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Defense Budget – Maori MPs – Leaked Police Files - David Tua

- DEFENSE BUDGET: The Army will get the lion’s share of the defense budget, it was announced today – but the Air Force and Navy lose out. The Government had made it clear the Army was the priority. The Army receives 105 armored vehicles valued at $611m and new radio equipment worth $124m. Critics have said the equipment is overpriced and part of a shonky deal. The Army said the equipment – which will be used for peacekeeping missions like East Timor - is much needed and a long time coming.

The Air Force Orion upgrade will not go ahead, prompting ACT to say that New Zealand’s allies – Australia the United States and Britain - will be upset that New Zealand is not making a fair contribution. The decision comes after the purchase of F16 fighter jets, arranged by the previous government, was scrapped.

Hobsonville Airforce Base will be shut down and sold. The sale is creating uncertainty for local businesses, many relying on navy families for business, but redevelopment ideas for the area are already brewing.

The Government decided to delay decision on replacing or upgrading a Navy transport ship.

- MAORI MPS: The Prime minister has steps into the controversy dogging her Maori MPs, questioning the allocation of DOC money for Maori interests by Sandra Lee. That contoversy comes after accusations her Maori Affairs MPs bullied the head of Women’s Refuge and the Commissioner for Children over their representation of Maori family violence.

Helen Clark accused opposition MPs of redneck reactions. Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said Clark bullies her ministers and shouldn’t be surprised when her ministers bully others.

Steve Mahary will meet the Commissioner For Children to discuss the incident with the Maori Affairs Ministers.

- LEAKED POLICE FILES: Joe Karam, the author of book on the David Bain murder case may be in for a legal battle with police after it was found he had received confidential police files on the case. The files are believed to be the same ones found by a man who bought an auctioned ex-police computer. Police have obtained an interim court order against the publication of materials in the files.

- DAVID TUA: World Heavyweight contender David Tua is Home in Auckland for brief stopover before having a crack at the title. He fight’s champion Lennox Lewis, and will receive an $8m purse for the fight. Coments from Tua’s management suggest the game plan is to knock Lewis out.

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