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Tougher Sentencing – Egg Scam – Deka Closures – Beehive Wood

- TOUGHER SENTENCING: The Government is promising tougher penalties for our most violent offenders. The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill aims to give judges more flexibility in sentencing violent criminals. Some killers will have to serve a minimum of 17 years before being considered for parole. But less serious murders will get lesser sentences. National says the bill doesn’t go far enough, and say it will be useless without more money to the police. The changes will cost an estimated $90m over the next few years. A referendum at the last election found most New Zealanders want tougher sentences. The bill places more emphasis on reparation for victims. But victim support says the bill will not be able to ensure victims get the money. Critics of the bill say tougher sentencing is just a step away from reintroducing the death penalty.

- EGG SCAM: A man has been fined $35,000 for relabeling battery hen eggs as free range. Free range eggs cost considerably more than battery egg hens. The man told the court he intends to set up a legitimate free range egg business.

- DEKA CLOSURES: All 60 Deka department stores around the country will close by July leaving 1400 workers out of a job. Deka has been losing money. Some stores will be rebranded as Farmers.

- BEEHIVE WOOD: Builders have been ordered to tear out imported native timber – English Tawa, which turns out to be African tropical hardwood - from the Beehive. The parliamentary service and the architects responsible for the choice are still arguing over the use of the wood.

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