National News Brief, Monday September 8

    House prices drop 4.5% nationwide; Crucial meat industry vote today; Fishermen dead after carbon monxide poisoning; New Zealand backs off India-US nuke ban; and more...

            • Falling house values are discussed by the papers this morning - looking at Quotable Value’s for the year to August some see stability, some slump. From south to north, the Otago Daily Times says that Dunedin prices fell by an average 7.8%, compared to the national decline of 4.5%, while Queenstown-Lakes properties were down 3.4%. Quotable Value Otago Southland area manager David Paterson expects the Dunedin decline to hit “double digits” before it improves. The Press reports a 5.8% drop in Christchurch market values, and that worse news may be yet to come. In Wellington, The Dominion Post says, house values fell 3.8%, but QV predicts "a much more stable market" after Christmas. Hamilton and Palmerston North saw the biggest drops nationally at 8.5% and 8.1% respectively. Only Southland shows growth with 11%.
            • Once they've finished celebrating their property price increases, Southland farmers - along with others - will be deciding the future of the meat industry at a meeting in Dunedin today. The question is whether Silver Fern Farms' shareholders will let the company form a "pasture-to-plate" partnership with PGG Wrightson. Informed observers say support is between 70-80%, with 75% needed to proceed.
            • The New Zealand Herald says New Zealand First's auditor had concerns in May about whether an $80,000 donation channelled through eight separate companies should have been declared to election officials. The Electoral Commission will discuss the $80,000 donation, which the Herald suggests came from the Vela brothers, and its legal implications at its weekly meeting today. Owen Glenn will appear before the privileges committee tomorrow and Peters on Wednesday.
            • The death of two fisherman from carbon monoxide poisoning is also on the front pages this morning. Three men sharing a small cabin near Raglan took a charcoal barbecue inside with them to keep warm on Saturday night and it sucked the oxygen from the air. Two men died in their beds, but a "freak fall" from a top bunk allowed a third man to avoid the worst of the fumes. He's fighting for his life in North Shore hospital.
            • Just days after being praised by the New York Times for its principled opposition, the New Zealand government has backed a one-off waiver allowing India to buy nuclear technology off the United states. Phil Goff says India dealth with its concerns to a "significant degree", but New Zealand came under pressure from Condoleezza Rice when she visited recently.