Maori Party complain of pressure in privileges committee vote; tuberculosis scare at Auckland City Hospital; Fonterra cuts payout, wary of joint ventures; retiring MPs; workers waste time online; and more
- The Government has denied putting pressure on Maori Party MPs in the privileges committee vote to censure Winston Peters. Mr Peters accused the Maori Party of "treachery". The Press reports that Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said that Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia phoned him twice to try to change the party's position.
- The Herald leads with news that hundreds of Auckland City Hospital staff and 20 patients are being tested for a rare form of tuberculosis after a patient went undiagnosed in hospital for weeks. The female patient died a few weeks ago after receiving all the usual tests for TB.
- Fonterra will test their milk products for "every conceivable poison" after the Chinese milk scandal resulting in the deaths of four babies and illness of thousands more. Chief executive Andrew Ferrier said yesterday that the joint venture with San Lu (Fonterra owns 43 percent but does not share control of the company) had made Fonterra wary of such deals. At the same time Fonterra has cut its forecast payout for next year's milk solids by more than a $1/kg, reflecting falling global dairy prices.
- Four National MPs retired from Parliament yesterday. The Dominon Post said Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson attracted attention for his farewell "speech", a final dig at rival Winston Peters. Clarkson, known for making inappropriate comments about his testicles and Muslim women in his three years in Parliament, held up a white board printed with the words "bye bye". The Otago Daily Times extracted popular Dunedin MP Katharine Rich's speech. She said one of her best political memories was supporting Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill. "Liberal conservatives have always had a role in tempering the harder edges of conservative politics and encouraging change, but also acting as a cautionary voice in times of upheaval." Long-serving MP Clem Simich and List MP Mark Blumsky also stepped down yesterday.
- Employees spend up to a quarter of their online time looking at sites for personal, not business reasons. Paul Hortop, a network security consultant, said the most commonly visited sites were online chat services, trading sites, and sites that allow online sharing of music, movies and software.
- Another housing development north of Auckland has gone bust. The $250-million Whisper Cove development at Snells Beach has gone into receivership with just 36 of a planned 160 homes built.
- Finally, new research from UMR found that more than a quarter of New Zealanders believe the Large Hadron Collider could produce a black hole that would swallow Earth, reports the Press. Scientists have gathered in Switzerland to simulate the Big Bang.