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New Zealand Herald

Shipley On Bendon – Britomart – All Black Ads – Migrant Doctors – Miracle – Inhalers And The Environment – TB – Ansett – Precious – New Timber Plant – Tax Cuts – Employers – Under Six Health Care – Minimum Wage – Editorial: Uni Fees.

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SHIPLEY ON BENDON: Prime Minister Jenny Shipley has come under fire over claims that an Auckland firm will take on workers laid off by the Bendon factory closure in Te Aroha. Mrs Shipley has cited International Lingerie owner Ted Sweeney twice during televised leaders' debates as offering jobs for Bendon workers in an effort to rebut criticism of Government economic policies.

BRITOMART: Auckland City has taken a bold step and torn up the Britomart contract without fully knowing the financial implications of abandoning the $164 million downtown project. After months of hardball negotiations with its development partners, councillors yesterday voted 15-1 to terminate the contract and start from scratch to build a smaller, more user-friendly public transport centre in central Auckland.

ALL BLACK ADS: All Black hopes of Rugby World Cup victory have disappeared - and so have the ads. Companies which placed their advertising dollar behind the team and saturated television and newspapers with campaigns showing their commitment during the cup are re-evaluating or pulling back support.

MIGRANT DOCTORS: The Government hopes to solve doctor shortages in rural areas by recruiting overseas doctors whose qualifications the Medical Council has refused to recognise. A $4.9 million package announced yesterday aims to give immigrant doctors training and registration in return for their accepting remote GP postings shunned by New Zealanders. It comes a year after the Government admitted its

MIRACLE: Jake Olds might have taken his first steps a little later than most, but the joy on his face showed the wait was almost worth it. The 4-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, took his first determined steps yesterday without his mother Nicola holding him, thanks to a British-designed walking aid.

INHALERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Atmospheric scientists say CFC-based asthma inhalers are New Zealand's leading cause of damage to the ozone layer. A scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), Dr Thomas Clarkson, calculated that inhalers containing CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) made up about 63 per cent of New Zealand's contribution to global ozone depletion through 1997-98.

TB: Tuberculosis is rising sharply among immigrants and overseas visitors to New Zealand, according to a group of doctors who say the Government is failing to deal with the problem. About 350 new cases of tuberculosis are reported to authorities annually in New Zealand. In 1997, more than two-thirds involved foreign-born people, up from half in 1993.

ANSETT: Ansett New Zealand is considering making 50 pilots redundant under their new contract. Ansett added flights to its reduced schedule yesterday for the first time in two months. PRECIOUS: Precious McKenzie's insatiable desire for world powerlifting records has him on the road again. The sprightly 63-year-old, already the holder of five world marks, leaves tonight for the world championships in Oregon after a year preparing for a hoped-for sixth.

NEW TIMBER PLANT: Construction of a multimillion-dollar timber processing plant near Marsden Pt is expected to be approved by Carter Holt Harvey tomorrow. The plant will bring new employment opportunities to an area which has lost hundreds of jobs in the past 12 months.

TAX CUTS: Labour has gone on the offensive on tax, claiming National's plan to cut the top rates by 3c in the dollar to 30c and boost social spending by an equivalent amount would risk a return to deficits and "fiscal meltdown." But Treasurer Bill English, who has abandoned his previous caution and come into line with Prime Minister Jenny Shipley on the issue, said the tax cuts, his dollar-for-dollar commitment to match cuts with extra social spending, and surpluses, were all achievable.

EMPLOYERS: Employers are being urged by their federation to use the election campaign to promote the benefits of the Employment Contracts Act in the workplace. A poster campaign involving 12,500 companies claims the majority of workers do not want a law change which would reduce individual choice and force people to join strikes.

UNDER SIX HEALTH CARE: Act wants to scrap free doctors' visits for all children under 6, which it describes as "free healthcare for the children of millionaires." Act leader Richard Prebble says the universal free visits have been a failure.

MINIMUM WAGE: Increasing the minimum wage by 50c would create jobs, not destroy them, says Alliance leader Jim Anderton. Mr Anderton was campaigning in Glenfield yesterday, speaking to community and social workers before addressing a meeting of union members.

EDITORIAL – UNI FEES: Auckland University's announcement of next year's tuition fees is certain to rekindle an issue that has already flared brightly in the pre-election season. An average 11 per cent increase, attributable to the Government's refusal to increase its contribution as student numbers grow, is typical of increases imposed or contemplated in most of the country's universities. It should not be overlooked in election debates, though, that large numbers of young people receive career qualifications from private tertiary institutions and commonly pay twice as much as the $3500-$4500 that most Auckland University courses will charge students next year. Compared to the investment that budding designers, technicians and others in the private sector are obliged to make, the fees facing those protesting at universities last month are modest. Any lightening of loan terms must be available to those in private institutions too.

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