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Shock Loss – Christian Heritage – tax Cuts –Boy Burnt – Halloween Nightmare – Auckland Uni Fees – WINZ – Mt Cook Floods – Sports Success – CTU – Mt Eden – Leaders Debate – Alamein – Brownless Assault – Editorial: Leaders

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SHOCK LOSS: John Hart apologised to New Zealand fans and said his All Black team was suffering the biggest disappointment he had ever seen. But his counterpart, Pierre Villepreux, was the one close to tears, relying on one word - 'Bravo' - to salute the biggest triumph any rugby side could have imagined.

SHOCK LOSS: As anyone who has been involved in a road accident will tell you, everything seems to happen in slow motion. And so it was about 5 am yesterday. The All Blacks were 14 points ahead of the French. Despite not looking as polished as in their only real challenge at the World Cup so far, against England, all they had to do was let the French keep giving away penalties and then work the ball to Jonah.

SHOCK LOSS: Tau Henare has the most original theory on why the All Blacks lost so badly to France in their World Cup semifinal. "You can put it down to something as simple as the anthem not being sung in Maori," said the Mauri Pacific leader.

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE: Rating less than 1 per cent in opinion polls, the Christian Heritage Party has launched its election campaign admitting it may need a miracle to become a force in the next Parliament. Its only MP is Frank Grover, who this year defected from the Alliance to join Christian Heritage.

TAX CUTS: National attacked the credibility of Labour's spending plans yesterday, but at the same time exposed cracks between Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and Treasurer Bill English over its own tax-cut proposals. At a Beehive news conference on the first day of the campaign proper, Mrs Shipley said National in the next three years could afford a 3c cut to the 33c personal tax and corporate tax rates at a combined cost of $800 million.

BOY BURNT: Two welfare agencies made separate checks on a Coromandel house in the days before an incident in which a 10-year-old foster child was burned by petrol. The Minister of Social Services, Roger Sowry, confirmed there had been two calls at the home - one just the day beforehand - but said neither agency had reported seeing anything to cause alarm.

HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE: An evening of trick-or-treating for Hallowe'en became a nightmare for two young Whangaparaoa sisters when they were robbed of their stash of lollies at knifepoint. Lorraine Davis, aged 9, and her sister Joanne, 7, were accosted on Sunday by two boys who threatened them with a 20cm-long knife and demanded they hand over their evening's takings. Police believe they know the identity of the boys, believed to be aged around 11 or 12, and

AUCKLAND UNI FEES: Auckland University students face tuition fees of $3360 to $9646 next year - an average 11 per cent increase. The university and students' associations blame inadequate Government funding for the proposed increases, which vice-chancellor Dr John Hood said were imposed reluctantly.

WINZ: An Auckland beneficiary has given up work after six months without pay because of an employment wrangle with Work and Income New Zealand (Winz). Scott Ka, a domestic purposes beneficiary since 1992, started work at the Falcon Spares wreckers' yard in Panmure in May under a Winz subsidised employment scheme on the understanding that he would earn $160 a week.

MT COOK FLOODS: Busloads of visitors were evacuated and the road to Mt Cook was closed yesterday as rivers overflowed their banks. Sergeant Noel Brown of Fairlie said that more than 200mm of rain had fallen in Mt Cook Village between 9 pm on Sunday and mid-afternoon.

SPORTS SUCCESS: A network of high-performance centres will be developed to help athletes and sports teams achieve international success. As the nation mourns the All Blacks' shock demise at the Rugby World Cup, the New Zealand Sports Foundation is calling for experts to help our athletes achieve and sustain world-class performance.

CTU: Ken Douglas bowed out of the trade union movement yesterday with his fist raised defiantly above his head. Despite the stream of gushing tributes given to the Council of Trade Unions' retiring president yesterday afternoon, there was to be no slipping quietly and tearfully through the exit as the biennial conference wound down.

MT EDEN: Immigration authorities say they will turn down the refugee claims of 18 hunger-strikers in Mt Eden Prison if they refuse to be interviewed. But human-rights activists and a lawyer representing 10 of the men say the asylum-seekers are too ill to be able to put their case fairly.

LEADERS DEBATE: Helen Clark stopped smiling. Jenny Shipley, too, forgot her coaching in the Holmes television debate last night, and those hand gestures subsided somewhat. Score it for her, with some help from the host. Paul Holmes came armed with some awkward facts for the front-runners, Labour and the Alliance.

LEADERS DEBATE: Residents of the West Auckland suburban neighbourhood that correctly called the last election result turned their sights on the televised leaders' debate last night. The New Zealand Herald is following the deliberations of the Vardon Rd, Green Bay, neighbourhood throughout the election campaign. Here is their view of how the five leaders performed in the Holmes debate: Dave Thomas, aged 49: "I think you can summarise it this way: National will give us more of the same; Labour could make good changes but will put taxes up; Act's tax policy does not seem sustainable; the Alliance may be able to work with Labour; and New Zealand First could cause bedlam - they've got some good ideas, but can we trust them?

ALAMEIN: Alamein Kopu's Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata Party has thrown away eight minutes of free television and radio time available to sell its message to voters. The party was given four minutes on TV One on Saturday for an election opening address but was unable to meet the Friday deadline to get a taped broadcast to Television New Zealand.

BROWNLEE ASSAULT: Police are investigating an assault complaint against National MP Gerry Brownlee after the weekend's rowdy National election campaign launch. Neil Abel laid a complaint of assault against the Ilam MP and junior Government whip after being ejected from the ticket-only campaign launch at Eden Park.

EDITORAL- LEADERS: It is a commentary on the present crop of political leaders that a few persistent hecklers can command attention at National's rally and the pre-match entertainment for Labour and NZ First can feature in the reviews. There was a time, before television, when hecklers were meat and drink to a confident hustings performer. These days, fear of unscripted footage can drive the life out of election campaigns. Let's hope a few more challenging voices will enliven public meetings in the weeks ahead. This is an election of unusually familiar faces. Among the five out front, only one has not led a party campaign before and she is Prime Minister. Yet familiarity need not be fatal to anybody's performance. Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark share one obvious advantage when it comes to commanding the country's attention. Never before have we seen women lead both major parties to an election.


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