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National Radio Midday Report

Algal Bloom – Crime Stats – Sick Building – MMP Review – Petrol Protests – Mystery Dead Man –Voluntary Fees - Joint Trials – Murder Trial – NZSO – Japanese Whalers

- ALGAL BLOOM: The toxic algal bloom which has spread down the West Coast of the North Island has reached the entrance to the Marlborough sounds. Toxic algae has been found around Brother’s Island at entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. It could seriously affect the shellfish industry.

- CRIME STATS: The Commissioner of Police says today’s crime statistics are pleasing, with the total amount of crime dropping by 5%. But violent crimes and drug crimes involving substances other than cannabis have increased. Police Minister George Hawkins attributes the drop in crime to Government policy.

- SICK BUILDING: Staff at Otara WINZ have had to move out because the building is making them sick. A toxic fungus was found in the air conditioning which could have caused flu-like symptoms in staff.

- MMP REVIEW: The review of MMP is officially underway with the first public hearings at Parliament today. The select committee is required by law to review MMP and report back to Parliament before the next election. The big issue is that the public wants the number of MPs reduced to 90 from 120. Labour Alliance and Greens disagree that parliament should be reduced.

- PETROL PROTESTS: Fuel protests continue to gather momentum in Europe. Truck drivers and farmers are at the forefront of the demonstrations. Britain is especially affected, with nationwide blockades preventing petrol making it to petrol stations. The British have the highest petrol taxes in Europe. Meanwhile, a Welsh farmer is trying to persuade other farmers to pull out of protests, saying they could lose public support.

- MYSTERY DEAD MAN: West Auckland police say they are stumped at the identity of the dead man found in the Waitakere Ranges and are appealing for help.

- VOLUNTARY FEES: The Minister of Education Trevor Mallard says any school that singles out parents of students who don’t pay a voluntary fee payment, should watch out. Mr Maharey would have discussions with any board of trustees if they publicly identify parents who don’t pay voluntary fees.

- JOINT TRIALS: Court of Appeal says there is a significant pub interest in having a joint trial for people accused jointly of committing a crime.

- MURDER TRIAL: The three men jointly accused of murdering the man found charred and mutilated on Godley Head appeared in court today.

- NZSO: A proposal that the NZ Symphony Orchestra only plays together a few times a year in much the same way that the All Blacks do has been sternly criticised by culture vultures, who say an orchestra needs to play together constantly to develop into a great ensemble.

- JAPANES WHALERS: The White House has banned Japanese fisheries from American waters for violating a moratorium on whaling.

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