National News Brief, Monday March 23

Just "one or two" companies on board for nine-day fortnight; government to allow workers to cash in fourth week's leave; Kiwis believe in climate change; and Dunedin has a new mall

Just "one or two companies" have signed up for the nine-day fortnight, according to the lead in The Press. The paper quotes the Prime Minister saying yesterday that according "anecdotal feedback" few companies were yet interested in the scheme, but that was natural as most would see it only as a "last resort". The New Zealand Herald attributes those quotes to TVNZ's Q+A programme, adding that five polytechnics announced yesterday that they would offer free or low-cost training to those not working on their 10th day.

The DominionPost's front page takes the story further, reporting that 500 workers in two Auckland workplaces are poised to vote on whether to move to a nine-day fortnight. Both businesses were manufacturers and the employers were topping up the government's $62.50. The scheme starts Friday.

The Herald's lead says the government will let employers pay staff cash in lieu of a fourth week's holiday if staff agree. The plan has long been National party policy and the Prime Minister said yesterday that his government would push ahead with the plan depsite unions' concern that it's a back-door return to three weeks annual leave.

A Sustainable Business Council survey shows 64 percent of New Zealanders believe that the time for doubting whether humans were causing climate change has passed, but the number wanting the country to lead the world in combating it has fallen from 63 percent in 2007 to 42 percent.

Back in the DomPost, the parents of a young man who died during a bungled resuce are calling for an inquiry after the paper revealed that the head of Maritime New Zealand tried to restrict an investigation. The paper revealed a leaked email over the weekend in which an investigator said Maritime New Zealand's decision to restrain an inquiry was unprecedented.

Down south, the Otago Daily Times reports an "exceptionally busy" opening weekend for the Wall Street mall. The mall opened on Friday and one shopper questioned the council's decision to invest in it.