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TODAY'S SCOOPS

IRD Figures False - Finance Minister Sir Bill Birch today said figures provided to him by the IRD were incorrect. Birch said that instead of paying consultants $687 per hour, the IRD in fact payed them $280 per hour. Bill Birch will be seeking an explanation from the IRD as to why incorrect figures were provided to him. See... IRD Corrects Figures On Consultancy Hours in the Parliament wire.

Petrol Price Hike - Yesterdays three cent per litre price hike on petrol and diesel looks set to increase again as oil companies pass on skyrocketing prices of crude oil. BP and Shell made the first increase which has now been followed by the rest of the major companies. North Island prices are now 87.9 cents per litre for 96 octane and 82.9 cents for 91 octane. The increase is the largest single rise in 10 years and will cost consumers around $90 million per year.

Timberlands And The Woodchip Debate - Scoop gathers some of the comments on the debate that continues to rage over the possibility of the State Owned Enterprise Timberlands beginning to log native beech forests for woodchips. Forest And Bird and Native Forest Action have led the charge and today Forest And Bird issued a challenge to Timberlands. See… Timberlands Challenged to Support Woodchip And Log Ban in the General wire. Native Forest Action have accused the government of using PR to fudge the issues, see… Government Spin Obscures Chipping Native Forests, and also warn that the government is buying an Election Year Fight Over Chipping Beech Forests. The Green Party says National's decision to allow native wood chip exports is driven by the need to rescue Timberlands West Coast and prepare it for sale. See… Wood chip ban lifted to rescue Timberlands in the Parliament wire. Also in the Parliament wire the Labour Party say Timberlands West Coast Ltd must be heaving a huge sigh of relief and that soon Timberland beeches will be wood chips.

IRD Pay Consultants $687 Per Hour - The Inland Revenue Department has paid consultants $687 per hour for advice on restructuring - advice which includes cutting staff by 600. Consultants KPMG have been paid $2.4 million in consultancy fees in the past two years by the IRD. ACT Finance spokesperson Rodney Hide says it is a shambles while Finance Minister Sir Bill Birch says the restructuring will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

The New Zealand Rich List - The National Business Review today published their annual rich list. Brothers Tim and Nick Wood who founded Ihug have jumped into the list with an estimated wealth of $75 million. Others, in order of wealth include: Doug Myers with $525 million, Merchant Bankers Sir Michael Faye and David Richwhite share second spot with Stephen Tindall of the Warehouse with $310 million each. Next come investor Alan Gibbs with $260 million, investor John Spencer with $230 million, car dealer Colin Giltrap with $210 million and investor Graeme Hart with $200 million. The Maori Queen also made the list with an estimated wealth of $9 million. See… A Summary Of The National Business Review's 1999 Rich List in the Headlines wire.

Telecom And EDS Announce Strategic Relationship - Telecom New Zealand today announced that it has entered into a strategic relationship with global information services company EDS. The relationship includes a 10-year, $1.5 billion agreement for EDS to supply all of Telecom's IS services, an equity position by Telecom in EDS (New Zealand), and an agreement to work together with Microsoft to develop and deliver online solutions to customers. See… Telecom And EDS Announce Outsourcing Deal in the Business wire.

Handshake Response - The Government is to adopt new rules for Ministers, Boards, and Chief Executives of Crown entities, State Services Minister Simon Upton announced yesterday. See Crown Entities Package in the Parliament wire. In the same wire, ACT says "High Time Government Broke Golden Handshakes" and Labour says "Finally - but why so long". The review followed much publicised payouts to some Tourism Board members.

Energy Efficiency Bill - The Transport and Environment Committee presented its report on the Energy Efficiency Bill today. This is a Member's bill in the name of Jeanette Fitzsimons. In its report, the committee recommends that the bill be passed with amendments. See… Report on Energy Efficiency Bill in the Parliament wire.

Inflation Lives, Just - The Food Price Index fell by 0.7 per cent in the June 1999 month following a fall of 0.4 per cent in May and unchanged food prices in April, but at the same time the Consumers Price Index rose by 0.2 per cent in the June 1999 quarter, said Government Statistician Len Cook. Though overall, the country underwent deflation for the year. See the business wire.

Paying A Dividend - Keith Rankin in his Thursday Column has a look at Tax Cuts according to Tau, Dick and Bill. See the headlines wire.

The House Has Risen - MPs are going home after a long week in the House. Wednesday night, the House made slow progress through contentious legislation. See House: Slow Progress, Language, RMA And Cows in the headlines wire. On Thursday morning the House debated changes to the Human Rights Act and the introduction of arms control legislation and broke out of urgency while considering the Child Support Amendment Bill (No. 5). After Question Time (See Questions Of The Day (7-12) and Questions Of The Day (1-6)), the House rose after completing the committee stages of the Child Support Amendment Bill and debating a special committee to look at the dairy restructuring. For details on House business, see The House: Business Ahead, Urgency Next Week in the headlines wire.

Industry Agrees With Price Freeze - Labour says in the Parliament wire that has gained the electricity lines companies agreement to a price freeze and they ask "Are You Happy now, Max and Jenny?"

Reforming Milk - The long debated changes have gone before the House. John Luxton's speech is in the Parliament wire. ACT says farmers won't be rushed through submissions, while Farmers say the time frame will be very tight as a special select committee considers the proposals in a short time. The Alliance says the end result could be the dairy industry potentially headed for overseas ownership. . ACT gives the legislation cautious support. While Peter Dunne says producers must have their say. While Labour says it wants more dairy reform consultation. See the parliament wire.

Police Evict Rent Striker - In the Auckland wire, there is extensive coverage of the eviction of a HNZ tenant.

Thoughts On The RMA In the Parliament wire, Simon Upton's speech to the Local Govt. Conference outlines his views on what's right and wrong with the Resource Management Act. His release on the RMA. legislation introduced last night is in the Parliament wire. In the same wire, Labour says it opposes the RMA changes. While Greens say the Resource Management Act survives.

Human Rights The House has debated a new human rights Bill, that the Minister says offers a compromise

Arms Legislation Also during urgency the House sent on to select committee, the Government's Gun Registration Bill. ACT says Gun Registration Won't Address Real Cause of Crime, while a pro-gun lobby says the Arms Feel-Good Legislation Will Cost Lives

Aussie Pests - The Conservation Minister has placed Aussie Lorikeets on the unwanted list. See the Parliament wire.

Voter Registration - In the general wire, there is a report that 500,000 Voters are still to enrol.

Crime Concerns - Mayors have expressed concerns about police staffing and crime. There have been calls for more local control of police. In the Parliament wire, Labour says it will answer community policing concerns, but the Labour President is well off the mark says Maurice Williamson.

Industry Policy - In the parliament wire, there are details on the Labour party's industrial training policy.

Petrol Prices Increase - Petrol prices are on the way up with the major franchises announcing an increase of three cents a litre. Most are expected to follow suit

Special Education Spending - In the Parliament wire, the Governmentcommits $34.5 Million to Special Education spending. Labour says while they welcome the money the changes highlight ad hoc implementation

For Sale Or Not - Dr Cullen has leapt on reported comments from the Treasurer Bill English, that after the election a National Government would sell TVNZ and other assets. Dr Cullen says it is Same old, same old." But Mr English says the asset sale policy is unchanged, which will disappoint ACT who welcomed the move. All that in the Parliament wire.

On The Edge Admire him or wonder about him, Kevin Roberts is always worth a read. In the general wire, he talks about "The New Zealand Edge".


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