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National Radio Midday Report

OCR – Benefits – Foot And Mouth – Christmas Island Tests – Bombing Blunder – Rankin Sues – Upskilling – Home Detention ACC Fraud – Greymouth Water – Porirua Fire

- OCR: A last minute change of mind has seen Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash cut the Official Cash Rate to 6.2 per cent, its lowest level for a year. He said the faster than expected cooling world economy influenced the decision – he originally wanted to leave it at 6.5 per cent.

- BENEFITS: Groups representing beneficiaries say there is no political mileage to be made out of the latest increase in benefits. The four per cent increase to compensate for inflation over the past 12 months. Social Services Minister Steve Maharey says the annual adjustment is a fair reflection of increased costs.

- FOOT AND MOUTH: MAF has placed all products and people arriving here from France and Argentina at the same high-alert status as those arriving from Britain, after the confirmation of foot and mouth cases in both countries.

- CHRISTMAS ISLAND TESTS: Sick and dying former naval personnel who were present at Christmas Island nuclear tests in the 50s are suing the Government for compensation for their illnesses from radiation and loss of earnings.

- BOPMBING BLUNDER: An investigation into the Kuwait bombing blunder that killed New Zealand SAS officer John McNutt is underway in Washington. Major McNutts family have spoken for the first time. His brother James said he will be terribly missed by his family and his mates in the army.

- RANKIN SUES: The State Services Commissioner says he would have advised Dept of Work and Income CEO Christine Rankin against issuing legal action against Sue Bradford for comments in a Newspaper article if she had consulted him first.

- UPSKILLING: A report released this morning highlights the importance of upskilling NZ workers and placing a greater emphasis on the training of workers. Launching the report, Prime Minister Helen Clark said a skilled workforce is vital for lifting of New Zealand’s standard of living.

- HOME DETENTION: Three convicted criminals are back behind bars after cutting off security anklets while in home detention.

- ACC FRAUD: 62-year-old Auckland man Norman Kyle Mercer has been sentenced to 18 months prison for defrauding ACC by faking a bad back.

- GREYMOUTH WATER: The Grey District Council is recommending that Greymouth people with kidney problems do not drink local tap water until salt contamination, resulting from unusual demands on supplies during the Wildfoods Festival, is dealt with.

- PORIRUA FIRE: Police suspect a large scrub fire in Porirua was deliberately lit and may be linked to other suspicious fires in the area.

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