Legal Aid – Stagecoach Strike – East Timor: Refugees, Army Pay – Family Budgets – Tomorrows Schools Editorial – Drugs – America’s Cup – Bail Bill – Births – SOE Payout – Split Enz Concert
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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.
STAGECOACH STRIKE: Thousands of Auckland
commuters were left stranded last night during a wildcat
strike by up to 300 bus drivers - and more disruption is
likely this week.
The night-long walkout from 3 pm caused chaos for schoolchildren and commuters as the drivers rejected the latest contract offer from their employer, Stagecoach.
EAST TIMOR – REFUGEES: The 300 East Timorese
refugees approved to take temporary sanctuary in New Zealand
may not arrive because Indonesia wants them to renounce
Indonesian citizenship, leaving them stateless.
The Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, is spending this morning in Darwin, Australia.
She will visit New Zealand armed forces personnel using Darwin as a staging point, and expects to visit a refugee camp, where she will be briefed on negotiations between Indonesia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees on conditions for releasing the refugees.
EAST TIMOR – ARMY PAY: New Zealand troops,
including those in East Timor, have had a cap imposed on
life insurance, but the Defence Force insists that any
bereaved families will be well provided for.
The force has decided to put a ceiling of $200,000 on an underwriting liability it accepts for private life policies that might fall foul of insurance company exclusion clauses for active military service.
Cables to troops and naval crews involved in the Timor force have also advised them that mortgage insurance repayments will be capped at a maximum of $150,000.
FAMILY BUDGETS: Mobile shops peddling goods
into homes have been accused of pushing poor people into
The Federation of Family Budgeting Services has attacked home shopping retailers for targeting low-income families - particularly beneficiaries - with the temptation of easy credit.
TOMORROWS SCHOOLS EDITORIAL: There is not
much new that a nine-year-old Government can credibly
suggest, but National's education minister has one or two
ideas that sound like logical and timely next steps in the
self-management of schools. As noted here on Monday, they
maintain their primary focus on pupils, and with them in
mind, improvements in school administration deserve closer
Anybody who has served on a school board of trustees knows the limitations of the autonomy conferred by Tomorrow's Schools 10 years ago. That reform was a radical improvement on the previous system under which schools could barely buy a paper clip without approval in triplicate from a district education board. The new school boards had more freedom to spend their grants for equipment and when a principal retired they could choose the replacement. Beyond that, there was more rhetoric than substance to Tomorrow's Schools.
DRUGS: "Mary" has reservations about the
methadone treatment programme but says it helped her off
illegal drugs and it should get more money to help others
The Auckland woman's comments follow a Government report saying state spending on drug and alcohol treatment needs to be increased by more than half.
AMERICAS CUP: Oscar is chief of security at the Hawaiian
America's Cup compound on the Auckland waterfront. But he
was once a mangy, starving mongrel rescued from a rubbish
Today the dog from Oahu is a sailing star, helping out as 17th mammal on board the Abracadabra 2000 boat.
BAIL BILL: The Government has given up on its plans to
tighten bail laws before the election.
Four months ago National introduced the Bail Bill, which would have denied bail to about 1500 hard-core offenders each year.
Women giving birth for the first time need to be targeted if
a rising tide of inductions and caesarean sections is to
drop, says a specialist obstetrician.
The Ministry of Health released a report this week confirming a marked increase in the number of interventions during birth.
PAYOUT: The head of the country's largest state-owned
enterprise received a special payout of around $500,000 when
he quit after it was broken up into three new companies.
Electricity Corporation chief executive Dave Frow received an amount estimated at $1.3 million for his last 11 months in the job, including the severance package he left with in May.
SPLIT ENZ CONCERT: Split Enz will play for
3000 people on New Year's Eve, but thousands of others
seeing in the new millennium at pubs and restaurants around
the Viaduct Basin are likely to hear it for free.
Security around the Waitemata Plaza will be tight and only those who pay the $69.50 ticket price will be able to see the reunited Kiwi band singing old hits such as Six Months in a Leaky Boat and I See Red.