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New Zealand Herald

Hawkesby x 3 – Tainui – NRL Drowning – Smoking In Parliament – Chest Therapy – Coke Boat – Monsanto – Deaf Man Found – Coastguard Ordeal – West Auckland Murder – Jim Anderton – Mental Health – Auckland Arts

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HAWKESBY: TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis threatened to use all the resources of the state-owned broadcaster against John Hawkesby, the newsreader claimed last night. And as the bitter battle between Hawkesby and TVNZ intensified, the network responded to his exclusive interview with the Herald by threatening to take out an injunction against the paper.

HAWKESBY: A decision to award John Hawkesby $5.25 million came after a medical illness for which he was taking anti-depressant drugs, including Prozac. An arbitrator's ruling in the case between Television New Zealand and its former newsreader was made public yesterday by a High Court judge who said there was "serious public interest" in the documents.

HAWKESBY: John Hawkesby's disappearance from our screens and his subsequent award of huge damages actually had its beginnings at TV3. In early January 1998, TV3 told him it had decided to change his position from sole presenter on 3 National News to that of co-presenter with Carol Hirschfeld.

TAINUI: The Tainui tribe is to slash $40 million off its balance sheet after acknowledging a series of investment blunders. Five years after the $170 million settlement with the Crown over land confiscations, the Waikato tribe's $245 million asset base has been eroded by 16 per cent.

NRL DROWNING: Late-night drinking and skylarking turned to tragedy early yesterday when an Australian rugby league manager drowned after trying to take a dip in the Waitemata Harbour. Detective Superintendent Peter Marshall said 35-year-old Michael Moore said, "Watch this" to 25 bar patrons just after 3 am, before walking across Princes Wharf and putting his hands on a wooden ledge. He then attempted to vault himself into the water.

SMOKING IN PARLIAMENT: The Prime Minister wants Parliament to stub out its bad habits and become a model smokefree workplace. "Wouldn't it be wonderful," she said yesterday. Helen Clark as Health Minister helped Parliament to set the rules in the Smoke-free Environments Act and now it breaks them, she said.

CHEST THERAPY: A parent whose child died after receiving controversial chest-tapping physiotherapy at National Women's Hospital believes he is close to a breakthrough in getting compensation. Charles Munro, of One Tree Hill, said yesterday that he understood Auckland Healthcare's board would consider his request today.

COKE BOAT: The ketch believed to have ferried 500kg of cocaine into New Zealand waters left Panama in October and spent three months braving storms in the Pacific Ocean to get here. Customs officials revealed yesterday that they had seized papers showing the Bora Bora II left Panama on October 17 and stopped briefly at Pitcairn Island before its likely rendezvous with the yacht Ngaire Wha in mid-January.

MONSANTO: The local arm of multinational biotech company Monsanto is withdrawing its application for New Zealand field trials of genetically engineered wheat. "It is clear ... that New Zealanders want more time to consider the technology, and look at how it is introduced," said Monsanto's NZ biotechnology business manager, Murray Willocks. COASTGUARD ORDEAL: A man who has saved hundreds of lives at Thornton Beach near Whakatane over the past 20 years came perilously close to losing his own yesterday. But, in the best tradition of the archetypal good keen man, George Johnston - mate of the late Barry Crump for 34 years - survived more than four hours in strong seas in the pitch dark.

DEAF MAN FOUND: A deaf man missing for five days in the Urewera National Park greeted rescuers with a grin yesterday as he turned and saw them approaching him at the bottom of a bush-filled gully. Police had held grave fears for the safety of Alan Taimona, aged 42, of Te Whaiti, 45km southeast of Rotorua. They had about 50 searchers combing the rugged park near Murupara.

WEST AUCKLAND MURDER: A sick woman was found dead and her husband suffered critical injuries in West Auckland yesterday. Police began a homicide inquiry after their adult children discovered the woman dead beside her bed and the man injured in another room in the Oratia home.

SCISSORS KILLER: A woman who admitted killing her two young children with a pair of scissors was acquitted in the High Court at Wanganui yesterday by reasons of insanity. Tania Teresa Tokona, aged 31, of Tirau, near Tokoroa, wept silently as she embraced supporters after Justice Doogue delivered the verdict.

JIM ANDERTON: A small stand-alone Ministry of Economic Development is likely to be set up to provide Jim Anderton with a power base of officials' advice as the Alliance leader tries to create jobs in the regions. Mr Anderton, who is Minister for Regional Development as well as Deputy Prime Minister, will also chair cabinet's economic development committee, which will cover industry policy, employment issues, skills training, export assistance and enterprise financing.

MENTAL HEALTH: A string of cabinet ministers has been drawn together to tackle problems affecting people with mental illness. The new cabinet committee, announced by Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday, is to implement the mental-health strategy developed by the Mental Health Commission.

EDITORIAL – AUCKLAND ARTS: An arts festival for Auckland? Why not? City Councillor Victoria Carter has picked a good moment to make the suggestion with Auckland on an America's Cup high. Anything that might rekindle a little of this buzz more often then a quadrennial yachting regatta is likely to be greeted with enthusiasm right now. An arts festival might not sound like the stuff of foot-stomping fun such as shook the bleachers at the Viaduct Basin on Sunday, but they have said that about yacht-racing, too. So why not an arts festival next year? There are some misgivings that deserve to be taken seriously. Among professionals in performing arts there is concern that a festival may siphon away some of their public grants and compete for patronage with companies that labour to fill theatres year-round. Some say it can be hard to attract audiences to the first shows after a festival and the public funds would be better used to help those who make a sustained contribution to the region's cultural life.

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