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The Herald Newspaper

Bert Potter - Murder Victim - Police Minister - Mosquito Bite - Public Servants - Plane Crash - Teacher Sex - Bargy Bargey - F16 Deal - Kiwi Dole - Hawkesby Row - Editorial: Teacher Sex

BERT POTTER: Bert Potter and his supporters could leave Centrepoint for ever under a deal struck by rival factions. But a High Court judge must decide whether to approve the settlement with the commune founder and convicted child-sex offender, which involves a large sum.

MURDER VICTIM: Two police officers who followed murder victim Jian Huang home to her death were held up in traffic and arrived at her house about a minute after she had been fatally stabbed. The crucial issue now being pursued as part of a major investigation is whether the officers knew that Mrs Huang's husband - who has been charged with murder - was still there.

POLICE MINISTER: New Police Minister George Hawkins has condemned the Herald's revelation of police contact with Mrs Huang before her death - but he may have spoken too soon. Issuing a press release calling yesterday's front- page headline - "Woman sent home to killer" - scurrilous and irresponsible, he claimed it was a "departure from the facts, as I am aware of them," and lectured journalists on the need for accuracy. He threatened to complain to the Press Council.

MOSQUITO BITE: A mosquito did what Prada cannot - it felled the biggest guy in Team New Zealand. Burly black-boat grinder Craig Monk spent three days in Auckland Hospital in the week before the America's Cup after a mosquito bit him on the hand.

PUBLIC SERVANTS: Top public servants face losing performance bonuses if spending by their departments fails to close the Maori social and economic gap. Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday accused some chief executives of having been obstructive in efforts to monitor policy that affects Maori.

PLANE CRASH: A badly injured pilot helped his daughter to safety after their small plane crashed yesterday afternoon. Philip Rowan, of Whitford, and his daughter crashed after the two-seater plane clipped a tree and spun around, falling awkwardly to the ground.

TEACHER SEX: The Ministry of Education was told two years ago that an Auckland teacher had had sex with one of her students, says the Minister of Education. Trevor Mallard says he is investigating why information about the incident, sent in a letter to the ministry and the Education Review Office from a group of parents in 1998, was not acted on.

BARGY BARGEY: An argy-bargy with the police and officials of the American Express NZ Cup Village turned a publicity stunt by inventor Denis Stewart into a painful experience. In fact, the bad day out has convinced the creator of the foldable barge that he should pack up and leave New Zealand.

F16 DEAL: The Prime Minister has raised the possibility of ditching New Zealand's jet fighters altogether, saying the country has the option of not leasing F-16s fighters and could "quit" the ageing Skyhawks as well. Taking that option would allow the Government to recoup some cash - perhaps around $100 million - by selling the Air Force's Skyhawks to an overseas buyer while they still have some value.

KIWI DOLE: Prime Minister Helen Clark warns if the social welfare bill for Kiwis living in Australia grows too big, the social security deal between the two countries may be dumped. Under an interim plan struck last August, New Zealand pays $154 million a year to Australia - roughly half the cost of benefits for aged, disabled, widowed and sole parent Kiwis living there.

BOYS DEAD: In Wanganui the mother of one of the boys believed to have been knocked off their bikes into the Whanganui River says support from the city has been overwhelming. The bodies of 14-year-old Colin Morgan and his friend, Zane Cutter, 13, were found by relatives and friends scouring the riverbanks yesterday.

HAWKESBY ROW: The fallout from Television New Zealand's sacking of John Hawkesby continued yesterday with TV3 filing a High Court claim seeking up to $4 million from the state broadcaster. TV3 alleges TVNZ induced Hawkesby to breach his contract and take a job reading the 6 pm news with Judy Bailey.

EDITORIAL: TEACHER SEX: Principles can be cruel. The principle that teachers should never succumb to sexual attraction to a student is a very important one. Yet the consequences seem cruel in a case such as that which came to public attention on Sunday. Here was a 26-year-old woman at a boys' school. After attending a volleyball game she took two students to her home for a meal. She had sex with one of them, a fifth-former aged "about 16." Word was soon around the school. The teacher conferred with the school's chaplain and resigned. The school principal and board discussed the incident with the boy's guardians - he was evidently an exchange student - and, believing him to be at the age of consent, did not take steps that would have ended the woman's career.

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