National News Brief, Thursday September 25

Maori Party complain of pressure in privileges committee vote; tuberculosis scare at Auckland City Hospital; Fonterra cuts payout, wary of joint ventures; retiring MPs; workers waste time online; and more

  • Fonterra will test their milk products for "every conceivable poison" after the Chinese milk scandal resulting in the deaths of four babies and illness of thousands more. Chief executive Andrew Ferrier said yesterday that the joint venture with San Lu (Fonterra owns 43 percent but does not share control of the company) had made Fonterra wary of such deals. At the same time Fonterra has cut its forecast payout for next year's milk solids by more than a $1/kg, reflecting falling global dairy prices.
  • Four National MPs retired from Parliament yesterday. The Dominon Post said Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson attracted attention for his farewell "speech", a final dig at rival Winston Peters. Clarkson, known for making inappropriate comments about his testicles and Muslim women in his three years in Parliament, held up a white board printed with the words "bye bye". The Otago Daily Times extracted popular Dunedin MP Katharine Rich's speech. She said one of her best political memories was supporting Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill. "Liberal conservatives have always had a role in tempering the harder edges of conservative politics and encouraging change, but also acting as a cautionary voice in times of upheaval." Long-serving MP Clem Simich and List MP Mark Blumsky also stepped down yesterday.