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New Zealand Herald

Psycho Flatmate – Tax Cuts Off – Flyijng Rat – Wages Of Lotto – Tainui and Apec – CIA and Kirk – Prebble Accommodation – Defence Report

PSYCHO FLATMATE: A meeting through a flatmate-wanted advertisement set Malcolm Beggs on a collision course with a disturbed mental patient who murdered him in his bed with an axe. Mr Beggs, aged 25, joked with friends that the lodger he had taken in to help pay the mortgage on his first home might be 'a psycho.' The victim is pictured.

TAX CUTS OFF: The Government has abandoned plans to pass $400 million of tax cuts into law before the November election, after failing to secure enough votes in backroom talks with its supporters. "I do not intend to be held to wheels and deals or any other positioning in order to deliver on that promise," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley told the New Zealand Herald last night.

FLYING RAT: A woman flying Air New Zealand business class will be offered compensation after finding a rat sitting on her lap. The runaway rodent with a penchant for air travel was first seen on the Boeing 767-300 after it left Los Angeles on its way to Auckland via Tahiti.

WAGES OF LOTTO: The Government has given the State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, a slap over the wrist for not telling it about a $400,000-plus salary package paid to the chief executive of the Lotteries Commission, David Bale. But it says Mr Bale cannot be forced to take a pay cut even though the Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, and Acting Minister of State Services, Maurice Williamson, have condemned his salary as excessive.

TAINUI AND APEC: Tainui is distancing itself from comments made by its local MP, Tukoroirangi Morgan, who said Tainui should greet the 20 Apec leaders when they arrive at Auckland Airport - not the next day. A Tainui spokeswoman, Sue Sarich, said last night that tribal leaders, including the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, were consulted before the programme was put together for the arrival and were happy with the arrangements.

CIA AND KIRK: Labour leader Helen Clark gave a strong ticking-off to party president Bob Harvey yesterday over his claim that the CIA was involved in the death of former Prime Minister Norman Kirk. The claim was dismissed as "a heap of crap" by former Labour deputy leader Bob Tizard, and as "bizarre and sad" by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.

PREBBLE ACCOMMODATION: The National Party is poised to give Act's Richard Prebble a free run in Wellington Central against Labour and the Alliance, with a final decision not to stand a candidate expected within 10 days. National yesterday announced it would not run against Peter Dunne in neighbouring Ohariu-Belmont, effectively guaranteeing the United leader will stay in Parliament as a potential coalition partner.

DEFENCE REPORT: Defence is escalating into a major election issue, as the Government yesterday rounded on advice that Labour might abandon frigates and F-16 fighter planes. Labour leader Helen Clark said that her party would not preserve a "frigate-based Navy" forever, preferring to consider multi-purpose vessels better suited to New Zealand's needs.

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