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Electricity Prices, Weather Expert Augie Auer – Tim Barnett – Murder Raised In Parliament – Alliance Stoush – Skyhawks – Weight Loss Product Withdrawn

ELECTRCITY PRICES: Thinking of changing power companies. Think again. That’s the advice from the Consumer’s Institute. Meridian Energy’s phones have been calling off the hook, with more than 8000 calls a day, following On Energy price rises. But consumers who want to switch to Meridian will have to wait six weeks at least. There is a bit of red tape involved in switching says a spokesman. Several other power suppliers have stopped accepting new customers. Lake levels have been rising, but not enough yet to bring prices down.

WEATHER EXPERT AUGIE AUER: The lakes are on average about 65% full at the moment. Manapouri is doing all right, Pukaki is in a bad way. With the weak La Nina pattern I expect lake levels to remain at critical but manageable levels for the rest of winter, says Auer.

TIM BARNETT: Jenny Shipley went on the attack today, against Labour MP Tim Barnett and a deal he has done with SOE Meridian Energy for cheap power in Christchurch. An advert for Meridian in the Christchurch Press features Barnett and the Labour Party logo prominently. Barnett says he has received no money from Meridian.

MURDER RAISED IN PARLIAMENT: The family of murder victim Steven Slavic have heard that the murderer Shane Rogers has been boasting about the murder in prison. The family has also heard that Rogers has photos of the murder. Last month Rogers was denied parole after a complaint from the family. ACT Member Stephen Franks raised the case in Parliament today. Speaking for the Government Tariana Turia cited the Privacy Act. A corrections spokesman says Rogers had photos and files sent to him by his lawyer, but has now agreed to surrender them. Sensible Sentencing says Rogers is nowhere near ready for rehabilitation.

ALLIANCE STOUSH: Alliance Leader Jim Anderton put his job on the line at a weekend party meeting in order to get colleague and fellow minister Laila Harre to agree to not talk to striking journalists. Anderton and Harre presented a united front for the public today on the way to a caucus meeting. Anderton denies being a dictator, and denies threatening to go and see Helen Clark (political talk for resigning), if he didn’t get his way. Harre today backed her leader and said he had the right to make calls like this. Former Alliance MP Pam Corkery likened Anderton to a bully in her book. The PM has a warning to Harre. “I think she should reflect on the issues she has raised”. Meanwhile commentator Chris Trotter has warned Jim Anderton that he may be taken at his word if he pushes buttons like this too often. JANE YOUNG LIVE: “Anderton has a problem because he is a lot more conservative than many of his voters. Someone described it today as the Alliance is Graceland and Anderton is Elvis, and that is on the button. He has power because of the Wigram seat, but the party does not want to become the Anderton Party like NZ First has become Winston First.”

SKYHAWKS: Two of NZ’s aging Skyhawks had to make an emergency landing on Groote Island in the Northern Territory today. They had been attending exercises.

WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCT WITHDRAWN: A weight loss product called Shape-Patch has been withdrawn for sale because it does not meet advertising standards. The product is from the USA. Four newspapers placed large adverts for the product yesterday. Queenstown based Shape-Patch withdrew the product from sale today. The main ingredient in Shape-Patch has been sold for years by herbalists, and is a lot cheaper than the branded product.

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