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National Radio Midday Report

Skilled Migrants – Vet Strike – Fire Resignation – Power Payout – Opposition Co-operation – Officer Resignation Endorsed – Car Bomb – Economy Class Syndrome – Beattie Funeral – Welfare Entitlements – GM Commission – Coast To Coast

- SKILLED MIGRANTS: The government has allowed an additional10,000 skilled and business migrants into New Zealand each year. Prime Minister Helen Clark and Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced the changes at the Christchurch business-government forum in Christchurch today. The new target is for 27,000 skilled migrants to New Zealand a year.

- VET STRIKE: Legal action over the intention of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry vets to strike over a wage dispute has gone back to the employment court today. MAF is seeking a permanent injunction to stop the vets going on a planned three week strike.

- FIRE RESIGNATION: The Chief Fire Officer in Hamilton has resigned over reports of alleged financial mismanagement and the treatment of an officer worker who had raised concerns about his conduct.

- POWER PAYOUT: The Inland Revenue Department is urging Aucklanders who owe tax to settle their debts with money paid out in the Vector Energy dividend to some Auckland electricity consumers.

- OPPOSITION COOPERATION: A two pronged attack on the government is in store when parliament resumes next week, with an agreement between National and ACT to work together in opposition to Government policies. National leader Jenny Shipley said both parties can gain from a common strategy. ACT leader Richard Prebble said today’s joint meeting was historic.

- OFFICER RESIGNATION ENDORSED: The Police Association has endorsed an application by a senior Auckland officer, Superintendent Brett Marsh, who faces drink-driving charges to resign early on medical or psychological grounds and get his pension in a lump sum.

- CAR BOMB: Two previously unknown Palestinian groups have claimed responsibility for today’s car bombing in East Jerusalem. The powerful blast in an ultra orthodox Jewish neigbourhood slightly injured one woman.

- ECONOMY CLASS SYNDROME: As a potential class action suit looms in the courts, the aviation industry is today trying to clarify how people get deep vein thrombosis, popularly known as economy class syndrome in aeroplanes. Melbourne law firm Slater and Gordon is collating information on more than 2000 cases of deep vein thrombosis, including 116 alleged deaths.

- BEATTIE FUNERAL: Mourners will begin gathering shortly in Wellington for the Sate funeral of former Governor General Sir David Beattie.

- WELFARE ENTITLEMENTS: New Zealand’s food banks are challenging the Department of Work and Income to put them out of business. Agencies blame the Department of Work and Income for not giving beneficiaries all of the entitlements they are entitled to.

- GM COMISSION: The Environment and Conservation Organisation of New Zealand has called for a pause on all GM projects in New Zealand, at the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, until more is known of the effects of trials on the environment.

- COAST TO COAST: Athletes in the 2-day section of the Coast to Coast endurance race took off today. Most of the competitors are in the notoriously tough Goat’s Pass.

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