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TV1 6pm News Bulletin

First Segment

John Hawkesby Row X2 – Drug Billionaire – Christchurch Murder – Law Student Investigation – Botrell Worries – Cot Death – Helmet Theft

JOHN HAWKESBY ROW: The government ups the stakes over the John Hawkesby controversy with the Prime Minister revealing on the way to a caucus meeting a press conference that jobs in the TVNZ board may be on the line. Meanwhile in Parliament, Minister of Broadcasting Marian Hobbs was momentarily confused about the role of the chief executive while under questioning by the opposition. Under the State Owned Enterprises Act the government can only put pressure on the board of executives but cannot remove the chief executive themselves. Ms Hobbs will take a new time-table and strategy to the TVNZ board in a meeting next week.

JOHN HAWKESBY ROW: (History) In Early January 1998 John Hawkesby, then reading the news for TV3, was told by network bosses that he no longer had a job at the station. Hawkesby then began negotiations with Television New Zealand. On November 2 Mr Hawkesby signed six-year contract newsreading with TVNZ at a salary of $750,000 per-year. On January 18, 1999, Mr Hawkesby began his job. Six weeks later TVNZ ended the contract. Mr Hawkesby almost immediately began legal action against TVNZ culminating in the $5.25 milllion arbitration settlement agreed to in November. Meanwhile TVNZ Chief Executive Rick Ellis has rejected Hawkesby's claims he had tried to intimidate Mr Hawkesby over the court action.

DRUG BILLIONAIRE: The judge who gave name suppression to an American Billionaire caught importing drugs into New Zealand says he does not have the authority to consider an appeal. The New Zealand Herald newspaper had appealed the suppression order in early January and says it is now considering taking the case to the high court.

CHRISTCHURCH MURDER: Police investigating the killing of a young Timaru woman say she could have been abducted while hitchhiking to the West Coast. Police believe the woman had been dead for less than 12 hours when her body was found by tourists near State Highway 73 on Sunday. Police are also attempting to locate her missing dog, Kaos, which accompanied her.

LAW STUDENT INVESTIGATION: Police are stepping up into their inquiry on missing 24-year-old law student Gavin Dash who went missing on the 27th of September last year. Eighteen police are now on the case and having been scouring the country looking for the missing man’s personal items. They are appealing to the public for information.

BOTRELL WORRIES: There are fresh fears that former Gisbourne Pathologist Michael Botrell may have misread more than just cervical smears. Over 380 of his breast cancer smears have been reread by another pathologist, who may have found a significant discrepancy. While studies of the slides continue, Auckland Health Authority says its evidence shows there is no need to extend investigations into any other areas of Botrell’s work.

COT DEATH: There is a bitter clash of philosophies at an international conference on cot death in Auckland. Dr Jim Sprott, a New Zealand cot-death researcher is disputing claims by a visiting British doctor that mattress wrapping makes no difference to the rates of cot-death.

HELMET THEFT: There has been a daring robbery at Canterbury museum when thieves stole a valuable 700–year-old Mongolian steel helmet worn in the time of Ghengis Khan, and worth over $500,000.

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