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National Radio Midday Report

Plummeting Dollar – Business Confidence – Moderate Wage Demands – Drug Bill – Middle East Peace Talks – Oil Prices – Suicide Show – GE Inquiry – Cyclist Death Inquiry – Inmate Gamblers – Lyttleton Harbour – Ebola Death Toll

- PLUMMETING DOLLAR: The record low dollar won’t deliver an economic windfall as soon as many people expect. The dollar has recovered slightly from an overnight low. Some economists say the damage to the economy of a weakened dollar will be felt for some time yet. Economists say New Zealand will feel the cost of the high US dollar on imports before the positives from greater returns on exports with the low NZ dollar are felt.

- BUSINESS CONFIDENCE: The Prime Minister has shrugged off the latest slump in business confidence, saying sentiment can’t help but pick up given the growth in exports and tourism. The Institute of Economic Research quarterly survey shows confidence at it’s lowest since the Asian economic crisis. Clark says confidence should increase going into summer.

- MODERATE WAGE DEMANDS: Unions are being warned to be moderate in wage demands by the Prime Minister, in the wake of figures released yesterday that show inflation hit three percent in the year to September.

- DRUG BILL: Pharmac says that without its intervention New Zealand’s drug bill would have been more than $300 million higher over the last year.

- MIDDLE EAST PEACE TALKS: In the Middle East, Leaders are working into the night to come to an agreement after a meeting of foreign ministers turned into a shouting match. Fresh clashes in Gaza left more Palestinians dead. Thousands of Palestinians marched to protest against the summit.

- OIL PRICES: The difficulties at the Middle East summit are having an effect on the World oil market. Worries about long term prices and accompanying inflation are settling in.

- SUICIDE SHOW: A member of a panel that advised on a programme about youth suicide to be shown on TV3 tonight is concerned that the show may be accompanied by a rise in youth suicide.

- GE INQUIRY: Greenpeace has accused the country’s largest forestry companies of acting against the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council by pushing for the use of gene technology.

- CYCLIST DEATH INQUIRY: An eye witness to a fatal cycle crash on SH2 at Lower Hutt last year said she never walked on white road markings in the rain because they are slippery when wet. The cyclist appeared to slip on road markings.

- INMATE GAMBLERS: A new report indicates as much as one in four prison inmates have a serious gambling problem.

- LYTTLETON HARBOUR: The Lyttleton Port Company is allowing about 50 pleasure craft to berth in the inner harbour until a permanent safe mooring can be built. More than 33 boats were sunk in Thursday’s storm that wrecked the half completed marina.

- EBOLA DEATH TOLL: The ebola death toll in Uganda is rising. The World Health Organisation says the virus is being treated as ebola, although it has not yet been confirmed. 43 have died from 70 known cases since the outbreak began 2 weeks ago, including three nurses.

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