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New Zealand Herald

Incis – Piha Tragedy – Payne Stewart – Car Crash – Fraud – America’s Cup Payout – Eating Disorders – Food Poisoning – Alliance Vs Greens – Sexual Harassment – Leaders Debate – Editorial: Coromandel

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INCIS: A special inquiry will be held into the debacle of the $107 million Incis police computer system - with the role of Police Commissioner Peter Doone again under scrutiny. As the Government tries to unravel the failure of Incis and establish who is to blame, frontline police and the public are unlikely to benefit from any new crime-fighting technology until well into next year at the earliest.

PIHA TRAGEDY: The promise of employment and a haven from crime lured Peter Mavakla and Michael Valcarcel from South Africa to New Zealand. Settling in Papakura, South Auckland, just a few streets from each other, the men, wives Hilda and Debbie and their children strengthened the friendships that began nearly a decade earlier in Cape Town.

PAYNE STEWART: At 40,000 feet in the cruel, thin air of the stratosphere above the United States, Payne Stewart and his crew would never have known what was killing them. As investigators try to unravel why the champion golfer's Learjet 35 depressurised, they only know the six men would have died from hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).

CAR CRASH: Bruce Glover is wondering how much bad luck one person can suffer in four months. The 20-year-old cheated death in July but suffered broken arms and a smashed knee, elbow and shoulder when a drunken driver smashed into his car on the Victoria Park motorway flyover in Auckland after fleeing a police checkpoint.

PIHA TRAGEDY: Kevin Keane loves Piha with a passion, but the lifeguard knows its treacherous surf can turn killer in a heartbeat. The 34-year veteran of the United North Piha Lifeguard Service is devastated that he and his colleagues could do nothing for two men who drowned at the beach on Labour Day.

FRAUD: A former Citibank executive who it is claimed fell for a Nigerian investment scam will stand trial for allegedly defrauding his friends of millions to sink into the scheme. Graeme Kenneth Rutherford, aged 56, now retired, pleaded not guilty to 21 fraud charges, a forgery charge and theft at a depositions hearing before two JPs in the Auckland District Court.

AMERICA’S CUP PAYOUT: The former chief executive of the publicly owned America's Cup Village Ltd, Rob Sutherland, received a $320,000 settlement of Aucklanders' money when his job with the company ended in May. Details of the settlement are revealed in the annual report of Infrastructure Auckland, the successor to the Auckland Regional Services Trust, responsible for funding the city's transport and drainage

EATING DISORDERS: Auckland teenagers at high risk of developing eating disorders are missing out on vital help. The waiting time at Auckland Healthcare's eating disorders clinic is six weeks for teenagers with all but the most severe symptoms, and staff say a lack of funding means the situation is getting worse.

FOOD POISONING: Two diners were taken to hospital from a downtown Auckland restaurant after eating tuna that was apparently contaminated. Public health officials investigating the outbreak of scombroid poisoning are focusing on the tuna importer, New Zealand Wholesale Seafoods. They say the restaurant is blameless.

ALLIANCE VS GREENS: Relationships between the Green Party and its former Alliance allies have hit a new low, raising tensions within a possible centre-left government before the real election campaign has started. Green co-leader Rod Donald yesterday described Jim Anderton as petulant, after the Alliance leader questioned the Greens' loyalty and stability.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT: An Air Force sergeant who allegedly stuck his tongue down a female colleague's throat faces 12 charges of sexual and other misconduct after complaints by five servicewomen. The sergeant, who has interim suppression of his name and service occupation, denied all charges at a court martial, which opened yesterday at the Hobsonville Air Base.

LEADERS DEBATE: The first televised leaders' debate of the election screens tonight, amid accusations that the Prime Minister is chickening out of a fully-fledged public debate later in the campaign. The TV3 debate (9.30 pm) is the first face-to-face contest of the campaign involving leaders of Act, the Alliance, Labour, National and New Zealand First - the five parties polling above the 5 per cent threshold.

EDITORIAL – COROMANDEL: In mid-year, Helen Clark was adamant that the Labour Party would not help the Greens in their most fertile oasis, the Coromandel electorate. It was not clear why such assistance should even be considered, she pronounced, confirming that Labour would field a candidate. That, however, was before a string of recent polls revealed a drastic narrowing of the centre-left's lead. And before the Greens, boosted by the genetic engineering debate, staged a mini-resurgence. They now attract abut 3 per cent support, sufficient to net three or four seats if they win Coromandel. And the race for that electorate has developed into a neck-and-neck tussle between Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and the sitting National MP. In such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Helen Clark now signals that Labour supporters should cast their constituency vote for Jeanette Fitzsimons. Those Green seats could yet be the buffer that allows the centre-left to govern without having to rely on New Zealand First.

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