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Coast Gold Mine – Power Price Rises – Metro High – Industrial Pot – Woman Wants To Die – Cellphone Soap Opera

COAST GOLD MINE: An angry meeting is expected tonight in Reefton where West Coasters are displeased with Conservation Minister Sandra Lee for refusing consent for a gold mine. Lee is not attending the meeting. Coasters say they feel angry and have set up an opportunity for anger to be vented. Meanwhile GRD McRaes want to rework their proposal for a smaller mine and reapply. Environmentalists say they do not think McRaes will be able to keep a tailings dam in place in the rugged, earthquake prone valley they plan to mine. MP Clayton Cosgrove is defending the mine as well as Coast MP Damien O’Connor. The Alliance is upset about Cosgrove’s intervention pointing out he used to be employed as a PR manager for the mining company. “Someone should tell him he is no longer working for them,” says Matt McCarten. Q: What are people so angry about? A: People are angry because we are going through a process here. It is very expensive. And then the Minister says no. It seems like a big waste of time. Q: Coasters seem to have short memories, haven’t they just got a bundle? A: No. $120 million is a lot of money. But giving us all this money and not allowing us to do anything with it isn’t a good feeling.

POWER PRICE RISES: Power price rises can be expected over the next few months. The Consumers Institute expects rises of 5 to 8%. Trust Power has already raised prices on the West Coast. Fresh Start is also reviewing prices in Wellington. State companies say they are not planning on raising prices yet. While residential users can switch in many places, Christchurch and Dunedin residents can’t at the moment.

METRO HIGH: The ERO has recommended that Auckland’s Metropolitan College be closed. According to the ERO there is a high absentee rate at the school, on average only half the 84 strong role turns up. The board chair says that the pupils at the school have special needs and wants the Minister to come visit. The board has a period of grace before it will be ordered to close the school. Pupils say they have been expelled from previous schools.

INDUSTRIAL POT: The word is barely out and already the first hemp grower is plowing up his field in preparation for his first industrial hemp crop. Most trial farmers don’t want to be publicly identified. The two year trials are being held to see whether the crop can be grown here commercially. The hemp seeds will have very low THC levels. Crops will be tested.

WOMAN WANTS TO DIE: A British Woman suffering from motor neurone disease wants her husband to be allowed to help her die. Dianne insists her living nightmare should be allowed to end. She says she wouldn’t ask if she could do it herself. However hospice carers say suicide is not the only option for Dianne. She taps out messages on a computer saying she cannot live like she is anymore.

CELLPHONE SOAP: The small screen drama just got a lot smaller. Vodafone has launched a soap on its phone network. Each episode arrives daily on your phone for free for the first month. Vodafone says 28,000 people have already signed up. The soap is interactive and allows people to contribute to the show.

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