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New Zealand Herald

Bus Driver - Fiji Tourists- Fiji Coup - Fiji Boycott - Vector Payout - Student Dentists- Classic Launch- Crash Orphans - Bain Defamation- Erb Postponement

BUS DRIVER: An Auckland bus driver asked to be stood down after hitting a car but was ordered back to work just hours before fatally running over a schoolboy passenger, sources have told the Herald. The Stagecoach driver asked a supervisor if he could take the rest of the day off on May 10 after swiping a car at an intersection, but was apparently told by a more senior manager that he had to work on.

FIJI TOURISTS: New Zealand tourists in Fiji should leave as soon as they can, Prime Minister Helen Clark warned last night. "As expeditiously as people can leave by commercial flights, they should," she said, in the strongest warning since George Speight's armed raid on Fiji's Parliament on May 19.

FIJI COUP: In an unusual move, the New Zealand Government pressured the media yesterday to boycott coverage of Fiji coup leader George Speight and his followers, although there are few New Zealand journalists remaining in Suva. Foreign Minister Phil Goff told a post-cabinet press conference that he expected the media in Suva to boycott Speight interviews and press conferences.

FIJI BOYCOTT: New Zealand may end Fiji's preferential trade access, but is holding off imposing economic or other sanctions until it is clear who is in charge in Suva. The cabinet yesterday limited immediate action to joining Australia in barring George Speight and any of his armed gang from entering either country.

VECTOR PAYOUT: The 260,000 customers of Auckland electricity lines company Vector are missing out on a $350 tax-paid cheque because of an ongoing legal wrangle between three Auckland councils and the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust. The High Court case centres on the status of a $107 million dividend payment now in the hands of the trust, Vector's owner, which wants to distribute it to electricity consumers in the region.

STUDENT DENTISTS: Four out of five new dentists have student loans of more than $80,000 and debts are forcing more and more to move overseas, says a survey. The survey of 316 recent graduates, prepared for the Dental Council of New Zealand, found many were concerned about their ability to pay debts.

CLASSIC LAUNCH: A teenage boy who took an $85,000 classic launch on a fishing joyride in the Hauraki Gulf has struck again. The boy, "Robert" stole a second launch from its Tamaki River mooring last Monday and went on an adventure around Waiheke Island.

CRASH ORPHANS: HAMILTON - A 6-year-old West Auckland boy and his 3-year-old sister orphaned in a crash which killed their parents and baby brother are on the mend in Waikato Hospital. The one who was admitted in a critical condition was reported early today to be stable, and the other, whose injuries were given as serious, was comfortable.

BAIN DEFAMATION: The jury in a High Court civil trial in Auckland was sent home early on the first day yesterday to read a book on the slaying of the Bain family of Dunedin. Two detectives involved in the case are suing the author of David and Goliath, Auckland businessman and former All Black Joe Karam, for defamation.

ERB POSTPONEMENT: The Government may postpone for up to two months the implementation of its Employment Relations Bill as it tries to fix problems in the draft law. Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday that the Coalition would "not be dying in a ditch" for the planned August 1 start date. It has already extended the June 20 deadline for the select committee hearing submissions on the bill to report back its findings.

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