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New Zealand Herald

Drinking Age – Coalition Signing – Drinking Age – Water Quality – Dance Parties – Doctor Censured – West Auckland Murder – Brian Edwards – Special Votes – Editorial Coalition

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DRINKING AGE: Hundreds of drinkers in their 20s are being turned away from pubs and clubs because they do not carry Government-approved photo identification. The problems are spilling over on to city streets and frustrating patrons forced to queue at their regular bars. Patrons as old as 30 have been asked for identification. At the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland at the weekend, a number of bars struggled with the influx of first-time drinkers as queues stretched and tempers shortened.

COALITION – SIGNING: Same place, same purpose, but a different cast and a very different plot.
Helen Clark and Jim Anderton yesterday signed their skimpy coalition agreement, just under three years after Jim Bolger and Winston Peters initialled their 65-page tome.
After dickering over possible sites around Parliament, the two decided to face down history and sign at the same venue as their ill-fated predecessors - in Parliament's Legislative Council Chamber, the old Upper House.

DRINKING AGE: Teenagers could soon be pulling pints and mixing cocktails.
In the past, minors were prohibited from working in restricted areas, such as public bars and supervised premises, which is the official status given to most restaurants, pubs and clubs.
This has been eased under the amended Sale of Liquor Act to allow under-18s to work in supervised premises.

WATER QUALITY: Thousands of schoolchildren and hospital patients risk contracting diseases from contaminated water.
The Ministry of Health has put schools and hospitals with their own water supplies on notice after it found that the standard of their water had declined since 1997.

DANCE PARTIES: The Ministry of Health says dance-partygoers taking Ecstasy should drink 600ml of water every hour - and bins should be provided by party organisers for the disposal of used syringes.
The ministry has laid down official safety guidelines for dance parties, which include advice about drugs, but the group that helped to devise the guidelines says they do not go far enough.

DOCTOR CENSURED: A respected Kaitaia doctor in the "twilight of his career" slapped a 12-year-old girl and pulled her hair while trying to take sand from her eye.
Dr Thomas Young yesterday appeared in front of the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Whangarei, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of professional misconduct.

WEST AUCKLAND MURDER: A piece of skull peppered with shotgun pellet marks was found in the plumbing of a murder victim's toilet - the only part of his body police have recovered.
A jury in the High Court at Auckland yesterday heard how the dead man, West Auckland Greek electrician Stavros Stavrianos, was blasted with a shotgun at point-blank range in the toilet of his Green Bay home.

BRIAN EDWARDS: Broadcaster Brian Edwards may have to choose between National Radio's high-rating Top o' the Morning show and an advisory role in the new Government.
Radio New Zealand chief executive Sharon Crosbie said last night that she expected to hear Edwards' intentions when they discussed his annual contract, which expires at the end of the month.

SPECIAL VOTES: Jeanette Fitzsimons and Winston Peters should know today or tomorrow whether they and a handful of followers have jobs in Parliament.
The New Zealand First leader stands a good chance of holding Tauranga once 3618 special votes are counted. On election night, he held a 323-vote margin over National's Katherine O'Regan.


EDITORIAL - COALITION: True to its word, the next coalition Government has signed an agreement that could not be more different from the first. In fact, so little of substance has been settled between Labour and the Alliance that they may have erred at the other extreme. National and NZ First tied themselves to so much precise policy and expenditure that they practically wrote a Budget for three years. The document issued by Labour and the Alliance yesterday is devoid even of decisions that will have to be made for their first Budget.
The first coalition agreement was the product of weeks of wrangling between parties that did not really want to be associated. The second has been wrapped up in a few days by two parties that campaigned in comparative harmony and appear to be genuinely well-disposed to each other. The goodwill that is positively gushing from Jim Anderton these days is probably more important than any words on paper for the immediate prospect of stable government. Still, it must be wondered whether Labour might live to rue an agreement conceived in haste.

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