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National Radio Midday Bulletin

ELECTION: Tauranga - Balance Of Power - Greens - National - Rangitikei - Ikaroa Rawhiti - OTHER NEWS: US Ambassadors - Chechnya - Angelina Edwards - Tax Rises - Car Crashes - Millennium Health - Arthurs Pass

TAURANGA: Special vote counting continues in Tauranga. Winston Peters future hangs in the balance. National's Katherine O'Regan is hoping she will beat Winston on specials. Live from Tauranga- the count could be finished around 3pm or later. It takes the time it takes. The returning officer says the aim is to do the count properly not quickly. The election night majority of 323 has survived a recount.

BALANCE OF POWER: Meanwhile the balance of power remains in the balance as Labour/Alliance will have a clear majority if Winston loses. Cabinet announcement has been put off to tomorrow.

GREENS: The newly-elected greens want to meet Labour and Alliance leadership today. The co-leader Rod Donald said they are keen to talk about policy and process and about the Cabinet lineup. The Greens have four areas of priority.

NATIONAL: National has been quick to turn up the heat with Simon Upton saying that the Alliance will be under pressure to brand themselves in order to counter the Greens. Mr Upton says the Alliance risks being swamped otherwise.

RANGITIKEI: The returning officer for Rangitikei expects to have a result ready for the seat in an hour but legal advice is being sought. 100 votes are missing.

IKAROA RAWHITI: The final result in Ikaroa Rawhiti is not expected till late this afternoon or possibly this evening. Derek Fox is 600 odd votes behind.

US AMBASSADORS: Departing US Ambassador Josiah Beeman says Washington is "relaxed" about the possibility of NZ canceling the F-16 leasing arrangement. Beeman says Washington will be focussing on overall defence spending. New Ambassador Carol Moseley will be sworn in in Washington tomorrow.

GROZNY: Russia's Interior Minister appears to have extended a deadline for civilians in Grozny to leave the city. The move comes after two. Vladimir Putin however is standing firm behind the campaign.

ANGELINA EDWARDS: Angelina Edwards sentencing - Angelina Edwards a disabled women was beaten to death over several months by a family of four - the parents and the kids have been given 8year 6year 13year and 10year jail sentences for manslaughter.

TAX RISES: Incoming government plans to pass a new law by Christmas to raise taxes. There is no problem with diversion of income into retirement savings for high income earners - says Geoff Rashbrook - as long as that is really what they are for.

CAR CRASHES: Auckland car crashes discussed. Highway in Hauraki plains blocked by accident which has killed two.

MILLENNIUM HEALTH: Auckland hospital's emergency department is preparing for 300% increase or more in emergency admissions over the millennium New Year with so many events on. A special minor injury area is being established to deal with minor problems.

ARTHURS PASS: Trampers planning on walking in Arthurs Pass National Park are warned by Robin Judkins that the information cards are no use because they do not have a home address.

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