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New Zealand Herald

Coalition Talks – Bob Harvey – Tipene Resigns – Lange Alcoholic – Hunger Strikers – Sand Death – Summer – Liquor – Americas Cup – East Timor – Electronic Voting – INCIS – TV Election – Student Loands – Freedom - Editorial

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COALITION TALKS: Labour and the Alliance are looking at more flexible cabinet rules so they can disagree over policy without bringing the incoming Government down. The arrangement will be part of a draft coalition agreement which the two aim to have ready by Friday and ratify shortly after ahead of the swearing in of the new Government on December 10.

BOB HARVEY: Labour has apologised to a West Auckland family after party president Bob Harvey lowered his pants and shouted an obscenity during a public stoush with a long-time nemesis. Mr Harvey, who is also Mayor of Waitakere, admitted his actions to the Herald after allegations raised by Titirangi resident Chris Seagar.

TIPENE RESIGNS: The man who has been the public face of Ngai Tahu for more than 20 years apparently resigned because he was disappointed at how he was treated. Sir Tipene O'Regan announced his shock resignation from Ngai Tahu's governing body, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, to more than 300 people at the tribe's annual hui at the Waihao Marae in South Canterbury at the weekend.

LANGE ALCOHOLIC: Former Prime Minister David Lange is attending Alcoholics Anonymous after he says he hit the bottle to drown post-politics frustration and self-pity. He told a mental health conference in Wellington yesterday that he had sought help from AA this year because he was relying on alcohol to help him sleep.

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HUNGER STRIKERS: Asylum-seekers at Mt Eden Prison could walk free today after a High Court judge yesterday told the Immigration Service the men might have been wrongly jailed. Prime Minister-elect Helen Clark said she urgently wanted to know why the men were being detained, and assured them their applications would be considered fairly. The 16 men from Pakistan, India and Iran ended their hunger strike about 2.30 pm - minutes before the release of Justice Fisher's finding - during a visit by Auckland Mayor Christine Fletcher and her deputy, Bruce Hucker. The men carried out a small religious service to mark the end of their 32-day fast.

SAND DEATH: Buried up to his neck in an avalanche of sand, 12-year-old Karl Schutt could hear the faint cries for help from his best friend, Jesse Levien, below him. He could do nothing but listen as Jesse, 11, slowly lost his fight for life under a Mangawhai Heads sand dune.

SUMMER: Tomorrow is the first day of summer - so why are howling winds and buckets of rain thrashing much of the country? Strong winds and rain lashed the North Island yesterday, but weather experts said that was fairly common at the end of spring and was likely to ease from today.

LIQUOR: Supermarket aisles could turn into a beer battlefield from tomorrow as new legislation offers drinkers the promise of a price war. The Sale of Liquor Act opens the way for supermarket beer sales, as well as bringing the drinking age down to 18 and introducing Sunday trading.

AMERICAS CUP: The Spanish challengers for the America's Cup - said to be the life of any party - threatened to pull out of tonight's Louis Vuitton fiesta, but will attend after some last-minute horse trading. Louis Vuitton spokesman Bruno Trouble confirmed that the syndicate had demanded 140 invitations to the exclusive party after being allocated 90. The syndicate had returned all its tickets last week when told the higher number was impossible.

EAST TIMOR: When the cry went out from East Timor, charities and aid agencies called all hands to the pump. Anna McHardy took it literally. The Auckland woman and a group of fellow Catholic parishioners have responded to the plight of the East Timorese by gathering water pumps.

ELECTRONIC VOTING: Electronic voting could be the way of the future after politicians from all sides turned on the Electoral Office yesterday, demanding explanations for the slow election count. Prime Minister-elect Helen Clark promised action as returning officers beavered away on election night results.

INCIS: The terms of reference for an inquiry into the failed Incis police computer are to be reviewed by the new Government. A commission of inquiry appointed by the previous Administration is due to hold its first public hearing today, as Labour MPs who have spent years calling for an investigation size up their new seats in power.

TV ELECTION: Television New Zealand has defended its Saturday night election coverage against accusations of inaccuracies and glitches, citing huge ratings for its seven-hour live broadcast. TV One general manager Shaun Brown said he was delighted with the broadcast and was satisfied that results were as accurate as possible at different stages of the evening.

STUDENT LOANS: Students are in line to save thousands of dollars from a student loan interest holiday that could also benefit wealthy parents. Helen Clark wants a immediate law change to scrap interest for fulltime students while they are studying.

FREEDOM: Adem Bedasso from Ethiopia is delighted to see a new government after his first free election - he hopes it will ease a student loan burden he would not have had in his homeland. The 27-year-old, who featured in a Herald story on Friday which told of his pride at voting, said yesterday that he was glad Helen Clark had won because he was worried about the amount of interest he was paying while studying.

EDITORIAL: Helen Clark and Jim Anderton are determined that one of the first things they will do is pass a law to throw MPs out of Parliament if they leave the party that put them there. The Labour and Alliance leaders no doubt draw encouragement from voters' rejection of all members of the previous Parliament who left the party under which they had been elected. But the voters' verdict was not quite so clear; they punished loyal members of NZ First, too. Brian Donnelly, with the wind blowing against him in Whangarei, reported people telling him he might be doing better if he had jumped ship. Tu Wyllie fared no better than those in Maori seats who remained with the Government, and Winston Peters himself barely survived election night. It is probably a mistake to ascribe the fate of former NZ First MPs to their decision to stay in coalition when Mr Peters was dismissed last year. Their fate, like that of those loyal to him, was sealed much earlier.

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