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National Radio Midday Report

Throne Speech – Green Party – Current Account – Christmas Bonus – Computer Contract – Venezuelan Floods – Terrorism – Disabled Justice – Prozac – Rivers Returned To Maori – MFAT and Y2k – Gay Rights In Vermont

THRONE SPEECH: The state opening of Parliament has been completed with the Speech from the throne. Sounds from the opening of Parliament. Sir Michael led into Parliament by Prime Minister and The speech said there would be greater intervention and less reliance on the market to deliver outcomes. Changes for tax on super are mooted. More money for energy efficiency. A Royal Commission and moratorium on commercial GE Crops.

GREEN PARTY: Greens have positions on seven Select Committees. Jeanette Fitzsimmons expected to be appointed as chair of Environment committee. Fitzsimmons said the government was cooperative with its requests for committee memberships.

CURRENT ACCOUNT: The Current Account deficit has improved. The Balance of Payments reflects invisible items as well as imports and exports. There was a sharp improvement in the September Quarter. Questionaires that collect Balance of Payments statistics from e-commerce companies may soon be introduced.

CHRISTMAS BONUS: Unexpected redundancy payout being paid to workers laid off nearly a year ago on the demise of the car-assembly industry. The liquidator says the worker will receive an average of $6000. The payout was made possible by chasing up creditors – also one creditor stood aside forgoing rights to $1.5 million.

COMPUTER CONTRACT: A Bell Gully Review of the decision to purchase a computer system by Health Waikato says that there was a serious failure in the approval process – but clears Jack Jenkins of a conflict of interest. It says staff members should have cleared a sponsored trip to the US with the board.

VENEZUELAN FLOODS: Up to 10,000 people are feared dead in Venezuelan floods. Mud is two stories high in some places.

TERRORISM: High Alert in the US at ports of entry for fear of millennial terrorist attacks. The US Customs commissioner says his agency is on high alert. Americans at home and overseas have been urged to be careful.

DISABLED JUSTICE: A 23-year-old intellectually disabled couple have a nasty run in with Justice system when he was charged with sexual offences involving his partner and was remanded in custody.

PROZAC: An appeal is being sought by a mother who is opposed to the compulsory treatment of her 17-year-old son with prozac. The boy was ordered to take the drug following an incident of sexual assault involving a small girl.

RIVERS RETURNED: Tuwharetoa has gained title to the beds of several rivers in the central North Island. The return of the waterways follows the return of the Taupo lake bed.

MFAT AND Y2k: Ministry of Foreign Affairs is boosting staffing in some of its embassies to cover Y2k risk – staff will have satellite phones to report back on what is going on around the world. The Dairy Board will also be taking precautions – sending staff on holiday over the period.

GAY RIGHTS: Vermont has become the most friendly state in the US for gays where a court has awarded gays equal rights before the court for homosexual relationships.

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