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Bunkle Out – Defence Spending – Kyoto Protocol – US Chinese Air Crash – Army Incident – Hopoate’s Controversial Finger

- BUNKLE OUT: Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle is banished to the backbenches, even though she insists the Registrar of Electors’ report cleared her of any wrongdoing. The Prime Minister and her Deputy think otherwise. Deputy PM Jim Anderton said there is a public perception that there has not been adequate accountability, but he did say there could be a future place for her in the Executive if she keeps her head down and works hard. The Prime Minister said there is an old saying that if you are in a hole you should stop digging, referring the Ms Bunkle’s insistence she had done no wrong. The opposition have shown little sympathy for Ms Bunkle and said the PM had no choice but to leave Phillida out of the Executive.

- DEFENCE SPENDING: Former defence heads are calling for public debate on defence spending before decisions are finalised, but Prime Minister says their call is politically motivated. From the US, NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said there was no call from the US Secretary of State, who he discussed defence with, for more spending on defence by New Zealand.

- KYOTO PROTOCOL: Phil Goff told reporters in the US that he is taking up the issue of the Kyoto Protocol, which President Bush backed out of, on behalf of all Pacific Nations.

- US/CHINESE AIR CRASH: The US is demanding China hand over a US spy plane that was forced to land on Chinese soil after a mid air collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The US says the crash was the Chinese jet’s fault, the Chinese insist to the contrary. The Chinese pilot is believed to have ejected but has not been found.

- ARMY INCIDENT: Military police are investigating an Australian instructor over alleged abuse of New Zealand soldiers during a mock training exercise

- HOPOATE’S CONTROVERSIAL FINGER: There is new contoversy over disgraced league winger John Hopoate, after a newspaper advertisement used a picture of John Hopoate’s finger up the bum of an opposition player to raise prostate cancer awareness. Anti abuse groups are up in arms, but the Cancer Society says it isn’t ruling out more shock tactics in future campaigns.

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