National News Brief Thursday, February 19

Pilots want 6.5m more airline passengers screened for weapons; National to overhaul "pro-tenant" law; Stephen Fry backs NZ internet campaign; gang numbers in Dunedin swell; and more

A government review of airline security has recommended searching an extra 6.5 million domestic passengers on flights to regional towns and cities, according to the DominionPost's front page this morning. Currently all passengers on planes of 90 seats or more are screened at a cost of $4.66, which is included in their ticket price. But the Air Line Pilots' Association backs the report's recommendation that all passengers and bags in planes with 19 or more seats be screened.

The New Zealand Herald leads with the government's plan to overhaul a tenancy bill proposed by Labour, which the paper says was "pro-tenant". The proposed law would have capped a tenant's liability for unintentional or non-reckless damage at one month's rent. That will be scrapped, along with plans to provide tenants with professional advocates in Tenancy Tribunal hearings.

Prime Minister John Key told parliament yesterday that any business bailouts would have to reach a "very high benchmark", including the protection of Kiwi jobs.  Meanwhile Bill English confirmed that this year's budget, on May 28, would be "tough", adding that he would be demanding savings of all government departments. New spending would be capped at $1.75 billion.

British actor Stephen Fry has joined the New Zealand protest against a new law that would require Internet Service Providers to shut down websites repeatedly accused of copyright infringement whether or not they have been found guilty. The "Guilt Upon Accusation" campaign asks supporters to black-out their websites and avatars in protest, and Fry, "the global heavyweight of Twitter" with 200,000 followers, has blacked out his avatar and changed his biography by ay of support. (Pundit is supporting the campaign).

Planning commissioners yesterday granted Meridian Energy permission to build a 29-turbine wind farm in Ohariu Valley, near Wellington, cutting two turbines from the energy company's proposal because they would be too noisy for neighbours. About 45 locals are expected to appeal the decision.

Finally, the Otago Daily Times reports that, "No part of Dunedin remains untouched as gang numbers in the city swell". Police say violent incidents have increased in recent weeks as Black Power members have moved to the city and the Mongrel Mob has increased its recruiting in response.