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New Zealand Herald

Website Award - Poll - Pom Blood - Education Experiment - Suzanne Bruce - Gisborne Cancer - Climber Rescued - Gas Explosion - Sweat Shops - Winston Peters - Stagecoach - Poll Editorial

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This New Zealand Herald Website has been declared the country's best by judges of the NZ NetGuide 1999 Internet awards. And the Herald's Rugby Heaven site, in association with the Sydney Morning Herald, Independent Online, South Africa, and the Electronic Telegraph won best sports Website of the year. Overseas judges called the Herald site 'clean, easy to navigate and content-rich,' and said it won the top award in a close, intense competition.

POLL: National is in big trouble just a week from polling day. The latest New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey shows Labour charging ahead and New Zealand First no longer holding the balance of power. And for the first time, the Greens have broken through the 5 per cent threshold. Translated into seats, the poll would give Labour and its allies, the Alliance and the Greens, a clear majority in Parliament.

POM BLOOD NOT WANTED: Blood banks stand to lose a vital tenth of donors because of a ban on up to 100,000 people who may have a tiny risk of infection with the human version of mad-cow disease after visiting Britain. From February 17, people will not be allowed to give blood if they spent a cumulative six months or more in Britain between 1980 and 1996.

EDUCATION EXPERIMENT: A radical experiment to rebuild three of Mangere's most troubled schools appears to be working. Southern Cross Campus, formed from the ashes of Southern Cross Primary, Mangere Intermediate and Nga Tapuwae College, has received its first Education Review Office report - and it's positive.

SUZANNE BRUCE: Former New Zealand First candidate Suzanne Bruce has now received papers summonsing her to appear in court on charges of filing false GST returns. After national publicity this week, and 12 days after her husband received similar papers, Ms Bruce went to a private investigator's Palmerston North office to collect a summons in her name.

GISBORNE CANCER: The father of a young man who died of cancer after Gisborne pathologist Michael Bottrill misdiagnosed a lump on his wrist says he is carrying out his son's dying wish by trying to find out how the mistake occurred. Yesterday, he was at a preliminary meeting of the Gisborne cervical cancer inquiry, set up to probe Dr Bottrill's misreading of smear tests done on women.

CLIMBER RESCUED: Experience and a "strong mental attitude" proved the key to a happy ending when an Australian climber was rescued from Mt Aspiring yesterday after three nights alone in a 3m-deep snow cave. Hugh Webb, a 21-year-old Otago University student, staggered slightly when he stepped out of an RNZAF Iroquois in Wanaka yesterday, but his wide smile signalled an upbeat mood.

GAS EXPLOSION: A 62-year-old grandmother narrowly escaped serious injury or death in a gas explosion that blew out every window on one side of a four-storey Auckland building yesterday. Viv Coombe had delivered New Zealand Heralds to the foyer of Remuera's Grange apartment building about 6 am, three minutes before the area was showered with glass.

SWEAT SHOPS: Labour Department investigations into illegal sweatshops will be followed up by tax inspectors and welfare officials if any evidence of fraud is discovered. Labour inspectorate manager Mike Feely says his department will notify any others that may be interested as it sorts through dozens of allegations of illegal working conditions.

STAGECOACH: Rebellious bus drivers made their peace with Stagecoach yesterday, but almost 60 others have quit the company during the bitter industrial battle. Fallout from the dispute - which reached its peak last month with six strikes - saw almost double the usual rate of drivers leave Auckland's main bus company since July.

WINSTON PETERS: The 250 people standing around in the rain or sitting in sunchairs under dripping awnings in Hamilton's Garden Place yesterday had not really turned up to hear Winston Peters unveil New Zealand First's economic policy. They wanted entertainment, and with the help of McGillicuddy Serious leader Graeme Cairns, Mr Peters did not disappoint them.

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