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New Zealand Herald

Waterfront Skyscraper - Location Show - Inmate Sex - Cigarette Heists - Property Law- Pigs & Allblacks - 16-Y-O Stripper - Election Postcard - Hamilton Casino - Thai Prostitution- Disease Problems - ERB & Sweat Shops - “Smokers Corner” - Rail Delay

WATERFRONT SKYSCRAPER: A $171 million skyscraper that will change the face of Auckland's waterfront was approved despite serious concerns raised by a council planner and without the public getting a chance to object. There is also concern that the tower is eight storeys higher than the city's height rules allow.

LOCATION SHOW: Millionaire real estate agent Michael Boulgaris is having second thoughts about his role on television's top-rating Location Location Location because of the way he has been portrayed. Mr Boulgaris said the overall tone of the programme - the sixth-highest rating show on television - had changed this year, and he was particularly upset by a suggestion in the first episode that he had used a fake bidder to sell a property worth nearly $1 million.

INMATE SEX: Corrections Minister Matt Robson wants to grant prisoners conjugal visits and let inmate mothers care for their children under programmes he hopes will reduce reoffending. The Alliance MP believes "family-friendly" policies will give prisoners a better chance of normalising before release and improve their home environment.

CIGARETTE HEISTS: A spate of heists and armed robberies may be fuelling a black market for cigarettes which has developed following recent price increases. Australia's illegal tobacco trade is worth $A500 million ($600 million) a year and there are concerns a similar black market may develop here.

PROPERTY LAW: When an Auckland wife won a portion of her wealthy husband's future earnings she opened a can of worms that could change marital property law forever. The payout, despite being overturned by the Court of Appeal, caused a furore about inequities in relationships where one partner's career prospects and earnings are restricted by child-rearing.

PIGS & ALLBLACKS: A company now run by former All Blacks Michael Jones and Olo Brown faces a possible legal claim for more than $50,000 by the man who founded it. The Onehunga company, Pacific Choice, supplies whole pigs that have been killed hygienically in meatworks, in a bid to reduce the backyard slaughter of up to 80,000 pigs a year for the Pacific Island community

16-Y-O STRIPPER: ROTORUA - A mother who has sanctioned her 16-year-old daughter stripping in front of an audience at a Rotorua massage and striptease club is unrepentant. "I don't care what people think. I don't give a continental," she said yesterday. "What is the big deal? She is not committing any crime. She is not working as a hooker."

ELECTION POSTCARD: WELLINGTON - The Green Party has been billed by mistake for an anti-Green postcard delivered to Coromandel homes during the last election. The postcard, produced by the National Party and attacked by the Greens as "lies and defamation," claimed Greens' co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons supported school programmes on "safe" cannabis use.

HAMILTON CASINO: HAMILTON - A High Court judge has stopped the development of the Hamilton Casino with a ruling that its licence is invalid. Justice Fisher ruled in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday that the Casino Control Authority's decision in December to grant a casino premises licence to Riverside Casino Ltd should be set aside.

THAI PROSTITUTION: A couple who tried to force a Thai woman into prostitution in New Zealand could easily have got away with it, says an organisation fighting to stop the practice. The woman says she paid the New Zealand man and his Thai wife 100,000 baht ($6700) to bring her to Auckland to work in a restaurant, but they instead tried to make her work in a massage parlour.

DISEASE PROBLEMS: Infectious disease rates in New Zealand are among the highest in the developed world, says a report. The Institute of Environmental Science and Research report reveals that New Zealand's tuberculosis rate is the highest in the English-speaking world.

ERB & SWEAT SHOPS: Labour Minister Margaret Wilson says parts of the Employment Relations Bill have been introduced to combat the re-emergence of sweat shops. Finance Minister Michael Cullen said this week that changes to the bill would ensure clauses making directors liable for wages would apply only to deliberate breaches of the law on holidays or on the minimum wage.

“SMOKERS CORNER”: A pedestrian plaza planned as part of a new 34-storey skyscraper on the Auckland waterfront has been dubbed "smokers' corner" by Auckland architects. Instead of attracting pedestrians, the plan to extend the plaza from the neighbouring Quay Towers would provide a place for smokers from both buildings to gather, says Amanda Reynolds, who chairs the Institute of Architects' Auckland urban issues group.

RAIL DELAY: Tranz Rail and Auckland's transport negotiators have been warned to use "every minute" today to meet the deadline for a deal over the city's railtracks. The two sides meet this afternoon and Transport Minister Mark Gosche expects an accord aimed at opening up Auckland's rail lines for improved commuter services.

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