Christine Rankin – Tauranga Murder – Missing Patient – Flu Epidemic – Breast Cancer – GE Cows – AIDs War Declared
CHRISTINE RANKIN: It was the turn of Christine Rankin’s boss to give evidence today. State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham launched a scathing attack on Rankin’s work performance. Wintringham said that in the end Rankin just didn’t fit the job. Wintringham said that the position demanded a level of sophistication that Rankin found it hard to achieve. Introducing the Crown case, the Crown’s lawyer said that Mark Prebble and Steve Maharey would also be giving evidence. Wintringham said he finally ran out of patience with Rankin. Almost from the start of her term as WINZ CEO Wintringham said he had problems. He does not know what else he could have done. He said much of criticism of Rankin was justifiable. “My recollection is that on one or two occasions Mrs Rankin referred to awful meetings with Mr Maharey.” But he did not know how awful. He said that on one occasion he stopped Rankin from appearing on TV, telling her that the PM would be very unhappy if she did. JANE YOUNG: When he hired her he considered her very energetic. The relationship got so bad that in 1999 after her review of performance she threatened to sue him. Q: What of the allegations she made about him? A: They weren’t dealt with today. He will be under cross-examination tomorrow about political pressure. Wintringham said he never told Rankin she would be a star.
TAURANGA MURDER: A 25 year old has been arrested and charged with the murder of Tauranga man Noel MacKenzie. He appeared in the Manakau District Court for the stabbing of MacKenzie a fortnight ago. A detective says that media coverage was crucial in solving the case. The man’s name was suppressed. The reason for the violent death is still unclear and it appears the accused may not even have known Mr MacKenzie. Police have seized the man’s vehicle. He has been remanded in custody to the Mason psychiatric unit.
MISSING PATIENT: A massive search has failed so far to find a mental patient missing near Taeri River Mouth in Dunedin.
FLU EPIDEMIC: Health Professionals are concerned about how many elderly people have not sought free vaccinations for the flu. The flu epidemic is being felt from Auckland to Taranaki. It is two weeks away from Wellington. Doctors are worried that around 62,000 elderly people who had a flu shot last year have not had one this year. The flu comes on rapidly and its symptoms are very bad including a sore throat and aching muscles. If you have it stay home, keep warm and drink lots of fluids. See your doctor if it gets worse.
BREAST CANCER: A Canadian Expert has reviewed studies of self screening for breast cancer and has found that self screening does not work as well as it was thought. He doesn’t know why. Mammograms are considered the best method of diagnosis. There are exceptions however and one woman who diagnosed herself says it worked for her. Mammograms are free for women aged 50 to 64.
GE COWS: Three of the genetically engineered calves born at Ruakura have died. Four calves remain carrying a human gene. It will be several years before it is known whether the calves carry the human protein in their milk.
AIDS WAR DECLARED: The UN has ended an historic conference with a declaration of war on AIDs. An AIDs blueprint has set targets for reducing infection. Some AIDs sufferers were left out of definitions due to opposition from Islamic nations to mention of homosexuality and prostitution. Many nations are in denial about HIV. Pacific Nations are seen as another Africa in the making. Infection rates in Papua New Guinea and Fiji are of concern. It has been called the bubonic plague of our century.