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Battle Over Kopu Cash - Confusion over New Zealand First Candidate Resignation - Shipley Security Leak - Shotgun Wielding Man In Christchurch - Cervical Smear Scare Worsens

Controversy has brewed for the Government over legal bills paid for Alamein Kopu’s representation to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee when she left the Alliance and became an independent MP. Labour’s Trevor Mallard accuses the Government of buying Mrs. Kopu’s support. The legal bill was approved by Finance Minister bill Birch after the National/New Zealand First coalition had broken apart. National needed the support of independent MPs to keep it in power, including Mrs. Kopu.

The Prime minister Jenny Shipley would not comment on the allegations and Mrs. Kopu said no one can buy her support.

Confusion surrounds the resignation of New Zealand First’s Rangiteikie candidate Suzanne Bruce. Ms Bruce resigned from being a candidate of New Zealand First after it became publicly known that she is facing charges of GST fraud. But tonight Ms Bruce says she will not stand for New Zealand First in this month’s election unless she clears her name in the next two weeks. She says the Crown Law Office has yet to issue her papers detailing the charges.

An internet website has published secret details of Prime minister Jenny Shipley’s private phone numbers. The website had misspelled her name but listed her mobile, home and other private numbers including those of the SIS. But those numbers appeared to have been disconnected. Only those of her private governmental staff appeared to be still in use. Mrs Shipley is being flippant about the leak while Governmental staff say the matter is being investigated.

A shotgun wielding man has been disarmed outside the Christchurch Cathedral. Police and Armed Offenders Squad officers were called to an incident where a man was seen hiding around the cathedral armed with a shotgun. The man emerged from the Cathedral frontage and gave up his arms. A man is now in police custody.

More disturbing news in the Gisbourne cervical cancer scare inquiry. Slides being examined in Sydney have shown that Gisbourne pathologist, Michael Botrell, misread slides involving around 382 women. Of those around 200 women showed high-grade abnormalities. The HFA is however unsure where to contact over a quarter of these women.

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