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Fiji Murder – NZ Post Board Stoush – Christine Rankin – Toxic Spill – Bigger Trucks – Wolf The Injured Police Dog

FIJI MURDER: There is now evidence that the murder in Fiji of Red Cross Director John Scott and his partner Greg Scrivener was politically motivated. Janice Giles, Scrivener’s sister, says that Scott received several death threats. She thinks that John might have been a crucial witness in the upcoming trial of Coup Leader George Speight. A doctor in Melbourne has independently verified the threats. Scott’s criticism of anti-gay laws in Fiji may have been another reason for his killing, Giles says. More than 30 police are on the case, mainly focussing on a shanty town near the house where the murder occurred.

NZ POST BOARD STOUSH: Dr Ross Armstrong’s position at the top of NZ Post Board is uncertain tonight after his Minister Mark Burton refused to express confidence in Armstrong. Mark Burton says he hasn’t asked for a resignation or been offered one, but all options are open. Burton delayed a defence trip to deal with the crisis. National’s Bill English says that Armstrong has to go to save an NZ icon. At a board meeting last night Armstrong sought an inquiry into fellow board member Syd Bradley’s conduct in South Africa, the board refused to grant authority for the inquiry. Helen Clark is on holiday in the South Island, she says she is appalled that the board stoush has broken out in public.

CHRISTINE RANKIN: The C word was back as the Christine Rankin. Michael Wintringham said he was disturbed about reports about his personal conversations with Rankin. Both Counsel and Wintringham seemed very uncomfortable about the alleged remark Wintringham made concerning his celibacy. “I made a somewhat self-deprecating comment to indicate my contact with her would have to be strictly limited. I think that the reporting of this is unacceptable and very hurtful,” he told the court. Wintringham spoke of a flurry of meetings with the incoming government about Rankin’s future, meetings that Rankin did not know about. Wintringham said he was in a difficult position with the new government. He said he had no recollection of ever remarking that Rankin was a “striking looking woman”. JANE YOUNG: Two days of very gruelling cross examination have taken their toll. He admitted today he was tired. Q: Was there a revelation about the job? A: One of the big issues has been whose idea was it to merger the social agencies, today Wintringham says it was his idea.

TOXIC SPILL: The Kaikoura Coast has had a second toxic spill. 13,000 litres of formaldehyde was dumped on the road by a truck and spilled into a local stream. Water for the local community has been cut off. Kaikoura’s Mayor says it is sad for Kaikoura. Environment Canterbury says the spill will have little if any effect on coastal wildlife.

BIGGER TRUCKS: A plan to allow bigger trucks on our roads is gathering opposition. Trucks on NZ roads are currently only allowed to be up to 40 tonnes. A change in limit will increase this to over 60 tonnes and increase the allowable length of trucks by 5 metres. Proponents of bigger trucks say it will help the environment. Green MPs however describe it as utter lunacy – efforts should be being made to shift freight to rail, says Sue Kedgley.

WOLF THE INJURED POLICE DOG: A Gisborne Police Dog stabbed in the face at the weekend, called Wolf, has had surgery to remove his eye and is having more surgery in an effort to save his sense of smell. It is not sure whether Wolf will be able to work again. He was stabbed by an alleged offender as he approached him. Wolf’s handler drove the dog to Massey University for his operation. He says it is like a family tragedy.

ENDS

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