Author Archives: Charlene Hoff

RATES SET TO INCREASE FROM 1 JULY

The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is set to increase from $165 a month to $200 a month from 1 July 2016 and the Old Age Pension rate for those aged 70 and over will increase from $650 a month to $660 a month.

The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is a means tested payment targeting working age people, primarily those with high disability needs, who are unable to secure employment. There are approximately 200 people currently receiving this payment.

While the rate is set to increase to $200 a month, the Government has stated an intention to progressively increase the Destitute and Infirmed Payment over time so that there is parity with the Old Age Pension.

The increase to the Destitute and Infirmed Payment was announced as part of the 2016-17 Budget at an additional cost of $92,000 bringing the total cost for the payment to $528,000 in 2016-17.

The increase in the Old Age Pension was originally announced last year and will cost an additional $87,000 bringing the total expected expenditure on the Old Age Pension for those aged 70 and over to $5.8 million in 2016-17. This is in addition to $6.3 million allocated in the 2016-17 Budget for Old Age Pensioners aged from 60 to 69.

Youth Training Opportunities: JENESYS Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth

The following opportunity is being offered by the Japanese Government for up to 3 students or youth to attend the above exchange programme in Japan under the JENESYS2015 programme.

JENESYS 2015 is a people-to-people exchange program between Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, JENESYS (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth) and is supported by the Japanese Government.

The purpose of the programme is to:

  • promote mutual trust and understanding among the peoples of Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, and to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation
  • promote a global understanding of Japan’s society, history, diverse culture, politics, and diplomatic relations.

This is a fully-funded two-weeks study tour of Japan for 14 Pacific Island Countries and Australia & New Zealand.   (For more info check out: www.usp.ac.fj/jenesys2015/)

Application process:

*  Completed and signed application

*  Copy of bio-data page of passport

*  2x recent passport size photos (accompanying the application)

*  There is an opportunity for up to 3 students or youth to be nominated

*  Current USP students (full-time or part-time) and Youth are encouraged to apply

*  Must be 18 years old and over

Application forms to reached OPS Office no later than Friday 22nd January 2016.

Cook Islands Youth Monograph

The Cook Islands Government signed a Biennium Work Plan with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the two year period in 2014 and 2015 to target issues affecting reproductive health and improving gender health outcomes.

While much of the planned work targeted programmes to assist with improved family planning, sexual and reproductive health services to prevent STIs, and raising awareness about violence against women, there was also a component for increasing the availability, analysis and utilization of data to inform policy decision making on population dynamics.

With support of the Cook Islands Statistics Office and UNFPA, two statistical reports using existing information contained in the Census was approved: these were the Labour Monograph and the Youth Monograph.

Below is a link to the Cook Islands Youth Monograph.

1. UNFPA _ Youth Monograph Report _ Young people of the Cook Islands HRv1

MEDIA RELEASE- PROPOSED ROAD SAFETY STRATEGY

A meeting was held today with Minister Nandi Glassie, Minister Albert Nicholas, representatives from Minister Teariki Heather’s Office and relevant stakeholders to discuss the proposed Road Safety Strategy and safety helmets for motorbike users.

“Today was an opportune time for all to get an update on the work that has been undertaken by Police, Health, government officials and stakeholders in August this year on improving road safety, the next steps needed and how we politicians can support the proposed changes,” said Minister Nicholas.

The meeting clarified that a comprehensive road safety strategy that had been developed in August 2015 was ready for consideration by Cabinet. The strategy outlines a 5-pronged approach addressing road safety from a holistic approach including improving physical safety of the roads, improved safety by road users and effective road incident crash response.

The strategy would enable the establishment of a new multi-stakeholder Road Safety Committee with the first priority item of business on the issue of compulsory wearing of helmets.

“I am pleased to see that this new Committee includes representation from the Office of the Opposition as this may facilitate quicker decision making at the political level rather than waiting for Parliament to sit to discuss this very important matter”.

“By the time we go to Parliament in the New Year, I hope it will be with a consensus approach through the work of this committee on compulsory wearing of helmets”.

Officials from the Police, ministries of health, infrastructure and internal affairs and representatives from the Road Safety Council, Cook Islands National Youth Council and Teimurimotia Fire Brigade were present at today’s meeting.

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