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New Zealand Herald Newspaper

Zimbabwe Violence - Anderton’s Jaw - Trust Rehabilitation - Coke Smugglers - Church Trashed - Arms Training - Friendly Society - Cervical Cancer Inquiry - Hobbs Clown - New Poppy - Blake’s House

ZIMBABWE VIOLENCE: Jackie Neumann lies awake at night praying for the safety of her family hiding in their homes in Zimbabwe. She fears they will become targets in a mounting campaign of terror unleashed against white farmers by President Robert Mugabe.

ANDERTON’S JAW: Labour has headed off any more "jawboning" of the Reserve Bank by Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton, issuing a swift "no comment" on news yesterday that bank Governor Dr Don Brash had pushed up interest rates. Within minutes of the bank's announcing a 25-point rise to 6 per cent in the official cash rate, Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard issued a one-paragraph statement saying the Government had no comment to make on the bank's move to curb rising inflation.

TRUST REHABILITATION: A Waipareira Trust offender rehabilitation programme was stopped after a number of incidents including the discovery of drugs and a samurai sword. Answers to parliamentary questions raised by the Act party show the Department of Corrections became concerned about the residential programme and a number of incidents connected with it.

COKE SMUGGLERS: A motley bunch of Aucklanders' attempt to import more than $1 million worth of cocaine from Canada became a farce, say prosecutors. The alleged kingpin was a 19-year-old Russian student who owned two Mercedes cars and whose bank balance shot from $24 to almost $500,000 in one day.

CHURCH TRASHED: TOKOROA - School holiday boredom has led three Tokoroa children, aged 7, 8 and 9, to trash the inside of a local church by spray-painting the walls, smashing crockery and setting off fire extinguishers. Members of the Balmoral Drive Open Brethren Gospel Chapel caught the trio inside the church on Tuesday afternoon after they had caused an estimated $50,000 worth of damage

ARMS TRAINING: TAURANGA - The Police Complaints Authority wants more training for arms officers in the wake of the accidental shooting of a pregnant teenager in a Tauranga street a year ago. An imported semi-automatic shotgun had discharged as it was being placed in a vehicle along with two other firearms, shortly after being handed to its owner by the Tauranga police arms officer.

FRIENDLY SOCIETY: Up to half a million dollars of members' money may be missing from a 90-year-old friendly society now under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. The Herald understands that on top of about $200,000 already discovered to be missing from the Auckland Regional Staff Friendly Society's bank accounts, money that was earmarked to pay everything from members' mortgages to their health insurance has also gone.

CERVICAL CANCER INQUIRY: GISBORNE - A political decision to shun expert advice recommending the creation of a national cervical screening register and instead set up 14 sites has come under scrutiny at a Gisborne inquiry. The cervical screening inquiry heard yesterday that Prime Minister Helen Clark, when she was Health Minister in 1989, decided to set up the programme in 14 locations aligned with area health boards.

HOBBS CLOWN: Former headmistress Marian Hobbs confirmed her own status yesterday as the "class clown" of cabinet. But she says she is deadly serious about her job and promises to improve. A minder may be employed to make sure she does. "I'm actually doing the job well. I am not presenting as doing the job well, and that is the difference," she told National Radio yesterday with the sort of candour that lands her in trouble.

NEW POPPY: A poppy from foreign shores, which is cheaper to produce and looks more like the real thing, will be on show in Auckland for Poppy Day today. Auckland RSA president Chris Yates said the new-look poppy was not an official poppy but one the Auckland RSA was testing.

BLAKE’S HOUSE: The sale of Sir Peter Blake's exclusive North Shore City waterfront home was last night under negotiation after being passed in at auction. The 258 sq m property in Bayswater drew a highest offer of $1,295,000 from a secret telephone bidder at the Bayleys Real Estate auction rooms.

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