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National Radio Midday Report

Hospital Overcrowding – Armed Standoff – Rankin Hearings – Public Sector Bonuses – Positive BoP – Car Sales – Immigration Report – Missing Man – Rail Sale – Macedonia – AIDS Drugs – Youth Deaths – Fishing Catch – Auckland Transport

HOSPITAL OVERCROWDING: Overcrowding in hospitals caused by a winter illnesses is causing problems across the country. Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland has suspended non-urgent surgery due to a shortage of beds caused by a winter flu epidemic.

ARMED STANDOFF: Two armed offenders squads are still negotiating with an armed man who abducted his former partner and three-month-old child near Thames.

RANKIN HEARINGS: The Employment Court has been told National’s Minister of Social Services expressed concerns about the personal style of DWI CEO Christine Rankin, on the second day of her $818,000 claim against the Crown.

PUBLIC SECTOR BONUSES: The Government is moving to stop one off payments to public servants, after a rash of controversial payments to state sector officials. State Services Minister Trevor Mallard says public servants should not be paid bonuses for simply doing their jobs.

POSITIVE BOP: A buoyant export sector coupled with the peak of the tourism season accounts for a positive current account, the first March quarter balance of payments surplus in seven years.

CAR SALES: The Government is proposing big changes to the 25-year-old Motor Vehicle Dealers Act to protect buyers.

IMMIGRATION REPORT: A report into the attempted deportation of two cousins in Hamilton strongly denies claims the case was badly handled by immigration authorities.

MISSING MAN: Police in Hawkes Bay and Wellington are investigating the disappearance of a Hastings man in suspicious circumstances in May. Police are treating it as a homicide.

RAIL SALE: TranzRail is expected to announce today the sale of its TranzScenic long distance passenger operations.

MACEDONIA: Thousands of protesters have besieged Parliament in Macedonia to protest a deal negotiated by international groups to evacuate ethnic Albanian rebels in a strategic village.

AIDS DRUGS: The United States and Brazil say they have resolved a dispute that had been holding up the use of cheaper drugs to fight AIDS.

YOUTH DEATHS: Auckland regional mayors and community workers are pushing for a nation-wide mortality register for young people so all youth deaths can be reviewed.

FISHING CATCH: Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson is signalling cuts in commercial catch levels for several fish and shellfish species.

AUCKLAND TRANSPORT: Auckland’s proposed downtown transport terminal could be bursting at the seams in 20 years, if projections by the City Council are correct.

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