PM Bomb Scare – Mistakenly In China – Super Stoush – Race Riots – Transplant Mafia – Air New Zealand – Dairy Merger Opposition – ATVs Warning – Cheap Groceries – Environment Awards
PM BOMB SCARE: Tauranga Airport received a phone call today warning it that there was a bomb on a plane – due to carry the Prime Minister back to Auckland. The flight was cancelled. The plane has now been searched by explosives dogs, and a bomb squad is on the way to the scene. The PM travelled back to Auckland by car instead of plane. PM Helen Clark says that the police have to take such threats seriously. The airport is now open and a flight has been allowed to land. Footage shows a dog examining the plane. Police are not saying yet whether the bomb scare is a hoax.
MISTAKENLY IN CHINA: Two Bay of Plenty men accidentally ended up in China rather than Auckland after catching the wrong plane out of Sydney. The men were interrogated at the airport in China by armed troops about going to Taiwan. China National Airways say they are surprised that the pair did not notice they were on the wrong plane during the pre-flight briefing.
SUPER STOUSH: ACT, National and the Greens today ganged up on the Government saying that a select committee hearing into a super bill is a farce. The bill that sets up the super fund is due back in Parliament next week. ACT boycotted the select committee hearing today saying that back-room deals between NZ First and the Government had undermined the process. Green spokesman Rod Donald says the back-room deals reflect badly on the government. Committee Chairman and Government MP Mark Peck was playing down the disputes in the committee today. The government is vowing to make the bill an election issue if it can’t get it passed.
RACE RIOTS: Race riots broke out last night in Leeds. The riots came less than a week after racial riots in Oldham.
TRANSPLANT MAFIA: A grim black-market trade in human organs is revealed in a TV report. The “transplant mafia” are alleged to be the driving force behind the trade. A man says he charges clients $125,000 to people wanting kidneys. An Israeli fire-fighter says he paid $230,000 for a kidney. Almost nobody is prosecuted for involvement in the illegal organ harvest. With demand expanding five times faster than supply, the transplant mafia are not expected to fade away.
AIR NEW ZEALAND: There has been another twist in the battle to control NZ’s skies. Air New Zealand has revealed that a group of local investors is talking to the air line. Meanwhile Qantas says it is still interested in buying Air New Zealand. An analyst says the announcement may be about strategy.
DAIRY MERGER OPPOSITION: Opponents of the plan to merge the two remaining giant dairy companies into one mega-company claim they are receiving lots of support. One dairy farmer who says he had made up his mind, now says he is unsure. The campaign to fight the merger is led by former Federated Farmers leader Malcolm Bailey. He says there is an alternative. Former Dairy Board boss Warren Larsen meanwhile says that the option that was selectedm was selected from over 30 options. A vote will be held on June 18th. The opposing group has just 12 days to get its message across to 14,000 farmers.
ATVS: Federated Farmers is calling for a ban on children riding ATVs – all terrain vehicles – on farms. The call comes in the wake of another fatality involving a child.
CHEAP GROCERIES: Consumers survey finds that Pak-n-save Hamilton is the cheapest place in the country to buy groceries.
ENVIRONMENT AWARDS: World Environment Day was marked last night with the delivery of awards to environmental activists. Several award winners are highlighted. The next awards will be held in 2003.