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New Zealand Herald

Americas Cup - E-Warfare - Super Changes - Rapist Fights Back - Drugs Billionaire x2 - Cancer Inquiry - Titewhai Harawira - Screwdriver Gang - Hawkesby Payout - Office Wrangle - Prisons - Editorial: Super

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AMERICAS CUP: The swelling popularity of the America's Cup caused its first problems on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday. The growing armada of spectator boats watching the Louis Vuitton Cup final twice had to flee from racing yachts AmericaOne and Prada as fluky winds flicked around the compass.

E-WARFARE: A senior manager of state-owned Timberlands is likely to be sacked today after the Prime Minister accused him of a "guerrilla warfare" e-mail campaign against the Government. A widely circulated e-mail from Kit Richards, Timberlands' general manager of planning, talked of putting personal pressure on Helen Clark, Timberlands Minister Pete Hodgson and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs over the Government's decision to stop the company logging beech.

SUPER CHANGES: The Coalition has delivered on a core election promise to restore national super to 65 per cent of the average wage by boosting the married rate by an extra $21.42 a week from April. The single living alone and the single sharing rates will rise by $12.86 and $12.36 respectively.

RAPIST FIGHTS BACK: A convicted serial rapist serving a 13-year sentence is taking out a private prosecution against one of his accusers. Stephen Karl Collie alleges that one of the women who gave evidence against him committed perjury. He says the woman lied to the jury in order to get him convicted.

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The Herald's fight to unmask an American tycoon who tried to sneak his drug stash into Auckland is nearing its climax after a sharp legal joust in the Otahuhu District Court. Judge David Harvey yesterday reserved his decision on whether to allow the man's name to be published, after hearing arguments from lawyers acting for the Crown, the Herald and the billionaire.

DRUGS BILLLIONAIRE: The lawyer for the drug-smuggling American billionaire claims that overseas charities will suffer if his name is published here. Marie Dyhrberg, opposing the Herald's bid to reveal the man's identity, told the Otahuhu District Court yesterday that he had given big money to charities that would be hurt if his "criminality" was widely known.

CANCER INQUIRY: A ministerial medical inquiry descended into argument within minutes of opening yesterday. The inquiry into the misreading of cervical smears by former Gisborne doctor Michael Bottrill opened with a hui at Pakirikiri Marae in Tokomaru Bay, 90km north of Gisborne, to hear from Ngati Porou who had been affected.

TITEWHAI HARAWIRA: Maori activist Titewhai Harawira has been barred from attending official Waitangi Day commemorations on her home marae. But Mrs Harawira has vowed to defy the ban and slammed the use of a "Pakeha method" on a Maori marae.

SCREWDRIVER GANG: The Screwdriver Gang has stolen more than $130,000, but money is getting low for the bank robbers thanks to hefty "taxes" imposed by criminals helping them hide from police. The gang - containing 21-year-old South Auckland ringleaders John Koteka, Elder Brown and Paul Tipene - has robbed five Auckland banks in the past four weeks.

HAWKESBY PAYOUT: Dumped newsreader John Hawkesby has won his battle for compensation from TVNZ. The state-owned network demanded strict confidentiality, but the Herald has learned that a private arbitrator found strongly in favour of Hawkesby, meaning a substantial cash payment.

OFFICE WRANGLE: Wellington Harbour glittered under the high noon sun as United MP Peter Dunne contemplated blinking. Out his office window, he could see the port in all its splendour, and knew that to back down would mean to lose this view.

PRISONS: Corrections Minister Matt Robson has accepted there should be a new corrections facility in Northland, but has not decided on a location. Earlier this month, he froze plans for a 300-inmate prison at Ngawha, near Kaikohe, and two new jails in Auckland, saying the focus should be on rehabilitation.

EDITORIAL - SUPER: As red-letter days go, there have been few better for superannuitants. From April 1, they learned yesterday, a married couple will be $21.42 a week better off. The contrast with the despondency which they felt last April Fool's Day could hardly be greater. On that day, the National Government's gradual reduction of superannuation from 65 to 60 per cent of the average take-home wage began to bite. It was understandable if pensioners were angry with Prime Minister Jenny Shipley's statement that this did not represent a cut. Many had good reason to feel they were being increasingly disadvantaged.

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