Green Surge In Poll – Brierley AGM – Teenage DNA Sampling – NZ First Tax Problem –Waimana Floods – TV Complaint – Business And Politics – East Timor – Bashing – Gay Clergy – Liam Holloway – US Ambassador – Guns – Stagecoach Strike – New Spectator Frigate – Lonely Campaigner – Editorial Where’s The Money Coming From?
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GREEN SURGE IN POLL: A surge in the Green vote could yet rescue Labour from having to rely on New Zealand First to govern, as support for the two major parties continues to slide in the latest New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey. Two weeks from polling day, the election remains neck-and-neck with Labour still only slightly ahead of National. Labour's support has dipped from 35.2 per cent to 33.4 per cent in the past week, confirming its slump in recent Herald polls. National is not faring any better, falling from 33.6 per cent to 31.7 per cent. In contrast, the Greens have jumped from 2.9 per cent to 4.6 per cent, marginally short of the 5 per cent threshold to win parliamentary seats. …The Herald poll, now conducted weekly in the run-up to the election, shows Act picking up one point to 10.5 per cent. The Alliance has slipped slightly to 7.8 per cent. NZ First is up one point to 6.5 per cent, although ructions over the effective dumping of the party's two women MPs erupted during the survey period. Christian Heritage has also climbed into possible contention, rising from negligible support to 2.8 per cent.
BRIERLEY AGM: The irony may have eluded whoever picked the date for the annual general meeting of Brierley Investments Ltd, but the meeting had just started when it was pointed out. It was a minute or two before the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month when the officers of BIL filed on to the stage of the Aotea Centre for the 38th AGM, and the last to be held on New Zealand soil. The connection with Remembrance Day - with the very hour that brought the end of the Great War - was underlined by a man who rose to a point of order wearing a Tommy's steel helmet.
TEENAGE DNA SAMPLING: Moves to give police the power to seek compulsory DNA samples from burglary suspects will boost the chances of obtaining convictions, but is not a "silver bullet," officers say. The National Party announced yesterday that it would change the law so investigators could seek a High Court order forcing a suspect to provide a blood sample for comparison with evidence found at the scene of a breakin.
NZ FIRST TAX PROBLEM: NZ First's top woman candidate at this election, Suzanne Bruce, faces 13 charges of filing false GST returns involving a total of $20,700. Suzanne Bruce, whose seventh ranking on the party list makes her a near certainty to become an MP, is expected to appear in the Palmerston North District Court shortly after the election. The New Zealand Herald obtained details of the charges from the court yesterday.
WAIMANA FLOODS: Tony Walsh thought his worst nightmare had returned to haunt him when he awoke yesterday to find the Waimana River threatening to burst its banks. The farmer from the small Bay of Plenty town of Waimana, 28km south-east of Whakatane, was one of the worst-hit during a "once in 50 years" flood in July last year.
TV COMPLAINT: Parts of Labour's opening election broadcast have been ruled untruthful and inaccurate by TVNZ after a complaint from National Party cabinet minister Roger Sowry. In the 12-minute programme, screened two weeks ago, Labour leader Helen Clark interviewed two state housing tenants who pleaded poverty under Government policies.
BUSINESS AND POLITICS: Politicians are wooing business this election, but a sceptical business community had little fire for their suitors in yesterday's Business Crossfire Debate in Auckland. Around 300 corporates were as decorous as their surroundings as they listened politely to Jim Anderton, Rodney Hide, Michael Cullen, Bill English and Winston Peters slug it out over the state of the economy.
EAST TIMOR: Homesick soldiers in East Timor are months behind their families' news - because their mail was apparently sent to Japan by mistake. Army top brass, after receiving a sackful of complaints, are trying to establish why the troops did not get mail from their loved ones.
BASHING: A policeman appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday facing allegations that he bashed a suspect after a car chase. He is charged with assault with a blunt instrument, common assault and assault with a weapon.
GAY CLERGY: Methodists have again put off a decision on gay clergy. The Church president, the Rev David Bush, said the Methodist Conference in Auckland over the past three days had been unable to reach a consensus on establishing a separate synod for evangelicals who were opposed to the ordination of practising homosexuals.
LIAM HOLLOWAY: Liam Williams-Holloway, the Hawea boy with cancer whose parents took him into hiding, is in Mexico for treatment after the return of a malignant tumour on his jaw. His mother, Trena Williams, said on TVNZ's Holmes show last night that the 4-year-old's cancer was as bad as it had been a year ago.
US AMBASSADOR: The US Senate has overwhelmingly confirmed Carol Moseley-Braun as American Ambassador to New Zealand, despite fierce opposition from Republican Jesse Helms. Senator Helms, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said her nomination was tainted by "an ethical cloud."
GUNS: Gunsmiths are warning women living alone not to buy air pistols for protection against intruders. Christchurch gun seller David Tipple says older women in the city are turning to air pistols because they cannot get licences to buy more powerful weapons.
STAGECOACH STRIKE: A settlement to Auckland's bitter bus dispute appears to be just around the corner. Union officials were confident after a stopwork meeting last night that they would reach agreement with employers over a collective contract for 280 drivers - about a third of Stagecoach Auckland's drivers.
NEW SPECTATOR FRIGATE: The former Navy frigate Waikato is set to become the country's largest floating spectator platform and corporate functions centre. Plans are nearing completion to tow the 113m-long former warship into the Hauraki Gulf as a corporate viewing platform for the America's Cup challenger and defender series.
LONELY CAMPAIGNER: Gerry Campbell may have the loneliest campaign of the election. The sole North Island candidate for the South Island Party, he is standing in Auckland Central, urging former mainlanders to vote where their hearts are.
EDITORIAL – WHERE’S THE MONEY COMING FROM: The age-old question of the Labour Party, "Where's the money coming from?" was raised - and answered - in a slightly different way this week. National's Treasurer Bill English said a government can spend as much as it likes provided it raises enough tax, "and Labour would raise a lot of tax." But not nearly as much, Labour insists, as it would need for the $2 billion of promises it has made. It claims to be in clover, courtesy of National and Act. Since National has promised tax cuts of $1.2 billion in the next three years, and Act believes it could do even better by cutting a contingency fund from the Budget, Labour has taken them at their word and proposes to spend the money instead. Such are the wonders of an election campaign.