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Compensation Ordered – APEC: Tariffs – APEC: East Timor – MP’s Pay Rise – Log Loading – Whaling Conference

- COMPENSATION ORDERED: The Government has ordered IRD and ACC to pay compensation to a couple who were hounded by the Inland Revenue Department for 14 years. Jan and Murray Willis told a select committee that IRD ruined their lives. For the first time, the IRD apologised to the couple yesterday. The saga began when IRD incorrectly billed their company $100,000 in ACC levies. ACT MP Rodney Hide has championed the couple’s case and is pleased with the outcome. The final figure of the compensation will remain confidential, but it could be in the hundred thousands. Other taxpayers also want apologies and compensation, but it has been warned by the Finance Select Committee that the Willis case is not precedent setting. NZ First Leader Winston Peter renewed his call for police to investigate the actions of IRD staff in the Willis case.

- APEC: TARIFFS: There has been criticism that APEC is hurting developing countries, but today Helen Clark took the lead in rectifying that by announcing a removal of tariffs on imports from developing countries. Helen Clark said in all truth many APEC countries are worse off than they were eight years ago, despite the APEC rhetoric.

- APEC: EAST TIMOR: The subject of East Timor has been raised at APEC and Helen Clark says there may finally be some progress. She has met with the Indonesian President and she said today that Indonesia is hoping to make progress dismantling the militias, but have set no definite timeframe.

- MPS PAY RISE: MP’s have gotten a pay rise. The Prime Minister’s salary will reach $230,000 by July. The rise doesn’t match the rate of inflation, but is greater than the average wage increase.

- LOG LOADING: Local wharfies are preparing to picket at the port in Bluff over the use of casual North Island wharfies to load logs. They say the practice is putting full time local work at risk.

- WHALING CONFERENCE: Conservation groups are outraged by claims they are breaching Treaty of Waitangi rights of coastal iwi by saving beached whales, the claim coming from Sir Tipene O’Reagan.

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