National News Brief, Friday January 23

Two Chinese men sentenced to death for role in SanLu milk scandal; John Key freezes MPs' pay; ACC spending on alternative therapies questioned; Winston Peters stays with NZ First--for now; Russell Crowe to appear on Australian stamps; and more

Two Chinese men have been sentenced to death for their part in the SanLu tainted milk scandal, reports the Herald. Zhang Yujun ran a workshop that was the major source of melamine used to bulk out powdered milk products while Geng Jinping received the death sentence for producing and selling toxic food. Fonterra is yet to comment on the sentences.

Prime Minister John Key has frozen MPs' pay, a signal to the whole state sector that there will be slight or no pay increases in this term of Parliament, reports the Herald. Although he said it was unlikely, Mr Key did not rule out pay cuts for public servants.

Nine months after six pupils and one teacher from Elim Christian College were killed in a canyoning accident, the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre has acknowledged its role in the tragedy, reports the Dominion Post. The centre  pleaded guilty to "failing to take practical steps to ensure the safety of an instructor and failing to take practical steps to ensure no action of the instructor harmed the members of the group". The centre has also registered with the Met Service to receive severe weather warnings.

ACC Minister Nick Smith plans a review of spending on complementary and alternative medicine (Cam), reports the Press. Mr Smith said Cam funding had grown significantly more than other types of accident compensation and there were "legitimate questions" about the effectiveness of some treatments. ACC spent $14 million on acupuncture, $12.7 million on chiropractic treatment and $10 million on osteopathy in the past year.

NZ First leader Winston Peters is to stay with the party for the short term, attending a conference next month to strategise on the party's future, reports the Dominion Post. Mr Peters has maintained a low profile since NZ First lost its place in Parliament at the last election.

New Zealand-born actor Russell Crowe is one of four "Australian legends" to appear on stamps to celebrate Australia Day, reports the Press. Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Geoffrey Rush are the other legends. Crowe became an Australian citizen in 2006.