Nati0nal News Brief Thursday, September 4

World Cup quarterfinal venues revealed; Teachers want fewer tests in high school; Defence report says military struggling to fly, sail, and fight; NZ First paces possible police probe; and more


  • The DominionPost leads with the revelation that Wellington will host two quarterfinals at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, bringing an estimated $24 million to the region. That could mean bad news for other bidders, Christchurch, Hamilton, and North Shore, because the paper quotes the IRB saying it wants Auckland and just one other city to host the quarterfinals. Not so fast, says The Press, which reports that in fact the other two quarterfinals will be in Christchurch, a decision "tipped to be worth $50 million in revenue for the city". The semi finals and finals will be at Eden Park.
  • Teachers are worried that the NCEA over-tests high school students and want fewer exams, according to the New Zealand Herald. A PPTA paper says too many tests discourage a love of learning and recommends cutting the number of credits needed at level one from 80 to 60.
  • The Herald covers the Defence Force's annual report under the headline 'Can't sail, can't fly, can't fight'. The report says while the Army has a company it Afghanistan, it is only "partially" prepared for low-level conflicts and couldn't meet a high-level threat. The Navy and Air Force also complain of insufficient personnel and equipment. But Defence minister Phil Goff says the government has spent over $8 billion on the military since 2002. He says it it the best equipped its ever been, but its combat readiness reflects the reality that no-one is "remotely interested" in invading the country.
  • Winston Peters will be back before the privileges committee today in his first public appearance since he stood down as a minister. The committee now has two letters from businessman Owen Glenn giving his versions of events, but Peters is expected to produce evidence to counter that. The Herald understands that Glenn will appear before the committee in person next week.
  • Peters' appearance comes as his party now faces the possibility of a police investigation. The Press quotes a trustee of the Spencer Trust saying that "cumulatively" the trust has made a series of payments in 2005, 2006, and 2007 that amount to more than $10,000 each year. Trustee Grant Currie says it was "pretty obvious" New Zealand First should have declared those donations. The party's "nil" donations delcaration in 2007 is crucial because its still within the statute of limitations for prosecution and Act's Rodney Hide said last night that he will lay a complaint with police.
  • The head of the Electoral Commission has said the uncertainty around the Electoral Finance Act has had "a chilling effect" on public participation in political activity. Dr Helena Catt said it's a "difficult law" that's hard to interpret, and that amounted to a "damning indictment" according to John Key.
  • The rush of laws before the election yesterday included new protections for New Zealanders who invest their savings in finance companies. A new law passed under urgency yesterday brought finance companies, building societies and credit unions under Reserve Bank regulations. That means thwy will have to get a credit rating from the Bank and maintain a minimum amount of capital.
  • And finally, the All Blacks prepared for their showdown with the Wallabies in ten days time with a record 101-14 thrashing of Samoa. Coach Graham Henry said the game was helpful.