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Christine Rakin – What Rankin Wore – Yacht Rescue – TVNZ Shakeup – Northland Assault – Peru Quake

CHRISTINE RANKIN: Christine Rankin promised to shock – today she did. Christine Rankin told the Employment Court that the consequences of the Labour Government’s campaign against her were serious with her receiving death threats in the wake of criticism from ministers . Her lawyer quoted Maharey making offensive remarks about her appearance. Rankin said that the State Services Commissioner had said that she would be a star in the public service. She also says that SSC Michael Wintringham had offered to take her out, adding that it would be a strictly platonic date as he was celibate. Rankin says that Maharey swore a lot during some meetings. She also said Mark Prebble was grossly sexist to her. He said he felt intimidated by her appearance. Helen Clark would not answer any of Rankin’s allegations today. JANE YOUNG: These allegations are extraordinarily damaging for the government if proven. This will go on for at least a couple of weeks. Maharey we understand will be giving evidence. In the cross-examination of Rankin so far the crown has referred to a litany of disasters at WINZ under Rankin’s management.

WHAT RANKIN WORE: Over the coming days Christine Rankin’s dress sense will be central to the case. A fashion editor today says that Rankin is dressed typically “Rankin” for her court appearance. “She looks like she is going into battle. Swathed in neutrals. It is kind of like sexy goddess going to war. She has typical earrings – they are a little like her armour. Her lipstick can be as sharp as a sword.”

YACHT RESCUE: Five people were rescued today off a 13 metre trimaran off Cape Palliser that had started taking on water. The helicopter crew chief was pleased to find the boat as quickly as they did. All the crew on the board wanted to abandon ship when the copter arrived. The yacht is expected to be salvaged.

TVNZ SHAKEUP: The long-expected shakeup of TVNZ came a step closer today. TVNZ is to be turned in to a crown owned company – a Croc for short. TVNZ will no longer be solely focussed on making a profit. The new TVNZ charter will be phased in over several years. Ross Armstrong speaking for TVNZ says it is a victory for content. TV3 CEO Rick Friesen says it is a good move for TV, and will be good for TV3 too. Michael Cullen is not saying how much the new policy will cost.

NORTHLAND ASSAULT: The son of Northland teacher Susan Brown from Hukerenui, Hayden Brown, has been charged with assault of his mother. He has been charged with GBH and arson of Susan Brown’s house. The court has called for a psychiatric assessment of the accused who has been remanded in custody for two weeks.

PERU QUAKE: A huge relief and rescue operation is underway following a huge quake in Peru. The earthquake struck off the coast of Peru, 120 miles from Peru’s second largest city. 100s of victims of the quake flooded into towns after the quake. In the Andean highlands temperatures can dip below freezing over night. Aftershocks mean that people are sleeping outside nevertheless. Aid agencies fear the death toll may rise.

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