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New Zealand Herald

Sex, Drugs, Todd - Overstay Amnesty - Adidas All Black Sponsor - St. Stephen’s Closure - People’s Bank Proposal - Car Sticker Campaign - Possum Threat - Treaty Meddling - Defence Statement - House Tossed - Fjij Ban - Todd In Allegations - Dvd Hiring

SEX, DRUGS, TODD: Olympic equestrian champion Mark Todd is taking legal advice over drugs and sex allegations in a British newspaper. The Sunday Mirror claims that the double gold medallist took cocaine and boasted about beating Olympics drug tests.

OVERSTAY AMNESTY: The Government is considering a selective amnesty for overstayers, which would allow thousands of Pacific Islanders to stay in New Zealand if they have strong family ties. Alliance minister and cabinet minister Matt Robson told a Pacific Island delegation at the weekend that the cabinet would be asked to consider the amnesty, along with a regular immigration quota of Tongans and Fijians.

ADIDAS ALL BLACK SPONSOR: The All Blacks have run into problems with their $180 million sponsor, adidas. The team will be warned today that they cannot afford further sponsorship breaches with adidas after criticism of the new test ball and several clothing slip-ups.

ST. STEPHEN’S CLOSURE: A decision to close the historic but troubled St Stephen's School at Bombay has devastated students, says the assistant principal. Parents and a group of old boys are also disappointed and hope to find a different solution to the school's financial and behavioural problems.

PEOPLE’S BANK PROPOSAL: Jim Anderton's people's bank is expected to get a tick from the cabinet today. The Alliance leader will outline the options and should get approval to develop one of them, Prime Minister Helen Clark said last night.

CAR STICKER CAMPAIGN: Auckland police will consider introducing the controversial under-25 car sticker scheme on the suggestion of city councillor Vern Walsh. The Auckland district police commander, Superintendent Howard Broad, said yesterday that introduction of the scheme would require a lot of thought and he would have to consult widely before any decisions were made.

POSSUM THREAT: New Zealand's pest population of 70 million Australian possums may be doing more than killing off native forests and spreading bovine tuberculosis, health officials say. The possums are thought to have become a reservoir of infection for a form of typhus fever known as murine typhus.

TREATY MEDDLING: The Government is being accused of meddling in the make-up of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission against the wishes of iwi. Uncertainty over the appointment of new commissioners, litigation and delays in the carve-up of more than $800 million in fisheries assets dominated debate at the commission's annual meeting in Wellington on Saturday.

DEFENCE STATEMENT: The defence policy statement due today will not address specific issues such as the sale of the Charles Upham troopship or the closure of Hobsonville airbase. But it is expected to provide a framework on which such decisions can later be made.

FJIJ BAN: New Zealand unions about to apply a trade ban against Fiji have been urged to "think again" by Foreign Minister Phil Goff. The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has called on all New Zealand workers to refuse to handle goods either coming from or going to Fiji, starting tomorrow.

HOUSE TOSSED: It was like a scene from The Wizard of Oz. A stunned Napier family yesterday had their next-door neighbour's house tossed into their front bedroom by a gust of wind. Sue Matthews and her four children, aged between 1 and 17, were entertaining visitors in the lounge when they heard a crash around 4 pm.

TODD IN ALLEGATIONS: When asked by the Listener in 1992 about Jilly Cooper's raunchy novel Riders, which revels in tales of sex and lust on the English horse circuit, Mark Todd replied: "It was a bit conservative. A bit understated, but otherwise quite good." If drugs and sex allegations about the double Olympic gold medallist in a British Sunday newspaper are true, then the racy novel may indeed be a bit tame.

DVD HIRING: New Zealanders with DVD players are watching the latest American movies at home long before they screen in cinemas because of the parallel importing laws. This infuriates film distributors but DVD owners are delighted they can hire movies almost as soon as they are released in the United States - up to a year before they screen in cinemas here.

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