Vela family donation to United Future followed opposition to fishing restrictions; Greens want inquiry into Vela-New Zealand First relationship; banks promise to go easy on struggling mortgage-holders; Labour and National promise public spending to stimulate economy; Hell pizza's Sir Ed ads bad taste; and more
- United Future leader Peter Dunne was offered thousands of dollars by wealthy businessman Philip Vela after telling a Vela family adviser he would opposed international fishing restrictions, the DominionPost reports. Reporters Phil Kitchin and Oskar Alley draw from private papers showing that Dunne issued a press release calling on the government to "think again" about its support for a United Nations plan to protect fishing stocks within days of a meeting with Vela adviser and former National MP Ross Meurant.
Six days later Mr Meurant recommended that Mr Vela donate $5000 to Mr Dunne's party to recognise his "assistance", the documents show. By mid-October 1999, Mr Meurant told Mr Dunne "donation on way", the papers show.
Dunne confirmed a donation from the Vela family but said United Future "have never been in the business of selling votes for policy".
- The Greens are calling for a commission of inquiry into "cash for policy" allegations made by the DominionPost on Saturday against New Zealand First. The paper claimed that Meurant brokered donations from the Velas to New Zealand First, including use of a helicopter for election campaigning in 1999. Peters said, "Who would try and campaign out of a helicopter", but the New Zealand Herald has photos of Peters taking off in a helicopter from Gisborne airport.
- The New Zealand Herald leads with a promise from New Zealand banks to relax mortgage repayment conditions for struggling home-owners. In return, the government will guarantee their overseas debts. The guarantee is intended to encourage overseas lenders who may be wary of lending to a bank without protection and will encourage local banks to re-enter regular foreign markets. Banks have said they will help struggling mortgagees by changing the frequency of payment, offering longer terms or interest-only periods, for example.
- A search of Lake Wanaka for missing Haast pilot Morgan Saxton was to have resumed this morning, but the Otago Daily Times leads with the headline that there is "little hope" of finding him alive. Saxton, 31, was last seen flying his Robinson R22 helicopter at 6pm on Saturday.
- Both Labour and National are promoting significant spending as the way out of recession. Helen Clark says it will bring forward a large school building programme, rail upgrades, home energy-efficiency funding, and broadband expansion into the 2009/10 financial year. John Key would also accelerate school building and spend another $1.5b over the next four years on education operational spending, according to the Press.
- A Hell pizza halloween ad campaign that depicted Sir Ed Hillary as a ghoul rising from the dead to dance on his own grave has been criticised by the mountaineer's family. Peter Hillary says it was "extremely poor taste". A Hell spokesman said the ad was meant to be "light-hearted".