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The New Zealand Herald

Aussies Take Pilots - Copter Crash - Travel Competition - Trust Status - Wapareira Trust - Wapareira Trust - Drug Billionaire Lucky - Rugby Poison - Broadcasting Adult Shows - Cervical Inquiry - Britomart Ditched? - City Commuters - Asian Migrants Leave - Waiter Beaten

AUSSIES TAKE PILOTS: The Royal Australian Air Force wants New Zealand fighter pilots for its ranks. The RAAF has a pilot shortage and spokesman Richard Hogan said applications from New Zealanders were sure to be welcomed.

COPTER CRASH: A former women's ski champion who had won a bout with cancer was piloting the helicopter that crashed in remote Fiordland yesterday, killing her and four American tourists. Janey Blair, aged 28, renowned for her "guts and determination," was flying the tourists to a rendezvous with a boat on Lake Manapouri about 10 am when disaster struck.

TRAVEL COMPETITION: The travel industry is bracing for another round of fierce price-cutting in the face of growing competition from Internet-based travel services. The official launch yesterday of a new Internet-based travel company has already sparked a price war, with transtasman fares briefly slashed to less than $200 return.

TRUST STATUS: Charitable trusts of the type that owns the America's Cup defender, Team New Zealand, may soon face a Government crackdown on their tax-free status. As argument continued over the terms of the handover of the yachting syndicate's assets yesterday, other trusts called for more transparency and accountability from private charities.

WAPAREIRA TRUST: The political fight over the Waipareira Trust took an extraordinary twist yesterday when John Tamihere alleged "thieves and drug addicts" were behind a campaign against him. The Labour MP for Hauraki launched an all-out attack during a routine debate on the Public Audit Bill, naming three trust identities as "known thieves and drug addicts" who were the source of documents leaked to the Act party.

DRUG BILLIONAIRE LUCKY: The American billionaire let off a drugs charge in an Auckland court this year was one of a lucky few to have been discharged without conviction or had their name suppressed, a Justice Ministry survey has found. The billionaire admitted bringing into the country 56 grams of cannabis resin (hashish) and 47 grams of cannabis leaf.

RUGBY POISON: Five years after accusing a South African kitchenhand of poisoning the All Blacks on the eve of the World Cup final, Laurie Mains has uncovered another catering injustice. The former All Black coach, now coach of the Cats, who went down 23-29 to the Hurricanes in a Super 12 match in Palmerston North on Saturday night, had no need of private detectives this time.

BROADCASTING ADULT SHOWS: Broadcasters are reluctant to screen adults-only movies and shows later at night than they now do, despite a survey finding that many children are watching such material. The nationwide Colmar Brunton survey released yesterday of 750 children aged between 6 and 13 found that 62 per cent watched television at 8.30 pm or later on Saturdays and 29 per cent watched at 9.30 pm on Fridays.

CERVICAL INQUIRY: A High Court judge has granted a retrial for a woman who lost a lawsuit against a former pathologist at the centre of the Gisborne cervical cancer scandal. The woman, whose name is suppressed, developed invasive cancer and had to have a radical hysterectomy and radiation treatment after Dr Michael Bottrill under-reported cervical smear slides. These included two in which he reported high-grade abnormalities as being normal.

BRITOMART DITCHED?: The Auckland City Council is thinking of ditching a grand central Britomart station for a simple transport interchange. This would end the ambitious $218 million plan to develop the dilapidated Britomart area into a central transport terminal with lots of open spaces and restored heritage buildings.

CITY COMMUTERS: Rochelle Wordsworth moved back to her parents' Howick home this month to save money, but the decision has cost her time. From a 10-minute jaunt into the city from Kingsland, the 29-year-old librarian has now joined the legion of eastern commuters, taking an average 50 minutes to travel the 25km to work.

CHILD KILLINGS: A 6-year-old girl who died in suspicious circumstances suffered severe head injuries during the six months she lived with her mother and another woman, a depositions hearing in the Hamilton District Court was told yesterday. Belinda Lee Edmonds and Dorothy Tipene both denied charges of the manslaughter of Edmonds' daughter Mereana Edmonds on May 10 last year.

ASIAN MIGRANTS LEAVE: New Zealand's attempt to lure wealthy Asian business migrants has been a sad failure, with little prospect of improving, says Auckland academic Manying Ip. The Auckland University senior lecturer in Chinese says in a paper to be presented today that false expectations on both sides characterised the failed experiment of the past 13 years.

WAITER BEATEN: Auckland restaurant workers are rallying to the aid of waiter Stephen Byrne - beaten within an inch of his life last Friday - as police pursue what they say may be a crucial lead. A woman yesterday reported seeing Mr Byrne with two men shortly before he was bashed about the head and left for dead in Fort Lane.

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