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Economic Boom – Technology Grant – Economic IV – Cloning – Water Bug – Taranaki Contamination Report – Plane Crash Investigation – Gang Killing Sentencing – Starship Hospital – US Heat Wave

ECONOMIC BOOM? A string of economic indicators in the last 24 hours are delivering the sort of news Government’s like. Retail sales are up. Unemployment is down. And tourism is booming. In the June Quarter retail sales were up 7.1% compared to the same time last year. Economists say hard facts explain the boom – they say wages are going up because of skill shortages. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 13 years and the government is pleased. June Quarter exports were up 6%, car registrations are up and mortgage rates are down. The booming NZ economy is in stark contrast to that of our trading partners.

TECHNOLOGY GRANT: The government has announced a $1.6 million grant to a Wellington company developing mobile internet technology software. The company Ericcsson Synergy will triple its workforce and is recruiting Kiws back from offshore. The grant is the first from a $3 million investment fund. Jim Anderton says that people are not running away from NZ. ACT says it is all bad news. “We are now having to pay big business to do business here,” says Rodney Hide.

ECONOMIC BOOM IV: Business Editor Sarah Bradley IV: The world economy should pick up by the end of the year say economists. If it does NZ will skip along. Q: Is there a downside? A: There is a downside in a weak dollar, imports are expensive. And employment stats are also showing a weak skill base in NZ. There is also a low demand for our financial products and banks are laying off staff.

CLONING: A NZ company is part of a consortium that has won rights to a technique for cloning animals.

WATER BUG: NZers are being warned about a new bug being found in water. People with private water supplies south of Auckland are being advised to boil their water. The Vtec bug is more dangerous that Giardia.

TARANAKI CONTAMINATION REPORT: A report by the Taranaki Medical Officer Of Health says that people living near a chemical plant are at no greater risk of getting sick than anyone else. People living in the shadow of the Ivan Watkins Dow Factory have been worried for a long time about dioxin levels. When compared to national rates of disease the suburb has not had high cancer, birth defects or MS disease, says the health official. Locals are not happy with the report but – calling it tripe.

PLANE CRASH INVESTIGATION: Pilot error was the likely cause of a Cessna crash last April that killed six says the CAA.

GANG KILLING SENTENCING: Black Power gang patches were out in force in Christchurch today at the sentencing of four members of the Highway 61 gang for the murder of a Black Power member .

STARSHIP HOSPITAL: Non-urgent elective surgery has been cancelled at Starship Hospital due to shortage of nurses. One lucky boy still received an operation, but. The wards are very full however. The cancellations of non-urgent surgery are to give staff a break. Some nurses have been working up to 40 hours of over-time a week. The problem has been exacerbated by high sick leave rates. Middlemore Hospital has been offering some support with grommet operations.

US HEAT WAVE: Virtually the entire US is in the grip of a heat wave. Across the US temperatures are soaring well over 30 degrees. Several children have died in cars hot enough to bake cookies. New York Commuters have found the subway too hot. Some sports have been cancelled as players are collapsing. The US has been buying in power from Canada to power air conditioning. As America tries to stay cool forecasters predict even hotter temperatures.

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