New Zealand celebrates Obama's inauguration; Offenders owe $78m in unpaid reparations; Winston Peters to stay on; White supremacist "mini-state" planned for north Canterbury; and more
- All the New Zealand papers feature President Obama's inauguration day on their front pages. The Herald has a special wrap-around which contains a report on the good-natured crowds in Washington from Foreign Editor Nicola Lamb and news that John Key doesn't expect to meet the new President until Apec meets in November, but is hoping for a White House visit this term. The DominionPost was at the US embassy to see acting ambassador David Keegan celebrate and Kadi Warner, a close friend of Obama's late mother, shed tears of joy. The Press looks forward to the closing of Guantanamo, the end of war in Iraq, and an US$825 billion stimulus package, adding comments from a Massey University speech expert that Obama's inauguration address ranks alongside John Kennedy's. The Otago Daily Times quotes international relations professor, Robert Patman, predicting "a dramatic restoration of America's international reputation" and progress on trade and defence links with New Zealand.
- In local news, the DomPost says National's $50 crime tax could be futile as offenders already owe their victims $78 million in unpaid reparation fines. Courts minister Georgina te Heuheu admits the government scheme will add to the large amount of unpaid debt.
- The Wellington paper also has a story on its inside pages saying that Winston Peters intends to "stay on" with New Zealand First, in the short-term at least. Deputy leader Peter Brown said it will be tough for the party to regain seats in parliament, but without Peters it would be "mission impossible".
- The Herald expects the leaders of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre to plead guilty today to the four charges laid against them by the Department of Labour last year following the death of six pupils and their teacher last April. The charges focus blame on the centre's obligations, not the actions of staff.
- The Press reports that white supremacist and former National Front leader Kyle Chapman intends to create a "unified mini-state" for "like-minded Europeans" in northern Canterbury. A leaked email reveals Chapman hopes to build a "protected community". Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove says it's "nutty stuff".
- The Otgao Daily Times says Health minister Tony Ryall won't rule out sacking Otago District Health Board chair Richard Thomson. After a meeting with Thomson yesterday and rumours a sacking is imminent, Ryall responded to speculation, saying "people are getting ahead of themselves". The Otago DHB was hit by a $16.9 million fraud case last year and is projecting a deficit this financial year.