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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Tunnel Safety – Timor Forces – Compensation Ordered – Middle East Clashes – Florida Recount – Whaling Conference – Pay Increases – Commercial Vehicle Crackdown – Casual Labour – Tertiary Education Incentives – Outlook For Summer

- TUNNEL SAFETY: Transit NZ says fatal tunnel fires in Europe, including the recent Austrian rail fire that killed over 100 people, in the past two years have prompted safety reviews of road tunnels in Wellington, Christchurch and Milford Sound. A review of the Lyttleton tunnel has identified several ways it could be made safer for motorists. Just over $1m is being spent upgrading tunnels nationally.

- TIMOR FORCES: The Chief of Defence Forces Kerry Adamson says continued commitment of ground forces in East Timor will be difficult to sustain. He said New Zealand could maintain a ground force in East Timor for another 18 months but may experience difficulty beyond that.

- COMPENSATION ORDERED: The Government has instructed ACC and IRD to work out an appropriate level of compensation for a couple who have been in dispute with the agencies for 14 years. IRD apologised to the couple yesterday. Minister for Revenue and ACC Michael Cullen has instructed them to pay appropriate compensation to Jan and Murray Willis and says it is appropriate for them to split the cost.

- MIDDLE EAST CLASHES: Israeli troops have shot dead 8 Palestinians in clashes in throughout the West Bank and Gaza. The head of the UN Commission for Human Rights Mary Robinson says she has serious concerns about Israel’s tactics.

- FLORIDA RECOUNT: In the latest move in the legal battle around the outcome of the US Presidential election the Florida Supreme Court has refused to block the manual recount of votes in several key counties. The court also turned down Florida Secretary of State Catherine Harris’ request to have all the lawsuits heard in one court.

- WHALING CONFERENCE: The former chair of the Waitangi Tribunal Fisheries Commission Tipene O’Regan has told the World Council of Whalers conference that he wants Maori to have rights to stranded whales but supports whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean.

- PAY INCREASES: The Higher Salaries Commission has given MPs pay increases from 2.8% for the Prime Minister to 2.4% for backbenchers, backdated to July. He’s also awarded further increases from March next year.

- COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CRACKDOWN: Police in Auckland are vowing to keep pressure on commercial vehicle operators after a week long crack-down. The police stopped nearly 7000 commercial and diesel vehicles and nearly one in six had infringed regulations.

- CASUAL LABOUR: The NZ Council of Trade Unions is concerned that the decision by forestry company Carter Holt Harvey to use casual labour at two South Island ports will lead to the loss of permanent jobs.

- TERTIARY EDUCATION INCENTIVES: Massey University Pro Vice Chancellor Louana Meyer has put forward waving fees and helping student with expenses as remedies aimed at stopping young people wasting their talents and encouraging them into tertiary education.

- OUTLOOK FOR SUMMER: NIWA has released its latest seasonal climate outlook. It predicts a wet start to the summer in the top half of the North Island and parts of the South Island.


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