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New Zealand Herald

Legal Aid – Shipley Polls Top – East Tiimor: PM, Hamilton, Dili – Te Kaha – Treaty Editorial – Ansett Strike – Rambuka And Amnesty – Drugged Rape – INCIS – City Ambassadors – Drug Abuse – Web Success – Alliance Trap

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LEGAL AID: Lawyers believe battered women and others seeking family protection orders will be among victims of changes to the legal aid system announced yesterday. The head of the Law Society's family law section, Annis Somerville, of Dunedin, said the Government's 'slash-and-burn' cost-capping measures could be disastrous for victims of domestic violence and users of the Family Court.

SHIPLEY POLLS TOP: Jenny Shipley has vaulted ahead of Helen Clark as preferred prime minister, after a high-profile month on the international stage. A New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey found Mrs Shipley the preferred leader of 24.7 per cent of those polled, a 50 per cent rise on the 16 per cent she scored in the previous monthly poll. Labour leader Helen Clark was the first choice of 18.3 per cent, little changed on her 18.8 per cent backing in early September.

EAST TIMOR – PM: The Air Force will fly the Prime Minister to Darwin today to inspect New Zealand forces, against claims by Helen Clark that the visit is an expensive photo opportunity at taxpayers' expense. The Labour leader also suggested that Mrs Shipley changed her mind about going to the South Pacific Forum in Palau simply to have a reason to stop off in Darwin.

EAST TIMOR – HAMILTON: The haste with which 200 East Timorese refugees are being brought to Hamilton is showing in a lack of readiness in the city. Community and church groups were surprised by the Government's announcement on Friday night and Waikato University was stunned to discover an agreement was in place to use one of its former hostels.

EAST TIMOR – DILI: New Zealand will assume command of an international force of about 1000 troops as the peacemaking operation in East Timor moves through the province's devastated and depopulated western regions. Although Ottawa has yet to announce its final approval, a Canadian infantry company is likely to be attached to the New Zealand battalion that will arrive in Dili within three weeks.

TE KAHA: New Zealand's pioneer Anzac frigate Te Kaha is finally on its way to a sanctions patrol in the Gulf after a mechanical scare while leaving Singapore. The warship returned to port on Friday when a high-temperature alarm went off from a bearing supporting one of its two propeller shafts. However, it sailed later that day once crew members flushed away a build-up of oil.

TREATY - EDITORIAL: Act probably did not dwell long before deciding on a tough Maori issues policy, including a deadline of the end of next year on tribes wanting to lodge Treaty of Waitangi claims. All the impetus needed came from the party's showing in last year's Taranaki-King Country byelection. To increase its vote from 7 per cent in the 1996 general election to almost 25 per cent - trimming National's advantage to 988 votes in the process - says much about the power of populist policies. Act's solo championing of compensation for leaseholders of Maori land enticed Taranaki-King Country voters as much as the Government's closure of rural services repelled them.

ANSETT STRIKE: Pilots and Ansett New Zealand are locked in a no-win clash which could result in the end of the airline, industry sources said yesterday. "Whoever takes over will not be particularly interested in the pilots or the planes," one said.

RAMBUKA AND AMNESTY: The man who ended Fijian democracy at gunpoint 12 years ago found himself addressing human rights organisation Amnesty International last night in Auckland. The twist in the fortunes of former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka - who likened facing Amnesty to walking into a lion's den - followed praise for his help this year in brokering a peace deal in the Solomon Islands.

DRUGGED RAPE: A young woman was allegedly raped after her drink was spiked by the owner and barman of a West Auckland nightclub, a jury in the High Court at Auckland heard yesterday. In his opening address, prosecutor Brian Dickey, who appeared for the Crown with Wendy Andrews, said the pair had drugged the woman as part of a sexual "thrill-seeking exercise."

INCIS: Computer giant IBM and police have signed a new contract to resume work on the Incis computer project, sources say. It is understood that more than 10 IBM staff are now working on the project, the Dominion reported.

AMBASSADORS: Yesterday they were Auckland's unemployed, today they are Auckland's ambassadors - employed to put a warm face on a sometimes cold city. Fifteen people - long-term unemployed, mothers returning to the workforce, recent immigrants - will walk central-city streets daily from 8 am today for a six-month trial as street ambassadors.

DRUG ABUSE: Government spending on treating people addicted to alcohol and other drugs needs to be increased by more than half to plug gaps in public health services. Health officials say in a report to Government ministers that there are "service gaps" that would cost $29.4 million a year to fill, a figure which excludes the treatment of youths and those in the criminal justice system. The Government spends

WEB SUCCESS: When Frank van der Velden, Steve Shearman and Ian Harris formed their Internet company in Mr Harris' bedroom office four years ago, they hoped they would strike it rich. Two of them have: Mr van der Velden and Mr Shearman have sold their firm, Webmasters, to Advantage Group for $8 million in a deal that creates one of the nation's biggest Web-page designers.

ALLIANCE TRAP: Right-wing election candidates are crying foul at being drawn into what they have discovered is an Alliance fundraising event. The fate of "The Great Debate - is Left Right?" to be held at Auckland Girls' Grammar School on Friday was in doubt last night, with Act and National candidates vowing not to help to swell Alliance coffers and Labour being non-committal.

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