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TV1 News

New Timberlands Revelations - PM and two Ministers to be charged by Coasters - TransTasman Health Scare - Two Police Inquiries - Airline Industry Shakeup

Timberlands Revelations - Timberlands has re-employed former executive Kit Richards on a consultancy basis at least one to two days per week. He had resigned over an email scandal to pro-loggers on how to beat the Government. Minister for Timberlands, Pete Hodgson, said it is untenable for him to be re-employed. Two hours after the revelations at a select-committee hearing, the Chairman of Timberlands was summoned to the Minister's office for a please explain. Timberlands Chairman said Mr Richards was a versatile and committed individual who has played an inaugural part in Timberlands over the last decade. Timberlands CEO, David Hilliard, was asked in the select committee whether there was anyone else in the country that can do the project but he said not at that cost. Consultants to SOE's like Timberlands are ususally paid around $1200 a day. The Government wants Mr Richards removed.

Ministers Charged by Coasters - The Prime Minister, Minister of Forestry and the Minister of Finance are accused by a West Coast lobby-group of perverting the course of justice after telling Timberlands to change its statement of corporate intent which stopped a resource consent hearing last year. The Prime Minister is not commenting and the Minister of Forestry said the lobby-group is guilty themselves of wishful thinking or not thinking at all. Victoria University lawyer, John Miller, said he didn't believe there was any chance of success for the lobby-group.

Trans-Tasman Health Scare - A doctor formerly employed at the Whangarei Hospital is in the forefront of a health alert in Melbourne. The alert was sparked over the use of used needles on 30 patients who are now being screened for HIV and Hepatitus after all were injected by the doctor. He has been withdrawn from duty.

Two Police Inquiries - The police complaints authority are investigating two complaints. The first one relates to a US resident leaving the country having been charged on three counts of dangerous driving causing injury. Police mistakenly handed back a passport belonging to the accused and he subsequently fled the country. A warrant has been issued for his arrest and he may be extradited. The second complaint involves the inquiries into the disappearance of Wellington student Gavin Bash five months ago. Police conceded yesterday that he was probably murdered. The initial police investigation into his disappearance only had one police officer but now there are 25 working on the case. Police have given "a committment to the family to turn heaven and earth to find their lad."

Airline Industry Shakeup - Singapore Airlines has made a bid for one quarter of the investment in Ansett NZ from Brierly Investments. Brierly do not hold enough of the B shares themselves and are bidding against Singapore Airlines for the balance. Brierly are prepared to pay $3 and Singapore Airlines $2.80. Ansett Airlines seems destined to disappear from NZ. A buyout by a group of New Zealand businessmen is also on the cards. The asking price for Ansett NZ is around $42 million - cheese and biscuits really, said the TV One reporter.

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