East Timor Peacekeepers – Clinton Anzus, Climate and Editorial – Ansett Lockout – China Protests – Airport Shares – Maori Warden – One Tree Hill – Northland Prison
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EAST TIMOR - PEACEKEEPERS: New Zealand troops could be on the ground in East Timor by the weekend facing what Prime Minister Jenny Shipley calls 'potentially the most dangerous regional conflict in a generation.' A special cabinet meeting today will consider New Zealand's contribution to an Australian-led peacemaking force, and is expected to cut the 14-day standby period to a few days.
CLINTON – ANZUS: New
Zealand has secured a major breakthrough in repairing
defence ties with Washington, with President Clinton
agreeing to resume military exercises on a "case-by-case"
The first opportunity will come in days, with the President saying that United States, Australian and New Zealand personnel will exercise with troops from other Southeast Asian countries in readiness for the dangerous peacekeeping mission in East Timor.
CLINTON – CLIMATE:
United States President Bill Clinton yesterday called for
urgent international action on climate change, backing his
plea with the release of spy satellite images of Antarctica.
He said the pictures from the early 1970s and 1980s would help scientists to chart changes linked to greenhouse gases and global warming.
CLINTON – EDITORIAL: It is not often that a state visit makes more impact than was anticipated. President Clinton's visit has certainly exceeded its billing. In that achievement it was helped, no doubt, by sharing the billboard with the most powerful international gathering ever assembled in New Zealand. At any other time, preparations for only the second presidential visit would have attracted intense interest and controversy over the implications for the military relationship.
ANSETT LOCKOUT: The legal victory giving
Ansett New Zealand the right to lock out its pilots from
early today forced a rash of calls to booked passengers last
Ansett staff worked through the night to track passengers and tell them how yesterday's Employment Court decision would affect their plans.
ANSETT LOCKOUT: Ansett
New Zealand was last night slashing its flight schedule
after winning the legal fight to lock out 125 pilots from 4
But the victory comes at a cost, with the airline warning passengers that the lockout - the latest chapter in a bitter industrial dispute over a new pilots' contract - would cause "a very reduced schedule for the foreseeable future."
CHINA – PROTESTS: Police and the
Government began damage control yesterday to dilute
embarrassment over their handling of crackdowns on Free
Tibet protesters targeting Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
The Prime Minister's office denied that an order was given to police to remove a group of noisy Free Tibet protesters so Mr Jiang could attend a state banquet in Christchurch on Tuesday night.
CHINA – PROTESTS: Efforts
to shield China's President from protesters reached absurd
heights yesterday when the police ordered a 10-tonne bus to
hide a schoolboy and a couple of mates holding placards.
The security kerfuffle followed a rowdy protest in Christchurch on Tuesday that led President Jiang Zemin to threaten not to turn up to a state dinner. After tense negotiations then involving the Prime Minister's office, police moved demonstrators and ordered buses and patrol-car sirens to shield the President's eyes and ears before he eventually arrived 90 minutes late.
AIRPORT SHARES: North
Shore's city council is banking on a $90 million Christmas
present by selling its Auckland Airport shares within three
The council has decided it will not wait any longer for Auckland City to make up its mind about selling and is now looking to offload its 7.1 per cent holding in the airport as quickly as it can.
MAORI WARDEN: The
coordinator of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Maori wardens says
Work and Income has given him five weeks to get a "real" job
before his benefit is cut.
But John Hillman thought he had a job - one he has worked at 25 hours a week for 10 years, as coordinator of the Eastern Bay-Waimana Maori wardens.
ONE TREE HILL: The historic pine on One Tree
Hill has been given three years to live.
The Mayor of Auckland, Christine Fletcher, said yesterday that reports from tree specialists confirmed that Tuesday's chainsaw attack had lopped five to seven years off the pine's life expectancy, already shortened by an earlier attack by Maori activist Mike Smith.
NORTHLAND PRISON: Concerns that the
proposed regional prison site at Ngawha could be tapu are
emerging among Maori, who say blood was once spilled on the
land during battles.
The Minister of Corrections, Clem Simich, this week confirmed he had chosen the 30ha site, 7km north-east of Kaikohe, for a new prison which was expected to hold mainly Maori inmates.