well, I suppose that would be dependent upon where the train tracks are. Using the trains is, after all, more efficient than using trucks.
         
        There’s always going to be some centralisation and so there will always be some double trucking. The idea is to minimise it as much as is practical and not try to eliminate it altogether.

        • ZeeBop 2.2.1.1

          If Dunedin makes beer then sells the bear in kegs, then why would you need to ship bottled beer there? If it needs bottled beer someone will oblige. Dunedin will then have a cheap beer that keeps profits in Dunedin, save fuel costs, and have a market for their beer even in the worst of downturns. But no! The brewery is owned by ?foreigners? so of course when they look at the costs they see the multiplier effect results in an era of cheap oil, but we’re no longer in an era of cheap fuel, the brewery would make more money by being less uniform. It should be a right to be able to go to a lot brewery and buy a keg of beer!

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.1

            Not everyone wants a keg of beer and it’s probably inefficient/not practical to have a bottling factory in every city.

  3. Galeandra 3

    Trrraaaaaaiiiinnnnns!!!!!!!!!! Now where did I read recently that modern diesel trains can shift a ton of freight a thousand miles on only a gallon of diesel. Must be somewhere stateside, so maybe a link in the Archdruid’s report?

    • uke 3.1

      Coastal shipping may be even cheaper. Although obviously slower.

      Quite logically, given we are a sea-bound country (Zealand = “Sealand”), this was our first modern method of goods distribution.

  4. Steve Withers 4

    I saw this coming last year, so in August started walking the 8kms to work. I now walk to work 5 days / week (16kms / day). I filled my 1.3L car yesterday for $67. First time in 3 weeks. Our (family of 4) monthly petrol bill would be under $100 now, down from over $300 if I was still driving to work every day.  That is saving us over $2,500 / year at current prices….and I’m much fitter, having lost 15Kg. So what happens to the oil price, for us directly, is no longer a major concern.  

    It’s easy to reduce oil dependency if you put your mind to it and get off your arse.

    • r0b 4.1

      Good on you for all that you have done personally. Been through a similar process myself.

      So what happens to the oil price, for us directly, is no longer a major concern.

      If only that were true. Food prices will rise, prices in general will skyrocket, there will be social unrest. We can’t opt out. It’s going to be a major concern to all of us.

      • Steve Withers 4.1.1

        R0b: We’ve installed a composter and have a veggie garden up and running. The tomatoes have been awesome so far. Shortly to be extended. Adding a beehive in September and 4 chooks. We’re on a sunny 900m2 section, so have some space for a couple of fruit trees, too. Also signed up with Ooooby and making connections with other local back yard gardeners to share skills / resources and spread the word. Hopefully we can at least help neighbours meet and beat the challenges as they arise.

        If the National-lead government doesn’t even see and thus won’t do anything to meet the challenges of the years ahead, it doesn’t mean we ALL have to behave like hedgehogs on the highway of life.

        • r0b 4.1.1.1

          All good stuff! You should do us a guest post some time on the experience of going “Good Life”, with any advice and resources.

          Ooooby looks good. I hope you have also checked out Transition Towns:
          http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/

          • Steve Withers 4.1.1.1.1

            Thanks. 🙂  I’m a total gardening newb, so seeing very myself as a “test case”.  Our goal is to set up whatever we can provided it doesn’t take more then 30-60 minutes / day to operate and maintain. Preferably every second day once everthing is set up. In theory, we will weed and water and address pests as they arise as efficiently as possible. We also plan to grow the things that are dear at the supermarket. No point spending more growing on relatively inefficient back yard gardening to grow what’s cheap anyway. I’ll check out transition Towns. Thanks.

        • uke 4.1.1.2

          In the bad old days before 1935, when most NZ families were poor, people would often forego the luxury of a lawn and fill up the front yard with potato plants. When you think about it, grass lawns and ornamental gardens are a waste of good growing space.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1

            I’m pretty sure that ornamental gardens are a by product of herb gardens which can be quite ornamental.

            • uke 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Yeah, fair enough. I guess I was thinking of inedible ornamentals like hydrangas, agapanthas, daffodils, tulips and such like.
               
              And I suppose vegetable plants can be ornamental. In Lambton Quay, Wellington, the WCC sometimes plants very pretty-looking veges like purple kale. It’s probably all completely inedible from the fumes. The logic is somehow typical of our times.

              • sean

                This is still prevalent throughout provincial Italy – anyone who doesn’t use every available inch of their gardens for growing food is looked at like they are a freak.  You can go to towns and count the number of lawns on the fingers of one hand.
                 
                I imagine no matter what this attitude will eventually be embraced over here, giving we have a climate conducive to year round growth in most places.

  5. JaJ 5

    Raise petrol taxes by 50c per litre. Use all of the revenue – though no more – to cut income and corporate taxes. Result: reduction in use of private transport, increased incentives to purchase fuel efficient cars over gas guzzlers, increased public transport patronage. All this without impoverishing households or decreasing returns on investment in the corporate sector.
     
    Hopefully the standard can agree that this would be sensible.

    [lprent: What blighty is referring to (below) is the self-martyrdom offences in the policy. Familiarize yourself with them because repeating the offense is a fast way to get a well deserved band.

    “The Standard” is a dumb program that has no opinions. It runs as a coop which means that it doesn’t have a editorial opinion. The commentators are about as diverse in their opinions as it is possible have in NZ without allowing idiot trolls to take over.

    Fortunately for you I can’t find a trace of you offending before. But you have now been warned. ]

    • Blighty 5.1

      cue comment from Lynn about how the standard is just software and can’t agree to anything.
      Just you wait, Lynn. It’ll be self-aware before you know it. Already, it’s as intelligent as whaleoil.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        Nope.

