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New Zealand Herald

Tonga All Blacks Test - Glenbrook Steel Mill - Cullen Budget - Charity Shave - Pupil Numbers - Meningococcal Disease - Military Presence In Solomons - Union Action Fiji - Harvey Bows Out - Teachers Protected - Cultural Detention - Ird Corruption - Appeal Lost

TONGA ALL BLACKS TEST: Malakai Alatini has one wish for tomorrow's test between the All Blacks and Tonga when his boys Pita and Sam make international rugby history. "I just hope the rugby is better than the game between the same two teams at the World Cup," he said.

GLENBROOK STEEL MILL: More than 1000 workers at the Glenbrook steel mill have walked out after rejecting a 5 per cent pay rise. The strike has raised fears among employers that it is the beginning of a winter of discontent in the workplace.

CULLEN BUDGET: Michael Cullen has distributed more than $500 million in new spending for the coming year, but the man holding the country's purse-strings has nearly $700 million still to play with in his first Budget today. The Coalition set aside $1.2 billion for new policies for the 2000-2001 year in its March budget policy statement.

CHARITY SHAVE: The moustache on the new "face" of Team New Zealand, Tom Schnackenberg, will be whisked off this weekend for charity. It will be the first time in three decades that Schnackenberg will have been bare-faced, but he reckons it fits with his new role as leader of the America's Cup defence.

PUPIL NUMBERS: New Zealand teachers carry a heavier classroom load than almost any other country in the developed world. Our primary school teachers look after 24.7 students each on average, according to figures from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), which has 29 member countries.

MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE: A widespread door-to-door campaign has begun in South Auckland as health professionals try to lower the rate of meningococcal disease among Maori and Pacific Islanders. Nearly one in 100 Islander infants and one in 250 Maori contract meningococcal disease compared with one in 2000 Pakeha babies in the region.

MILITARY PRESENCE IN SOLOMONS: New Zealand will not step up its military presence in the Solomon Islands, amid continued anxiety after the resignation of Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu. Both Australia and New Zealand have refused to send troops to the islands, saying it would only deepen the crisis.
Air Force planes will maintain an "air bridge" out of the islands

UNION ACTION FIJI: CANBERRA - Australia's powerful waterside union has threatened action against ships carrying banned Fijian cargo through New Zealand in a move that could impose costly penalties on transtasman trade.The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said yesterday that secret trans-shipping of Fijian goods through New Zealand had probably been going on for some time and would now be stopped.

HARVEY BOWS OUT: Swashbuckling Bob Harvey will not seek the Labour Party presidency again but denies there was a sword in sight when he made his decision. Ending speculation on his future at the helm of the party, Mr Harvey said yesterday he had told Prime Minister Helen Clark last week that he did not wish to run for the job again.

TEACHERS PROTECTED: WELLINGTON - The Government is taking a hard line against schools that may have to cut staff after the abolition of bulk-funding, saying it is prepared only to guarantee the jobs of teachers hired before June 1998. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said yesterday that even those jobs would be secure only if the school could show a genuine effort to trim staff numbers.

CULTURAL DETENTION: A cultural marae-based alternative to periodic detention is on trial to help Maori offenders change their behaviour. The Department of Corrections has launched the violence prevention programme He Tete Kura Mana Tangata as an alternative to periodic detention for male Maori offenders serving sentences of at least three months.

IRD CORRUPTION: A corrupt clerk at the Inland Revenue Department sold debt collectors the private details of up to 850 taxpayers before she and a colleague were discovered. The sacked clerk, 31-year-old Sopo Matagi, plied her illegal trade for two years and was caught only after she stole thousands of dollars' worth of cheques from citizens trying to pay off their tax arrears.

APPEAL LOST: CHRISTCHURCH - A group of Christchurch friends who successfully sued police over a bungled raid have lost their appeal for an increase in damages. Instead, the Attorney-General successfully cross-appealed and had three awards of $2000 for pocket searches rejected.

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