Hobbs and Bunkle – Skyhawk Crash – Police Cars – Rail Safety – Macedonia – McNutt Funeral – Mallard Apologises, But No Truce
HOBBS AND BUNKLE: The Auditor General has given his verdict on Phillida Bunkle and Marian Hobbs, but it is not public yet. Hobbs was giving nothing away on her way to caucus today. It is understood Hobbs has been cleared by the Auditor General and that questions remain about Bunkle. The PM says she has no idea what the findings of the AG are. Draft reports had gone to the people concerned but not to her, she said. The PM says she hasn’t decided yet what to do about the two vacant portfolios. Grant Gillon is being tipped as a replacement for Bunkle.
SKYHAWK CRASH: The pilot who brought down a transmission power line yesterday appears to have flown through the equivalent of the eye of a needle at 700 miles an hour. Workmen showed the damage to the line today saying the Skyhawk flew between two wires just 5m apart. The Air Force was not explaining the accident today. The damaged Skyhawk remains in Blenheim following the accident. The Air Force says there is always the possibility of a “wire strike” when planes are out practicing flying low. Today a monsoon bucket was dampening hotspots at the scene of the accident.
POLICE CARS: The Police are getting 404 new dual fuel LPG/Petrol police cars at a cost of $13.2 million.
RAIL SAFETY: Tranz Rail has fitted new lights and horns to its trains to make them safer.
MACEDONIA: NATO is trying to stop supplies getting to Kosovar rebels fighting inside Macedonia. Macedonia is on the brink of war against an enemy they can hardly see. The EU said today the security of the entire Balkans is at stake. The Macedonians say they do not know how many rebels there are in the hills and have now used so much ammunition shooting at them that the Bulgarians are giving them their ammunition. Tanks and hundreds of troops are heading into the area now, as 5000+ refugees head out.
MCNUTT FUNERAL: Major John McNutt was given a military funeral today at Burnham. McNutt died in an accidental bombing in Kuwait last week. His commander said McNutt’s achievements were impressive. His family paid tributes. The government says that McNutt’s position in Kuwait will not be refilled.
MALLARD APOLOGISES, BUT NO TRUCE: National says that Trevor Mallard’s apology today did not cut it. Mallard, the bad boy of the Government, apologised to the families of three National MPs he last week raised in the house. National says that apologies to other National Party member’s relatives, other than Mary English, were only reluctantly given. We do not yet have a truce. Bill English says his wife and Max Bradford’s wife are seeking legal advice. And Wyatt Creech says that the PM’s reaction to the conflict of interest accusations has been over the top.