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TV1 News 6pm Headlines (First Segment)

Economy Surges - Economy Reaction - No Downgrade - Ansett Sale - Air Nz Sale - Putin Election - Oscar Ceremony - Piano Accusations

ECONOMY SURGES: A surprise surge in the economy when NZ incurred its strongest growth in nearly four years. The economy has expanded 2.2 per cent from the end of the past year. The biggest reason seems to be farmers who are recovering after years of drought. Shoppers are confident too and businesses are likely to expand in the next year.

ECONOMY REACTION: Finance Minister Michael Cullen says he is worried the economy is growing in a haphazard way but is welcoming the initial growth. Opposition leader Jenny Shipley says she doubts growth will continue under the government’s present policies.

NO DOWNGRADE: Standard And Poors credit rating agency has decided not to downgrade New Zealand however it is still saying NZ’s overall prospects look bad.

ANSETT SALE: Ansett New Zealand is set for a new owner and a new image when New Group Media sold the airline to a New Zealand investors. Industry insiders say the deal cost $40 million. Ansett has lost more than $200 million in the last two years.

AIR NZ SALE: Reports also say share owners Brierley’s could sell parts of Air New Zealand to foreign investors. Singapore Airlines is indicated to be interested in a share.

PUTIN ELECTION: Former KGB spy master Vladimir Putin seems he will have an outright victory in the Russian Presidential elections. The official vote count won’t be announced tomorrow but last night results say Putin had over 50 per cent support after over 60 per cent of the vote count.

OSCAR CEREMONY: The Oscars were handed out in a ceremony in Los Angeles today. Russell Crowe who took his niece to the ceremonies as his “leading lady” failed to win the best actor nominations for his performance in The Insider the award went to Kevin Spacey of American Beauty the picture which won the best picture nomination. A selection of bizarre dresses for the Academy awards included some worn by men.

PIANO ACCUSATIONS: Filmmaker Jane Campion is also being called on to relinquish her Oscar for the Piano after an Australian media report says her screenplay is plagarised from an earlier novel.

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