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TV1 6pm News Headlines (First Segment)

F16 Deal - Inland Revenue -Tongan Overstayer - TVNZ Appointment - TV Action - Missing Snowboarders - Samoan Assassination - Big Spenders

F16 DEAL: There are top level talks currently going on between the United States and New Zealand on the F16 deal. The Prime Minister has admitted Treasury officials are in the United States to find out the costs of leasing the 28 F16 fighter jets from defence advisors in Washington. Meanwhile Australia’s top defence analyst has criticised the Government’s reluctance for the deal saying New Zealand has “no idea” of what its defence obligations are.

INLAND REVENUE: A startling omission from Inland Revenue – the head of the Department Graham Holland says his Department has big problems performing many of its roles, including monitoring tax avoidance, because it does not have adequate funding. The Labour government has not promised any extra funding to the Department in this years budget. Last year the government MPs criticized the Department for stringent policies that could have contributed to some taxpayers committing suicide.

TONGAN OVERSTAYER: An Auckland seventh former is spending his third night in a Police cell while Immigration Department officials decide whether the Tongan National should be deported for overstaying with his family. However the boy’s school supports him staying in the country saying he has a good academic record and would be better off here than in Tonga.

TVNZ APPOINTMENT: Television New Zealand’s new Chair Ross Armstrong has come onboard Television New Zealand replacing Rosanne Meo who left after Prime Minister Helen Clark repeatedly criticised the network. Formally chair of New Zealand Post, Mr. Armstrong says he will work quietly to ensure that TVNZ finds the right balance between commercial aims and its obligations as a state broadcaster.

TV ACTION: TV3 has announced that it will take legal action over TVNZ’s moves TO lure former broadcaster John Hawkesby away from his contract with the private broadcaster.

MISSING SNOWBOARDERS: There is frustration from the families and friends of the three missing Kiwis who believe the Japanese police were ill-equipped and slow to rescue the three snowboarders caught in an avalanche near Nagoya.

SAMOAN ASSASSINATION: In Apia a man convicted of the assassination of a Samoan Cabinet Minister has changed his story yet again. Previously the man said he was pressured to confess to the murder and the involvement of two other Samoan cabinet ministers by two New Zealand police officers. Now he has admitted to plotting the assassination with the two ministers, one of which is his father.

BIG SPENDERS: Tens of thousands of dollars a day is being spent in Auckland on souvenirs by the owners of superyachts and international business associates. New Zealand wine shops, design wholesalers and jewelry shops are doing particularly well.

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