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Bunkle’s Flat – Labour Man Disciplined – Medical Misconduct – Telecommunications – Martian Asparagus

- BUNKLE’S FLAT: Alliance Minister Phillida Bunkle is to vacate her ministerial home, an Oriental Parade flat, and her claims that she is an out of town MP are being investigated. She owns a cottage in Wellington close to Parliament and stood for Wellington Central at the election. But she says her family home is in Waikanae. Ms Bunkle has also claimed an out of town allowance. Ms Bunkle ran for the Wellington Mayoralty in 1995, and campaign pamphlets last year boasted she had lived and worked in New Zealand for years. The controversy is an end of the year dampener for the Alliance.

- LABOUR MAN DISCIPLINED: Bruce Williams, brother of Labour President Mike Williams has been disciplined by parliamentary services for inappropriate use of a computer. A computer at Judith Tizards Auckland office has had pornographic material downloaded ontoi it.

- MEDICAL MISCONDUCT: The Medical Council is investigating accusations of medical misconduct. Two women allege their former family GP indecently assaulted them 30 years ago. The allegation comes after former Christchurch GP Morgan Fahey was convicted of sexually assaulting patients. The women have been offered counselling and are encouraging other women who have had similar experiences to come forward. The accused doctor, who cannot be identified, is expected to strongly defend himself. The Medical Council won’t comment until its investigations are completed.

- TELECOMMUNICATIONS: The Government is forcing telecom to spend millions upgrading phone services to all but the most remote regions, as part of the new regulations for telecommunications. Farmers are one group that is expected to benefit under the new rules, the group hardest hit by the present lack of Internet facilities. Telecom said they preferred the status quo, but they could live with the new rules. The new regulations have been described as a middle course by the Consumers Institute.

- MARTIAN ASPARAGUS: New Zealand scientists have grown the world’s first vegetables in Martian soil. They grew tiny asparagus shoots out of rock crystals taken from a meteorite from Mars.

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