Opening of Parliament and speech from the throne - Venezuela Disaster
Regal Speech - The speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament today outlined an ambitious programme for the new government with much of the thrust directed at undoing the work of the last government.
The programme will include; establishing a tertiary education commission - cease asset sales - slow down in tarrif reduction programme - abolish health funding authority - elected health boards - restore superannuation levels - repeal employment contracts act - revert to government ACC scheme - fund Plunket-line 24 hours a day.
Essentially the focus is on health and education with an order to Treasury to stop work on selling TVNZ and Radio NZ. The coalition government accepts the 11 pages of promises will be tough to deliver with Opposition leader, Jenny Shipley, saying the programme itself is too extravagant.
Venezuela Disaster - The flood disaster in Venezuela could be the worst natural disaster of this century. Whole villages have disappeared under mud and water with estimates of between 5,000 and 25,000 dead or missing.