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New Zealand Herald

Leaders Debate – Ice Cream – Piha – Americas Cup – Customs and Superrich – Maori and Immigration – Pedestrian Accident – Booking System – Tame Iti and Delamere – Upton on ACT - Youth Self-Esteem – Editorial: Republicanism

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LEADERS DEBATE: The two women vying to be Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark, failed to score a political king-hit in the first of the televised leaders' debates last night. In a nervy but good-humoured contest on TV3, the three male leaders - Jim Anderton, Richard Prebble and Winston Peters - hogged the limelight, prompting presenter John Campbell to accuse Mr Peters of acting like a fourth former.

ICE CREAM: A tiny New Zealand dairy company has joined an international food giant to give Australians and Asians a multimillion-dollar taste of Kiwi-made ice cream. Southern Fresh Milk, owned by just 22 dairy farmers, has signed a $60 million contract with Swiss company Movenpick to manufacture and export the brand.

PIHA: Surf lifesaving officials will use the "preventable" drownings of three immigrants at Piha over Labour Weekend as a launchpad for a campaign to have beach patrols recognised as an essential service. Police have also stepped into the fray, accepting they have a role to play in public safety at beaches. They have organised a meeting to discuss ways to prevent further tragedies. And the Waitakere City Council pledged yesterday to beef up warning signs at Piha within a week.

AMERICAS CUP: As far as America's Cup history goes, it was even more bizarre than the day OneAustralia sank off San Diego. Six of the eight races were walkovers on the penultimate day of the challengers' first round yesterday - two boats never left the dock, one turned up 30 minutes late and two others retired injured. Five boats sailed around the course alone.

CUSTOMS AND SUPERRICH: A crack Customs Service squad has been assembled to rummage through the personal belongings of the world's richest boatowners. Sierra team, based on a new floating barge near the Admiralty Steps at Queens Wharf, has been assigned the job of welcoming and inspecting the superyachts arriving for the America's Cup.

MAORI & IMMIGRATION: A Maori group offering Pacific Islanders tangata whenua status has called off a mass citizenship ceremony at Waitangi after failing to get support from Ngapuhi elders. A delegation of Pacific Island community leaders from Auckland, led by Labour list MP Taito Phillip Field, met Ngapuhi elders at Waitangi Marae yesterday to express their concerns over the scheme.

PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT: Brendan Schollum did not see Aveline France McKinley when he struck her down on a pedestrian crossing in Auckland last month. He was travelling at only 30 km/h and the sun had blinded him for only an instant, but that was fast enough and long enough to send 83-year-old Mrs McKinley tumbling to her death on the morning of September 15.

BOOKING SYSTEM: The controversial booking system for non-urgent surgery has won qualified approval from an American academic. Professor Ichiro Kawachi, of the Harvard University School of Public Health, says in a report that the potential benefits of the booking system, introduced in July last year, outweigh its risks.

TAME ITI AND DELAMERE: Immigration Minister Tuariki Delamere is trying to get re-elected and to put Tuhoe artist and restaurateur Tame Iti into Parliament by means of a deal between three small parties. It involves Mr Iti standing in Auckland Central to boost the profile and party vote of the Mana Maori Movement.

UPTON ON ACT: Cabinet minister Simon Upton has rounded on National's resurgent centre-right ally Act for not being more open about its plans to cut Government spending. "Act should be leaping to inform voters that there will be no room for new drugs or shorter public hospital waiting lists," he said.

YOUTH SELF-ESTEEM: Low self-esteem and depression are plaguing our teenagers and blighting their futures. By the age of 18 about one in four young people will have experienced a significant bout of depression, but most will not be treated, says Auckland Medical School child psychiatrist Dr Sally Merry.

EDITORIAL – REPUBLICANISM: Battles over the role of the monarchy inevitably carry strongly anachronistic overtones. The title of monarch carries none of its former power and the questions it once raised are largely irrelevant. Perhaps that is why more than half of those Australians questioned in a recent poll said that their country becoming a republic by 2001 was not important. Rather than dwell on the symbolic, they would doubtless prefer that Australia focused on jobs, education and health. Not for them the passion of those who see Australia's republic referendum on November 6 as a defining moment in the country's search for identity and true independence.

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