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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Drop In Crime – National’s Reaction - Compensation Referendum - Zimbabwe Pressure - President Mugabe - Friendly Fraud - Cuban Custody Dispute - Pot Statistics - Maori Smoking - WINZ Bill - Trust Rehabilitation - Hacker Charged

DROP IN CRIME: The police say figures released today that show a drop in crime of 5 per cent last year may mean that violence is becoming less of part in New Zealand’s life. The rise follows a 2 per cent fall the year before. Police say that community initiatives have helped the.

NATIONAL’S REACTION: National’s Police Spokesperson Tony Ryall say the recent drop in crime shows National’s policies on crime prevention worked. He has criticised Police Minister George Hawkins for not admitting the statistics are significant and is putting pressure on the Government to increase police numbers.

COMPENSATION REFERENDUM: The Mayor in Greymouth says time constraints have prevented the district from holding a referendum on a $100 million package deal offered by the Government compensating the West Coast for the ending of native logging. Mayors on the Coast and Government Ministers meet today to discuss the plan.

ZIMBABWE PRESSURE: The Prime Minister is urging the Commonwealth secretary Don McKinnon to put pressure on Zimbabwe Prime Minister to resolve the dispute between farm owners and occupying “thugs” after a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

PRESIDENT MUGABE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has stepped back from criticisng farmers today after calling them enemies of the state yesterday. Mr Mugabe is organising a meeting of farmers and war veterens to resolve the dispute, but refuses to listen to a court order which demands the Government give adequate police protection for white farmers and end the occupation of their land.

FRIENDLY FRAUD: The Police say an Auckland friendly society launched more than 90 years ago is being investigated for mismanagement of finances and fraud. Two hundred Union members belong to the society which manages members money. Recently bills have not been paid.

CUBAN CUSTODY DISPUTE: A court in the US has ruled that a six year old boy at the centre of a Cuban custody dispute must remain in the country until the legal battle to decide where he should stay is concluded.

POT STATISTICS: A legal expert say there is no provision under the law for police to use old blood samples taking in drink-driving tests to find out the level of cannabis use in New Zealand drivers. Police Minister George Hawkins is in favour of the move which would not identify drivers and would be used only for statistics gathering. However a civil rights lawyer says the move may breach privacy laws.

MAORI SMOKING: The Maori Council may sue the Government by alleging that Maori were not protected from the dangers of smoking early on in the establishment of NZ. Early New Zealand Government’s encouraged Maori involvement in the tobacco trade. The Council has lodged an urgent hearing with the Waitangi Tribunal. If the tribunal agrees with the claim the Council may sue the Government for compensation.

WINZ BILL: The Department of Work And Income New Zealand spent more than $100,000 on legal and public relations advice over a scandal involving the chartering of a jets to a WINZ conference last year.

TRUST REHABILITATION: Corrections Minsiter Matt Robson says he will be keeping a close eye on the re-opening of a rehabilitation programme for prisoners at the Waipareira Trust which re-started today. The programme shut down last year after concerns with the management of the scheme.

HACKER CHARGED: Canadian police have charged a 15-year-old boy after internet sites world wide were damaged by cyber-vandalism last year. Because of his age, the boy’s identity has not been revealed.

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