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Sentencing Changes: Announcement, Reaction – Ngawha Prison Refused Consent – Deka Shuts Up Shop – Beehive Wood Wars – Kiwi SAS Bombing – Timor Death

SENTENCING CHANGES - ANNOUNCEMENT: The government is bowing to public pressure and increasing violent crime sentences. A bill to be introduced by Phil Goff will include the minimum non-parole period for very serious crimes to 17 years. Serious offenders will only be allowed to apply for parole every five years – rather than every year. In some cases life imprisonment will mean life. The law will also distinguish mercy killings. Tough justice will cost $93 million a year.

SENTENCING CHANGES – REACTION: Victims are pleased with the announcement but some lawyers are not. Lobby group VOICE are pleased. So is petitioner Norm Withers. Lawyer Barry Hart says that locking up people for most of their lives is not a solution. The bill is expected to increase the number of people jailed by around 300. Families of victims would like to make the changes retrospective. JEN NOLAN LIVE: Aggravated murders will be treated particularly harshly. Victims will now be able to claim damages if physically harmed.

NGAWHA PRISON REFUSED CONSENT: Corrections Department plans to build a prison at Ngawha in Northland have received a setback with the refusal of a resource consent application by the Northland Regional Council.

DEKA SHUTS UP: Deka is closing 43 shops and converting 17 into Farmers shops. 1500 staff have been told their jobs will be gone in July. Deka management say that staff were not surprised. 400 staff may be reemployed into the Farmers business.

BEEHIVE WOOD: New wooden panels in the Beehive – made from African rainforest wood - will be ripped out following concerns raised by the Opposition. The Greens and National both say it would be hypocritical. African veneer was also used in Te Papa.

KIWI SAS BOMBING: The ground controller who directed the bombing run that killed Kiwi John McNutt was also injured in the accident. The Kuwaiti military say the accident will strengthen their relationship with the US military. Memorial services have already begun in the US.

TIMOR DEATH: A NZ Soldier has died in East Timor while on leave.

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