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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Winz - Labour: SSC Policy - Alliance: Telecom Policy - Alliance On MMP - Scott Watson In Court - Immunisation - Floods and Insurance - Plane Crash - Chechnya - Y2k - Maori Occupation - Air New Zealand - Valuation Row - Labour Costs - Big Performance

WINZ: The State Services Commission says it will ask WINZ for more information before it decides to investigate a $110,000 package paid to a departing executive. Roger Sowry says the payment followed a personal grievance was signed off by Peter McCardle on the Crown Law office's advice.

LABOUR - SSC POLICY: The Labour Party has just launched it State Sector Policy. Labour wants to beef up the State Services Commission and a change in attitude in the public service. Some departments might

ALLIANCE - TELECOM POLICY: Alliance says it will impose strict controls on Telecom to bring phone prices down. Laila Harre says the Alliance will strengthen the Commerce Act and Commerce Commission.

ALLIANCE ON MMP: Alliance leader says that National's plans to hold referendums in May and November next year on MMP are a sign of desperation. The Alliance says National is trying to discredit

SCOTT WATSON IN COURT: Sounds murderer Scott Watson - convicted of killing Olivia Hope and Ben Smart - has admitted damaging a police cell, a policeman, and stealing a dinghy in a hearing in Wellington today.

IMMUNISATION: Health Committee chairman says a new report shows that immunisation efforts need to be improved. The report is critical of the HFA and suggests someone should be made accountable for immuisation improvements.

FLOODS AND INSURANCE: Insurance Council says Otago residents should not panic about insurance following announcements from State Insurance that they will not re-insure properties damaged in the recent floods. Meanwhile the main-road into Queenstown is open for the first time in a week.

PLANE CRASH: Efforts are focussing on finding the missing plane which is thought to have crashed into the sea near Amberly.

CHECHNYA: Chechen fighters claim to have killed 200 Russians in an ambush. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch claims Russia is using excessive force. Human Rights workers are documenting accounts from refugees of victimisation at the hands of Russian troops.

Y2K: A Y2k readiness survey shows the overwhelming majority of businesses anticipate being able to cope with the Y2000 computer bug. 94% of businesses say they have done all they can. Large businesses have done very well says the report.

MAORI OCCUPATION: Maori occupation is underway at Cape Reinga. Some elderly people have occupied a small house owned by the Maritime Safety Authority. DOC says trespass orders will be served

AIR NEW ZEALAND: Flight Attendants for Air New Zealand have voted in favour of more strike action in pursuit of their negotiations for new conditions with the airline.

VALUATION ROW: Complaints in Hawke's Bay over land revaluations which have cut values in the district by millions. A meeting this morning has been held with valuers. The valuations were conducted by an Auckland company. The company stands by its valuations. The council says the valuer general has audited the results.

LABOUR COSTS: Labour Cost Index shows wages rising a little bit. More than half employees did not receive a pay rise in the three month period.

BIG PERFORMANCE: Auckland City Council is holding an extravaganza in the Auckland Domain for the millennium at a cost of $1.5 million. 200,000 are expected to attend.

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