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National Radio Midday Report

Beyer Says Ratana Unfair – Auckland Electricity Payout – Jet Boat Crash – Air Travel Deal – Mendelson Resignation – Waugh Speaks – Congo President – Tongan Hideaway – Baxter Murder – Nelson Waterfront Dispute – Drink Driving Charge – Fire Aid – Gisborne Report – Horta About Face – Galapagos Oil Spill – Car Crash – ChCh Art Gallery

- BEYER SAYS RATANA UNFAIR: Maori Wairarapa Labour MP Georgina Beyer says Maori need to give the Government more time to deliver on its promises. Ms Beyer, who accompanied Prime Minister Helen Clark to Ratana celebrations, said the treatment of the Prime Minister there was “a bit rich”. Ratana supporters put the Prime Minister on notice, because they were disappointed at the dilution of the closing the gaps policy.

- AUCKLAND ELECTRICITY PAYOUT: Progress on distributing over $150m to Auckland electricity consumers will remain on hold until the Auckland City Council decides if it will take further legal action.

- JET BOAT CRASH: Eight people have been injured in a tourist jet boat crash on the Waikato River near Taupo this morning. The injuries are moderate, but not life threatening.

- AIR TRAVEL DEAL: The Government says extra flights it has negotiated with Japan are worth an estimated $150m to the New Zealand tourism industry. The agreement with the Japanese Government will see an extra 460 seats per week, and will mean there is a daily flight between the countries.

- MENDELSON RESIGNATION: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced changes to his cabinet following the resignation of Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson, after becoming embroiled in a controversy over granting British citizenship to a wealthy Indian businessman.

- WAUGH SPEAKS: Mark Waugh’s manager today confirmed the Australian test cricket batsman would speak to cricket anti-corruption investigators, after Waugh had been given an ultimatum by Australian cricket that he would lose his place in the side if he did not speak to investigators by 6pm tonight.

- CONGO PRESIDENT: The Parliament of the Democratic Republican of Congo has unanimously confirmed Joseph Kabila, the son of assassinated former president Laurent Kabila, as President.

- TONGAN HIDEAWAY: Police say Tongan authorities are cooperating over reported sighting of New Zealand drug runner Brian Curtis, who escaped from Paremoremo Prison in 1993. If he is found he will be arrested and extradited to new Zealand.

- BAXTER MURDER: Hastings police say they have had reports of sightings of a vehicle believed to be connected to the death of Wellington Woman, Margaret-Lynne Baxter, who was murdered after being hit by a car while jogging in Hastings.

- NELSON WATERFRONT DISPUTE: Behind the scenes work is going on to try to resolve the dispute over the use of out of towners to load logs at the Port of Nelson.

- DRINK DRIVING CHARGE: A Senior Auckland police officer facing a drink-driving charge has again been remanded at large. He has been stood down on full pay.

- FIRE AID: Government help to Marlborough farmers hit by fires has risen to a total of 30,000, with Agriculture minister Jim Sutton announcing a further 15,000 today.

- GISBORNE REPORT: The Health and Disability Commission report into management practices at Gisborne hospital has been delayed for a second time. The commission now expects the results of their investigation to be submitted at the end of February.

- HORTA ABOUT FACE: One of East Timor’s leaders, Jose Ramos Horta, has urged the US to resume military aid to neighbouring Indonesia. During decades of rule over East Timor by Indonesia, Mr Horta denounced abuses committed by occupying Indonesian troops.

- GALAPAGOS OIL SPILL: Oil leaking from a wrecked tanker has reached another island on the Galapagos archipelago, as workers battle to contain the spill.

- CAR CRASH: State Highway 2 remains closed by a fatal two-car collision that left one dead and two injured, south of Auckland this morning.

- CHCH ART GALLERY: The contract for construction of Christchurch’s new art gallery will be signed this afternoon, committing $30m of council funds to the project.

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