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Radio New Zealand Midday Report

Students Drown – Detained Woman – Migrants Netted – Special Needs – Food Prices Rise – Police Report – MMP Review – New Poll – Food Poisoning – Cot Death Debate – Hijack Aftermath – Vodka Up

STUDENTS DROWN: Police says staff and students are in shock after two students drowned at Waimate High School in South Canterbury. The students were part of a group of eleven students were at the swimming hole at a lake near the school– known as the “black hole”. It is not known whether teaching staff were present.

DETAINED WOMAN: The Wanganui woman not guilty of insanity for cutting the throats of her children and leaving in the boot of her car has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health act.

MIGRANTS NETTED: Seven Migrants working illegally on an Auckland construction site were deported this week. A joint venture between Immigration, Labour and Police departments netted the illegals. The company hiring the workers will be investigated.

SPECIAL NEEDS: Y2k Relaxation in criteria for special needs grants welfare payments resulted in an extra $1million given in grants to beneficiaries this year. Wellington food banks say the department should relax the criteria permanently.

FOOD PRICES RISE: Food prices recorded their sharpest increase in January ever. The 12 percent increase is due to the increase in fresh vegetables – mainly tomatoes. The NZ trade deficit also

POLICE REPORT: A survey conducted by police saying organised crime groups are infiltrating government agencies to influence decisions and for their own illegal ends. However police say there is no evidence of widespread corruptions in the public service.

MMP REVIEW: There is controversy about how the review of MMP is carried out. The main sticking point is whether MP and Speaker Jonathan Hunt is to be allowed to chair the committee. Both National and United are concerned about the procedure.

NEW POLL: The first political poll since the election shows Labour is more popular with voters at 45 percent and National has slipped two points to 29 percent. The Greens have also increased their share while The Alliance has held its share on 7 percent, while ACT and New Zealand First have dropped to 5 pecent and 3 percent respectively. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

FOOD POISONING: New Zealand has a higher rate of Campylobacter than other developed countries, a recent study says.

COT DEATH DEBATES: Two conflicting views about whether mattress wrapping prevents cot death are causing strong words at an Auckland conference. A Professor from Britain Peter Fleming says there is no evidence to suggest babies on wrapped mattresses are safer.

HIJACK AFTERMATH: The British Home Secretary says he will take applications of political asylum for the passengers in Britain longest running airline hijack drama. However he says he will take a tough stand on the issue of whether the passengers are eligible to discourage future hijacks for this reason.

VODKA UP: Russians are stocking up on vodka after the government announced a 40 percent tax increase in spirits.

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