National News Brief, Friday September 5

More trouble for Winston Peters; Labour gains ground; National re-thinks school zoning; RWC games to be shared around, and more

    • The Winston Peters saga gets even more complicated with news that New Zealand First received an $80,000 donation last December which it gave to charity in an effort to repay the $158,000 the Auditor-General found it had wrongfully spent in 2007. The Herald also reports that ACT leader Rodney Hide made a complaint to police about the $80,000 donation yesterday. In further donation news, billionaire Owen Glenn is flying in from Monaco next week to testify to the priviledges committee about the donation he says Winston Peters personally asked him to make to New Zealand First.
    • National wants to "tweak" school zoning rules if it leads the next government. The Press' front page features eduction spokeswoman Anne Tolley saying that zoning won't go altogether under National policy, but "we certainly think that there needs to be a bit more flexibility". One example is that families could be sure to send siblings to the same school even if they move out of zone.
    • Despite the furore, the latest New Zealand Morgan poll shows that Labour has gained four points, bringing it to 38 per cent support, while National's lead has slipped 6.5 points to 44.5 per cent.
    • Once again, patients may be parked in corridors to alleviate pressure on wards at a New Zealand hospital. This time, it's Wellington Hospital. The Emergency Department is so choked with patients they are spending up to 20 hours waiting for treatment.
    • The Otago Daily Times reports that Otago District Health Board is going to have to cut costs after budgeting for an estimated $7.3 million deficit. Chief executive Brian Rousseau told the ODT, "Our books don't balance at the moment and that is why we are still engaging with the Ministry of Health to say: `What is the solution'."
    • The Dominion Post's front page features a big splash on the Kaye Stewart murder mystery. The Wellington woman disappeared in 2005 and police say they are now 80 per cent certain she was murdered. They are interviewing psychics from the hugely popular and much-criticised television programme Sensing Murder for help on the case.