National News Brief, Friday March 20

Roads, roads and roads: what's in and what's out as the government announces seven "roads of national significance"; three strikes law could breach international law; police leave camera behind during raid; and a Kiwi drill solves global warming puzzle

It's all about roads this morning, with the government announcing seven "roads of national significance" that would be improved over the next decade at a cost of $10.7 billion. The DominionPost leads with Transmission Gully, saying Transport minister Stephen Joyce has promised a final decision by the end of the year. The government says it will spend $2b unclogging the "northern corridor" from Wellington to Levin, but signalled that the bottlenecks north of Waikanae were a priority, rather than the Gully.

Christchurch projects are also on the list, and The Press leads with news the government's commitment to pay for the Southern Motorway, Northern Arterial and Western Bypass will free-up millions of dollars of local authority money for other uses. The Otago Daily Times however laments Dunedin's Caversham highway missing out.

The New Zealand Herald focuses on the Puhoi to Wellsford highway, saying while it's on the list of seven projects, it – plus Transmission Gully and Tauranga's Eastern Corridor – could be a toll road. The Western Ring Road and the northbound tunnel under Victoria Park are also included.

In other news, the Herald leads with advice from Foreign Affairs officials that National's "no parole for the worst murderers" policy and the proposed "three strikes" law could breach international law and harm our reputation abroad. The government seems to be ignoring the advice, it reports.

The police have been criticised by the Privacy Commissioner after leaving behind a camera containing images of battered women and a decaying body at a Stokes Valley house during a raid. The man who obtained the camera approached police, who later wrote a letter to a judge in relation to his uncle's sentencing on firearms charges, the DomPost reports, but police deny it was a plea bargain.

An ingenious drill designed by Victoria University staff has helped solve one of the riddles of global warming. After drilling 2km through Antarctic ice, the team found seas warm enough to melt a large chunk of Antarctica's ice when atmospheric CO2 was only slightly higher than it is today.