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NZ Dollar Falls - Mortgage Rates Rise - Arts Package - Crossing The Floor - Electronic Hearing

NZ DOLLAR FALLS: The New Zealand dollar kept sliding today below US46c reaching a new fifteen year low today. The drop is cause by investors taking their money to the United States where the financial climate is better. Finance Minister Michael Cullen is calling for cool heads over the drop. Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton and NZ First Leader Winston Peters have blamed the Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash’s hike in interest rates for the fall. Opposition Leaders have blamed the fall in the dollar in Labour’s new industrial and ACC legislation.

MORTGAGE RATES RISE: Builders are moving quickly to finish their dewellings as floating mortgage rates are set to rise by 0.5 per cent.

ARTS PACKAGE: Prime Minister Helen Clark has given over $80 million package to arts interest including Creative NZ, NZ On Air, NZ Ballet, NZ Symphony Orchestra, and Te Papa. The amount is much larger than the $25 million Labour initially promised in the election. Critics of the Prime Minister say she is being too lavish in her spending, ACT Deputy Rodney Hide says the move will not help Labour’s pledge to “bridge the gap” between poor and rich with most of the money not going to “ordinary people.”

CROSSING THE FLOOR: A Labour MP has crossed the floor to vote against the Government for the first time. West Coast MP Damien O’Connor crossed the floor after the Forest Bill 2000 brought an early end to native logging on the West Coast. But Mr O’Conner says he does support the $120 million compensation package for the coast local bodies.

ELECTRONIC HEARING: A deaf baby boy got a special birthday present today. He is the recipient of a new electronic hearing device and now can hear words and sounds. The device was implanted before his soldier father left for a tour of duty with the New Zealand army in East Timor.

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