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New Zealand Herald

Spectrum Auction – Police To East Timor – Asset Testing – Bill Clinton – America’s Cup – Disappearance – Susan Burdette – Crocs – Military Training – Maori Assets (Editorial) – Bouma Murder – Labour Vs Alliance – Pay Rise – INCIS – Interest Rates

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SPECTRUM AUCTION: The Government will auction mobile radio frequencies, sweeping aside a Waitangi Tribunal finding that Maori are entitled to share in the spectrum. Announcing the decision yesterday, Communications Minister Maurice Williamson said the electromagnetic spectrum was unknown in 1840 and the Government believed it was not subject to the Treaty of Waitangi.

POLICE TO EAST TIMOR: Eight New Zealand police officers will be sent to East Timor from next month, in answer to a request by the United Nations. New Zealand troops are serving in East Timor as part of an Australian-led international force helping to secure safe areas for the East Timorese.

ASSET TESTING: Labour is expected to promise an end to all asset testing for elderly people in hospitals and rest-homes when it formally unveils its health policy today. The policy - previously costed by rest-home operators at more than $300 million a year - will rank among the party's biggest spending commitments. Labour is also expected to promise to work towards limiting waiting times for surgery.

BILL CLINTON: The students in Room 11 at Takapuna Normal Intermediate School all know who Bill Clinton is. They study world affairs - and they created a display of travel brochures that was shown in the United States President's hotel during the Apec summit in Auckland last month.

AMERICA’S CUP: Technical staff worked through the night on a computer problem that stopped live Internet coverage of all 10 races on the first day of the Louis Vuitton Cup yesterday. With no live TV coverage of the early races in the America's Cup challenger series, yachting fans around the world were counting on the Internet and $US70 Virtual Spectator software to see a 3D animation of the races.

DISAPPEARANCE: Police hunting the kidnappers of a young Hamilton woman want to talk to Ihaia John Hoto, but the 43-year-old Auckland man has disappeared. Detective Sergeant Ross Ardern said police wanted to interview Hoto over the June 2 home invasion in which three masked robbers tied up three members of a wealthy Taiwanese family and kidnapped a woman.

SUSAN BURDETT: A gang prospect jailed five years ago for raping and murdering a South Auckland woman, Susan Burdett, faces a new trial after his convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal. Three appeal judges said a jury might not have convicted Teina Pora had they known the semen found in Susan Burdett's body belonged to serial rapist Malcolm Rewa. CROCS: Crocodile Dundee has nothing on shark-grappling granny Bev Marshall-Smith. The 56-year-old earned a place in fishing (or at least fishy) folklore this week when she waded into knee-deep water to rope a 1.83m blue shark.

MILITARY TRAINING: Putting young men into military camps and other training schemes will sort out troublemakers, says New Zealand First. Party leader Winston Peters said yesterday that his party would force all men leaving school or turning 18 to spend 12 weeks training in the armed forces, civil defence or similar groups.

MAORI ASSETS: Urban Maori leaders were yesterday conceding defeat over an expensive five-year court battle to gain a share of Treaty of Waitangi fishing assets. But the war against iwi domination of fishing resources is far from over, with aspiring urban Maori politicians promising to push for a law change after next month's election.

BOUMA MURDER: A 16-year-old accused of murder wept quietly and cradled his head in his arms as police interviewed him in the company of his mother. Videotapes of Luke Reihana and his 17-year-old brother, Mark, being interviewed were played in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday during the second week of the Beverly Bouma murder trial.

LABOUR VS ALLIANCE: The truce between Labour and the Alliance is coming under strain as both leaders snipe at each other's policy. Labour leader Helen Clark suggested that the Alliance's low poll rating of 4.5 per cent might be linked to its policies, that the policies were unrealistic and that the Alliance was not being honest about them.

PAY RISE: The country's top public servants got a pay rise of nearly 7 per cent in the past year on average, with one chief executive getting a salary package worth up to $340,000. The figures, revealed in the latest report from the State Services Commission, contrast with an increase of just 1.4 per cent for all wage and salary earners in the year to June.

INCIS: The police hierarchy is accused of exaggerating the facts in its pitch for Government funding for the Incis computer system. A parliamentary report into the failed project says police made overstatements and were "grossly optimistic" in a document setting out their case for Incis.

INTEREST RATES: After a year of stability, floating mortgage rates are on the rise again. The Bank of New Zealand yesterday lifted its variable rate a quarter of a per cent to 6.75 per cent - adding $5 a week to the interest bill on a $100,000 mortgage - and other banks seem certain to follow.

MAORI ASSETS – EDITORIAL: It the heart of the Sealord fishing deal is the concept that every Maori should benefit equally. It cannot be otherwise when the agreement saw every Maori relinquish individual commercial fishing rights in return for $500 million of fishing assets. Distributing those assets should, therefore, be an exercise in equity. Obviously, this needs to reflect the structure of Maori society today. And that must include a significant group of urban Maori - 26 per cent of the total Maori population, according to the latest census - who can trace no tribal affiliation. Their situation, when pitted against the wording of the Maori Fisheries Act, has created a sore in Maoridom which, even in the eighth year of dispute, continues to fester. It will not end with the latest ruling by the Court of Appeal, even if one long-running avenue of legal dispute has expired.

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