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The New Zealand Herald

PI Overstayers - Sword Sells - Cervical Smears - No Medals Yet - Dying Woman Goes Home TVNZ Draft Charter - Slow Fastpost - NZ Olympic Stars - Lundy Double Murders

PI OVERSTAYERS: Thousands of Pacific Island overstayers have a one-off chance to stay in New Zealand instead of living in fear of being deported under tough new immigration laws. About 7000 overstayers - 3500 Samoans and Tongans and a similar number from other countries - could qualify for permanent residence under a selective amnesty announced yesterday by Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel.

- SWORD SELLS: A sword sold to former PM David Lange in 1991 for $550 fetched $42,000 at auction last night. Auckland businessman Sir Roger Bhatnagar won a bidding duel to become the new owner of the sword, formerly owned by a sheikh and a convicted murderer as well as a prime minister.

- CERVICAL SMEARS: Northland women with fears about the reliability of their cervical smear results are being urged to have fresh tests. Government minister Phillida Bunkle said yesterday that women who had any concerns about historic tests carried out by the Northland Pathology Laboratory should have another smear and examination.

- NO MEDALS YET: New Zealand may be equal last at the Sydney Olympics, but it's far too early for the wake. At most Olympic Games, we've been in the same position -empty-handed - after the first four days.

- DYING WOMAN GOES HOME: Jokes, laughter and the sound of clinking champagne glasses filled Colleen Poutsma's home near Paihia yesterday when friends and family celebrated her return. The 47-year-old, who is dying from cervical cancer, was the centre of attention after she arrived by helicopter from St Joseph's Hospice at the Mercy Hospital in Auckland.

- TVNZ DRAFT CHARTER: Television New Zealand should include programmes for minority interests in prime-time programmes, says a draft charter for the state broadcaster. The charter, which says TVNZ will contribute to a sense of national purpose and identity as well as pride in the country's diversity, suggests that programmes appealing to minority interests should be offered as prime-time viewing.

- SLOW FASTPOST: Customers of New Zealand Post's new parcel service are paying the Fastpost price for slower delivery. The popular blue Fastpost bags have been abandoned in favour of making people choose between dearer CourierPost bags and slow-delivery Parcel Post bags.

- NZ OLYMPIC STARS: They may not have won medals but New Zealand cyclist Sarah Ulmer and triathlete Hamish Carter still have plenty of adoring fans at one Auckland school. Words of encouragement and advice leaped from the mouths of aspiring Olympic athletes at Greenhithe Primary School after the school's Olympic opening ceremony yesterday.

- LUNDY DOUBLE MURDERS: A police dive team will continue to search the Manawatu River today for items in connection with the Lundy double murders. The bodies of Christine Lundy, aged 38, and her only child, Amber, aged 7, were found in their Palmerston North home three weeks ago.

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