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New Zealand Herald

Teen Wages - Morgan Fahey - Road Toll - Torch Relay - Mormon Surprise - Burglary Cracked - Worn Army - Carter Goes - Guilty Verdict - Pot Billionaire - Pot Billionaire- Post Fraud - Pi In Bain Murder

TEEN WAGES: A plan to boost the minimum wage for teenagers has been abandoned - the latest victim of the Government's drive to appear more business friendly. Sources say an Alliance push for 16 and 17-year-olds to get an increase from the present 60 per cent of the adult minimum, or $4.55 an hour, to 80 per cent is a "dead duck."

MORGAN FAHEY: Christchurch doctor Morgan Fahey, imprisoned yesterday for sex crimes against patients, had a contract with police that required him to examine rape victims. Fahey was a police medical officer in Christchurch between the late 1960s and the early 1980s.

ROAD TOLL: Steve Fitzgerald takes over as the country's top traffic officer today aiming to cut the road toll by up to 100 next year. Superintendent Fitzgerald believes tougher policing of "accident-promoting offences" - overtaking on yellow lines, going through stop signs and tail-gating - and an expected increase in funding for road safety in this month's Budget will see the road toll drop from more than 500 to around 400 by the end of 2001.

TORCH RELAY: Team New Zealand defector Russell Coutts has pulled out of the Olympic torch relay. For the past week, relay organisers have been waiting to hear whether he would fulfil his commitment to carry the Olympic flame through the America's Cup village.

MORMON SURPRISE: A Mormon missionary knocked on Peter Munro's door, hoping for a conversion. What unfolded instead was a tale of intrigue involving black suits, bicycles and a black eye.

BURGLARY CRACKED: Auckland police believe they have cracked one of New Zealand's most sophisticated burglary operations, involving $2 million in cigarettes and cars. Five South Auckland men have been charged with planning and carrying out 130 burglaries and stealing 31 cars used in the heists.

WORN ARMY: WANGANUI - The New Zealand Army says it may have to reject requests to be involved in future peacekeeping operations because some of its equipment is too worn out and unreliable. Communications and armoured support equipment is in such bad shape it cannot be used in further high-risk operations such as East Timor, Major-General Maurice Dodson said yesterday.

CARTER GOES: Nationwide talkback host Chris Carter speaks out for the last time on Newstalk ZB today and he's not going quietly. After six years on the afternoon slot, Carter's contract has expired and will not be renewed.

GUILTY VERDICT: Gail Maney was found guilty of murder for the second time in the High Court at Auckland last night. Looking pale and glancing nervously around the court, Maney walked quietly away with head bowed after the jury, which had been deliberating since Wednesday afternoon, gave its verdict in the retrial.

POT BILLIONAIRE: The American billionaire who escaped conviction for importing drugs into New Zealand is well-known in his own country as a heavy cannabis user. In the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Herald lawyer Bruce Gray said the American business magazine Fortune described the billionaire as a "functioning pothead" in 1995 - five years before he appeared in the Otahuhu District Court to admit importing more than 100g of cannabis into New Zealand.

POST FRAUD: Winston Peters claims that a business customer of New Zealand Post tried to defraud the state company of $1 million by tampering with franking machine records - and was not prosecuted for the rip-off. The NZ First leader told Parliament yesterday that an audit carried out during the last Government's term had disclosed the private firm's attempt to defraud NZ Post.

PI IN BAIN MURDER: A private investigator was hired to probe Joe Karam's financial affairs and statements he made about two police officers involved in the Bain murder inquiry, a defamation trial at the High Court in Auckland heard yesterday. The revelation emerged when Mr Karam's lawyer, Julian Miles, QC, was cross-examining retired detective Milton Weir, who was in charge of the Bain home after five members of the Dunedin family were found shot dead in 1994.

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