Nati0nal News Brief, Tuesday March 10

ACC boss sacked; private prisons to return; Corrections CEO keeps his job despite minister's lack of confidence; Don McKinnon knighted by the Queen; and more

The government has sacked ACC chairman and former union leader Ross Wilson, but the Otago Daily Times reports the Prime Minister insisting that does not mean it is preparing the organisation for privatisation. But Key would not rule out opening the workers' account to competition. The axe still hovers over other board members, with ACC minister Nick Smith saying the current board doesn't have the skills to navigate the ACC out of its "financial trouble". Former Ernst & Young CEO John Judge replaces Wilson.

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed reports that some of New Zealand's prisons will be run by private companies, and that could include maximum security lock-ups. The New Zealand Herald says that Key claims "competition is a healthy thing", but prison unions said private managers would mean lower pay for wardens and more violence.

The Herald also says prison inmates could soon find themselves two-to-a-cell, with the Corrections Department looking into double-bunking. The move would add an extra 950 beds to the jail system, but criminologist Greg Newbold says it's a "cheap and nasty solution" that will lead to more assaults and rapes.

Finally on Corrections, in a busy day or the department, its chief Executive Barry Matthews will retain his job despite minister Judith Collins refusing to express confidence in him. The Press reports that "clearly unhappy" with an inquiry by the State Services Commission found that dismissing Matthews would be unjustified given the improvements being made to the department. The Herald quotes the father of Karl Kuchenbecker, who was killed by a prisoner on parole, saying Collins is "all bark and no bite", while Labour says she has "egg on her face".

The DominionPost leads with details of a nine-day fortnight that are beginning to emerge from post-Jobs Summit negotiations. Government sources say a 100 percent wage subsidy would be too expensive, but an "allowance" scheme benchmarked to the average or minimum wage would be introduced.

And Don McKinnon, the former deputy prime minister and Commonwealth Secretary-General, has been knighted by the Queen. Sir Donald said he was "overwhelmed" by "the Queen's gift".