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New Zealand Herald

Ansett Strike Over - America’s Cup – Sweat Shop – Election Campaigning – Bradford’s Security – Labour And Booking System – Timberlands – Dirty Tricks – New Drug – Jailhouse Computing – Dairy Editorial

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ANSETT STRIKE OVER: Locked-out Ansett New Zealand pilots have capitulated in their contract battle after learning that 20 outsiders were being signed up to take their jobs. The pilots' union agreed yesterday to accept the exact offer it had resisted for months in a dispute which has cost the loss-making airline millions and disrupted flights nationwide.

AMERICA’S CUP: Thirty months after a sledgehammer caved in the America's Cup, the man responsible for its protection admits to feeling nervous about taking it out in public. The Auld Mug, sparkling after a recent polish, will lead a parade down Queen St today to launch more than four months of cup racing.

SWEAT SHOP: Police last night freed seven Thai woman allegedly being forced to work under slave labour conditions in a West Auckland factory. Acting Inspector Paul Bartle said the employer had apparently kept their passports when they arrived in the country and forced them to work 13-hour days for $570 a month.

ELECTION CAMPAIGNING: The election campaign proper will start in earnest in two weeks with National and Labour going head-to-head with formal campaign launches on the same Sunday afternoon. Auckland's status as the key political market for votes in this election was underlined yesterday when National became the fifth party to announce it will launch its nationwide campaign in the City of Sails.

BRADFORD’S SECURITY: The diplomatic protection squad was not looking after Tertiary Education Minister Max Bradford when he clashed with a student at Canterbury University. Gavin Barron, a political science student, has laid an assault complaint with police, alleging that Mr Bradford grabbed him by the throat and pushed him backwards.

LABOUR AND BOOKING SYSTEM: Labour intends to scrap the controversial booking system for hospital surgery, according to draft policy papers leaked by the Government yesterday. The papers indicate that a key plank of the Labour health policy, due to be announced next week, is to scrap the system, which provoked widespread criticism after its introduction during this term of the National Government.

TIMBERLANDS: National ambushed Labour's green policy release yesterday by revealing secret deals for Timberlands West Coast to log beech trees for eight years. Labour promised to honour existing logging contracts of the state-owned enterprise when it announced its controversial policy to end native forest logging on Crown land.

DIRTY TRICKS: Labour leader Helen Clark yesterday accused National of a "dirty tricks campaign" over approaches to a Clark impersonator for a political advertisement. But despite threatening an official complaint, she might have difficulty proving a breach of conduct if National runs a Clark lookalike in an ad.

NEW DRUG: Police are powerless to stop a deadly new designer drug on the dance scene. The Wellington drug squad has seized what is believed to be the country's first vial of Fantasy, and informants have warned police that the capital has been flooded with litres of the drug.

JAILHOUSE COMPUTING: Police experts will search computers seized from jailed paedophiles to confirm whether they have used the machines to view child pornography in their cells. The computers, confiscated from two medium-security cellblocks at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo, are due to be examined today after a "strictly confidential" memorandum from an anonymous "member of the Department of Corrections staff" to the jail's regional manager, Bret Bestic.

DAIRY EDITORIAL: Export subsidies are one of the crueller forms of cheating in international trade. Import barriers can at least be made transparent and they distort only the domestic market they are designed to protect. But when a country subsidises its own exporters it can undermine the prices needed by efficient producers in all world markets. That is especially true of markets for the likes of dairy products, which are exported from few countries and subsidies by one of them can seriously injure the rest.

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