        This site is made up of structured code. That means it has been built with a inherent philosophy by a large number of people trying to make things better not only now, but also into the future. The code reflects that and generally so do the users of it here. A large proportion of the success of the site comes from its large numbers of comments, and that comes from the trust that peoples details will not be abused. Of course this doesn’t mean that you won’t get abused yourself by other commentators or moderators – but that tends to be rather educational for all concerned. It certainly never seems to stop people coming back (apart from the very small list of extremely persistent recidivists).

        Whereas if you look at Whaleoil as being a program, then it is a bit like his website. Bloody thing starts from a good base in its current incantation (the previous drupal site was to put it mildly – a total abortion). It has been weighed down with a pile of heavy crap plugins layered on top of each other and with so much javascript and HTML in there that it takes forever before it loads and stops popping up visual junk everywhere. It can reasonably be used to demonstrate how not to build a social media website.

        But that isn’t the worst of it. Because Whale as a software component tends to act like a Trojan key-logger abusing private details, there are no comments. Without the required sarcastic feedback in comments that would encourage him to amend his habits, his writing tends to read like a megalomaniacs wet dream where he is shouting into a echo chamber.

        I don’t think I could write anything quite so boring…

    • Steve Withers 5.2

      JaJ: I suspect car drivers will tolerate faceless, nameless “market forces” driving oil prices upward. But they will kill, cook and possibly eat any politician that even suggested it for the purpose you describe. 🙂

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        They certainly seem to get upset when congestion charges are mentioned.

      • JaJ 5.2.2

        A valid point, and probably the biggest obstruction to progress are groups demanding more pork for there pet cause. I suspect though that petrol tax hikes could be sold to the public as part of a package including compensatory tax cuts – or they can always be pushed through as part of “We’re out of hear anyway” third term 😉

    • JaJ 5.3

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to be self sacificing – I know what you mean. I genuinely did think that the community of bloggers and commentators built around thestandard.org.nz would agree 🙂

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        We do, but we’ve also seen how deeply sacred motor cars are to most kiwi males.  They’re embedded in our psyches so profoundly that most men would sooner you cut their bollocks off than threaten their wheels.

  6. outofbed 6

    Maybe Read this report
    A study commissioned by the New Zealand Transport Agency on freight transport in New Zealand, including an analysis of the prospects for coastal shipping.
     
    Seems coastal shipping is the way forward  not  RONS, funny that
     
     

  7. ChrisH 7

    MartyG, Don’t you mean $115 a barrel not $150?

  8. Jenny 8

    Extreme, increasingly desperate measures are being used to extend the world’s remaining dwindling estimated reserves.

    Here in New Zealand we are seeing these desperate measures being played out in the Raukumara Basin. In a move similar to Muldoon’s actions to protect nuclear warship visits, John Key says he is, “not ruling out the navy or air force”.
    Infamously when NZ navy helicopters were aggressively used against anti-nuclear protesters, many small vessels were swamped and deliberately sunk by the downdraft of naval helicopters. 
    Already there has been aggressive and repeated low level buzzing of the protest flotilla by airforce Hercules.
    Greenpeace activists told Radio New Zealand they would not be intimidated.

    Despite not receiving any complaint from Petrobras the police said they are exploring taking harsher action against the protesters.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Remember when our navy was sent by a proud nation to protest the French nuclear tests at Muroroa?
       
      How far we have fallen.

  9. Jenny 9

    The first day of the working week toiling at my soul sapping, less than environmentally friendly job, overcome by Mondayitis, I usually get weighed down by the state of the world.

    But today I couldn’t avoid having a smile on lips and a song in my heart every time I thought of the Greenpeace and te Whanau a Apanui activists out on the open ocean who have managed to put a spoke in the wheel of the planet gobbling machine. 

    They have the courage and the wit to do more than just bemoan the state of the world.

    Good on them.

  10. exit lane 10

    “If we could cut that consumption just 10%, we would have $800 million more a year to invest in our own country rather than seeing it go up in smoke.”
    and there is a plan to help do that – a report commissioned by the NZ Transport Agency in 2008 is gathering dust..
    http://oilshockhorrorprobe.blogspot.com/2011/03/oil-price-response-plan-for-new-zealand.html

  11. HC 11

    If there are still a few Al Qaeda cells active in the Middle East, or if some other saboteurs may take their fancy and do what certain Gaddhafi supporters have just done in Libya, then we will get a real crisis very quickly.
    The average mum picking up her kids from school will not realise until the price will hit $ 3 or 4 a litre. That is what many in Europe already pay. Well, are we not well prepared here in Aotearoa? We have a government that spends time on diddling with a bit tax more or less here, but which has no real plan for the longer term future.
    So suddenly everything will go up in price, because cheap oil is a thing of the past. Wow, what surprise, surprise, surprise. Blame whom? Those that live in LaLaLand and think miracles will happen will soon get all hot and bothered under their tops. I am sure of this, we are approaching the crisis much faster than others predicted.

  12. Steve Withers 12

    Yeah…but those mistakes will all be “in the past”..and the people who made them will just want us all “to move on”. That’s how slippery incompetent folk avoid being accountable.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
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    4 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
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    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
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    5 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
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    6 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
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    6 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
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    6 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
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    6 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
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    7 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
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    7 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
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    7 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
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    7 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
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    1 week ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
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    1 week ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
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    1 week ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
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    1 week ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
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    1 week ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
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    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
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    1 week ago