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National Radio Midday Report

Air NZ Groundings – Domestic Flights – Dash-8 – Middle East – Polytechnics Meeting – Cold South – Contact Share-Buy – Whitianga Waterways – Australian Budget – IRD Pays Costs – Picket Death - Petrol

- AIR NZ GROUNDINGS: Two Air NZ planes have been grounded today due to engineering faults. The company hopes it can repair both faults today. Meanwhile, Air NZ says it is still repairing the 767 forced to land after part of a wing flew off and landed in an Auckland factory.

- DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: Qantas says it is hopeful it can address concerns that smaller regions won’t benefit from increased competition in the domestic market. Qantas says if it makes business sense to fly to smaller destinations it will.

- DASH-8: Cross-examination of Gary Sutheran, the pilot facing four manslaughter charges for crashing an Ansett Dash-8 plane, killing four people, began in the High Court in Palmerston North this morning.

- MIDDLE EAST: The United States Secretary of State Colin Powell has announced plans to step up its involvement in the Middle East, following the official release of an international commission’s report demanding an end to violence. Powell has appointed a diplomat in the area.

- POLYTECHNICS MEETING: The organisation representing polytechnics says some proposals it put to the government to make the budget funding deal more acceptable have been rejected, and says the impression Education Minister Steve Maharey gave of their meeting was misleading.

- COLD SOUTH: Winter has come early in the South, with snow and hail causing problems in some parts of South Otago and Southland.

- CONTACT SHARE-BUY: Shareholders in Contact Energy have snapped up an offer by its biggest part-owner to buy their shares at above the market price.

- WHITIANGA WATERWAYS: A delegation of community leaders from the Coromandel Peninsula is making a last ditch effort to lobby MPs to speed through legislation to allow the Whitianga Waterways project to go ahead.

- AUSTRALIAN BUDGET: Financial markets are predicting the Australian Government will deliver a budget surplus tonight, but the figures will be affected by the economic slowdown.

- IRD PAYS COSTS: The Court of Appeal has rejected IRD’s appeal against the BNZ in the multi-million dollar tax case, and has ordered IRD to pay the bank $20,000 costs.

- PICKET DEATH: The High Court in Christchurch heard evidence from the first Crown witness in the case against a man accused of causing the death of a woman on a Lyttleton picket line in December 1999, when the vehicle he was driving hit her.

- PETROL: Shell has cut petrol prices by 5c a litre.

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