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The National Business Review – October 22

Poll: Kingmaker Returns – Poll Analysis Major Parties Slip – Cocaine Accused Gets Bail – Medical Scam Nets $5m – Editorial: End Treaty Litigation

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is again set to decide the makeup of the new government after November 27. The latest National Business Review-Compaq poll gives his party 7%, or about nine seats. Labour (36%), down four points in three weeks, would have 46-48 seats and National (32%) 41-43. Even with nine seats from Alliance (7%), a centre-left coalition would be short of an absolute majority. Other poll standings: Act 8%, Greens 3.6%.

Political analyst Jeff Gamlin writes: On the face of it, the past six weeks has been National’s best spell this parliamentary term, but support of just 32% indicates it has not managed to cash in on any feel-good factor; for only the second time over the past two and a half years Labour has dropped below 40%, raising questions about the firmness of its vote; and the minor party vote is on the way up again after earlier this term being seen as a cause of political instability.

A Winston Peters’ business associate, who is facing cocaine importing charges, made legal history by getting bail on his fifth attempt. But the reasons were suppressed by rookie High Court judge Robert Chambers after he learned The National Business Review was planning a story. The applicant, whose name was suppressed, is a drinking buddy of the New Zealand First leader and also solicited Mr Peters’ support for an international sporting event.

The Health Funding Authority paid $5.5 million to subsidise the cost of asthma flow meters, pregnancy test kits and IUDs that didn’t exist. Payment was made over more than four years by wholly-owned HFA subsidiary Health Benefits to a well known drug wholesaler that allegedly falsified subsidy claims with coloured ballpoints. Details emerged after five representatives of the drug wholesaler appeared in court in Auckland and Porirua on a total of 191 fraud charges.

Continual litigation over Treaty of Waitangi issues has reinforced one point: Treaty complaints require a political solution, they cannot be settled in the courts. Valid complaints about the Crown’s failure to honour land purchase promises have been used to build a sand castle of less valid claims, particularly claims to fauna, flora and electromagnetic waves.

For further information: Nevil Gibson, Editor-in-Chief Ph 0-9-307 1629 or email

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