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The New Zealand Herald

Racist Bash - Trouble Connecting - Gay Separation - Rugby Rich - Blake’s Home - GP Visits - Blakie Inquiry - Public Transport - Ferris Wheel - One Tree Hill - Readers’ Choice - NZ Charities - Editorial: On Rodney

RACIST BASH: A Chinese tourist bashed in the face while holding her 1-year-old baby as she waited for lunch in Auckland yesterday was told by her attacker: "Go back to your own country." Li Xin Ming and her husband, Tan De Sheng, had brought their child, Tan Han Wen, to New Zealand for a two-week holiday. They arrived just two days before the attack. A friend, Shirley Ren, said the family were determined to enjoy the rest of their stay, even though Li Xin Ming was suffering from a badly bruised face after the unprovoked incident.

TROUBLE CONNECTING: Due to technical problems this morning, many users of the Herald Online have experienced difficulty connecting to the web site. Our technicians are working on the problem. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

GAY SEPARATION: Gay and de facto couples who separate will have the same property rights as married couples if Parliament accepts a law change due to go before the cabinet today. The Matrimonial Property Act is expected to be amended to include same-sex and de facto relationships, scrapping the previous Government's plan to deal with each group under separate pieces of legislation.

RUGBY RICH: A new rugby rich list shows that up to 23 New Zealanders involved with the game are millionaires - but Jonah Lomu is the only current player in the top 10 for wealth. The list, published today in NZ Rugby World, ranks Lomu the third- richest rugby personality with an estimated $3 million left after a costly divorce from wife Tanya.

BLAKE’S HOME: Sir Peter Blake's exclusive North Shore waterfront home, now on sale for upwards of $1.2 million, is not owned by him. Auckland lawyer Richard Green, the chairman of the charitable trust that owns Team New Zealand and AC2000 Ltd, is listed as the owner of the property in Norwood Rd, Bayswater.

GP VISITS: The cost of going to a GP could fall long-term - possibly to as low as $2 - under Government plans. The Government last week proposed major changes to primary health care.

BLAKIE INQUIRY: The man who picked up Timaru woman Lisa Blakie says a serious assault on him on the day she was murdered is not connected with her death. Timothy David Taylor, aged 30, unemployed, admits picking up Lisa Blakie on February 2 when she was hitchhiking on the outskirts of Christchurch.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Auckland's car-loving motorists want a better public transport system - but they may not use it. They are happy for public transport to get more money, but many would still stay in their cars, even if two-hour journeys to work became the norm and they were paying $2 a litre for petrol.

FERRIS WHEEL: An Auckland primary school funfair ended in terror for a father and his young son when they were flung from an out-of-control Ferris wheel. Occupational Safety and Health shut down the ride at St Mary's School in Northcote and launched an investigation after the accident at 10.30 am on Saturday.

ONE TREE HILL: A pohutukawa is the popular choice to crown One Tree Hill when the historic pine comes down. The coastal native with bright red blossom was favoured by more than half the nearly 200 readers who replied to a Herald survey on what sort of tree should replace the damaged Monterey pine.

READERS’ CHOICE: Herald readers give their views on what sort of tree should replace the ailing pine on One Tree Hill. As a proud Aucklander I think that we should all have a say about how our city is going to develop. I think that the best tree for One Tree Hill would be a pohutukawa. I love pohutukawa and their gorgeous flower. One Tree Hill would look magnificent when the tree was in full bloom.

NZ CHARITIES: If you thought choosing between donating your hard-earned dollar to the Red Cross, IHC or crippled children was tough enough, be grateful you don't get appeals from all 17,000 entities that call themselves charities. New Zealand has one registered charitable trust for every 314 people - about 10,800 at last count and growing at a rate of 70 a month. On top of that are incorporated societies and charitable companies.

EDITORIAL: ON RODNEY: So much for local government being a bastion of anonymity. The names, predilections and personality defects of the Rodney District Council's class of 1998 have spread far beyond the boundaries of New Zealand's fastest-growing area. From the councillors' first meeting, which prompted three of their number to consider resigning, to the bumbling and misguided efforts of a depleted council, farce has mingled with tragedy. A succession of policy and personality clashes has rendered democracy inoperable. And despite the intervention of a review authority and the resignation of the mayor and five councillors, the road ahead promises little better unless the law is changed and the people of Rodney are given the chance to elect a new council.

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