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The Weekend Scoop

Nat Conference Underway - Jenny Shipley has given her Keynote Address. The speech is in the Parliament wire. Earlier Trade Minister Lockwood Smith shocked delegates at by apologising for failing to stop the US imposing tariffs on our lamb. He says he's felt the decision very deeply and has paid tribute to the Prime Minister and Jim Bolger, for helping control the damage. Tax cuts remain firmly in focus and the debate on whether they are a good idea or not rages throughout the Parliament and politics wires. Also at the conference the Senior Citizens Minister, David Carter, ruled out restoring the superannuation cuts. Mr Carter says even now it is not sustainable and the ageing population puts pressure on political parties to agree on such a super scheme.

Homes Affordable - A survey by AMP shows homes are now 42.8 per cent more affordable than they were this time last year due to a number of factors, including a small increase in the average weekly wage, low interest rates and a 1.3 per cent drop in the quarterly median house price. Auckland remains the most expensive place to buy houses, Southland remains the cheapest.

Fighting Back - The focus of the lamb tariff story moves to taking action against the US. Australian PM John Howard is in Washington next week (See the Australia wire) Lockwood Smith says the details of taking a case to the WTO will be finalised next week. The US Ambassador to NZ is confident that the US will be able to successfully defend its actions.

The Central Question - The Scoop takes a look at "Hobbs And Bunkle And The City Council Deal" in the headlines wire and finds potential political allies are battling it out.

I Have A Little List - The Green Party says in the Parliament wire that their list selection is the most democratic

Net Music As part of the winter festival, NZ Bands are taking part in an Internet broadcast from Queenstown. See the general wire.

The Meaning Of Mana - Tuku Morgan calls for Maori leader to put his mana on line. The comments in the Parliament wire follow the man having his details suppressed in a court case to protect that elusive quality.

Closing A Loophole The Finance Minister announces the closure of a tax loophole on film. See the Parliament wire.

Exporters Falter - A three year period of growth in merchandise exports during 1996, 1997 and 1998 appears to be ending, Government Statistician Len Cook said yesterday. The exports trend, which has been flat over the last four months, is now turning down. The trend in merchandise imports continues to show strong growth. See merchandise export growth falters in the businesswire.

Sitting Ducks - Following the meteor explosion earlier in the week, a Scoop reader asks "Are We Sitting Ducks in a Cosmic Shooting Gallery?". See the headlines wire.

Net Tax Deferred - In the business wire, IHUG And Telecom Announce 0867 Agreement . Telecom says in response to feedback from its ISP customers, particularly The Internet Group Limited (IHUG) as one of the country's leading ISPs, Telecom New Zealand Limited is deferring the implementation of its 2 cent per minute charge for residential Internet calls

Should He Come or Should He Stay - The suggestion by Labour's Jim Sutton that President Clinton should cancel his APEC visit, has angered Lockwood Smith, in the Parliament wire he says it is sheer stupidity . Federated Farmers say in the business wire, "Come To APEC President Clinton"

Flu Spreads Like, Well Flu - The Ministry of Health reports in the general wire that theflu outbreak appears to be spreading from Auckland to the central North Island and Northland and is expected to hit further south in coming weeks.

WTO - Envoys to the World Trade Organisation say the dispute over the appointment of a new Director Director could be resolved next week with Mike Moore and Panitchpakdi Supachai seeing the two serve consecutive terms, possibly of three years each.

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