Boy racers "sick of being picked on", but face new laws; Bonnie and Clyde couple captured; Dr Key does "health check" on banks; "modest" minimum wage increase planned; RMA changes announced today
Boy racers are vexing the daily papers – and politicians – this morning, after a lone police officer was attacked in Christchurch last Friday. The Press leads with the boy racers' point of view, saying the young men were "sick of being picked on" and provoked by mayor Bob Parker saying they run "like cockroaches" when they see flashing lights. "Did they expect no retaliation?" asked an unnamed 21 year-old driver. The DominionPost reports that Police minister Judith Collins has suggested crushing the cars of repeat offenders, but Prime Minister John Key prefers stripping boy racers of their licences. The Herald says police want a new "cease and desist" law so they can issue orders to people who use their cars in a way that "distressed the public". Whatever the government decides, new law should be implemented within six months.
The Otago Daily Times leads with a shot fired at police near Palmerston yesterday, as a couple on the run with two young children tried to evade capture. Police had followed the couple from Oamaru and set up road spikes south of Palmerston. But the man fired at police and the woman turned their stolen Land Rover around, before eventually crashing into a roadside paddock. The Herald splashes the story across its front page, saying the "Bonnie and Clyde fugitives" had started their "crime spree" after leaving their Palmerston North home on January 21, allegedly committing crimes in Christchurch, Hamner Springs, Ashburton and Timaru.
The DomPost's lead says that ACC paid out an average of $7 million a month to patients who suffered from medical misadventure or treatment injuries. The number of medical claims had increased since 2005, when the law was changed to be more transparent, "meaning claimants no longer had to prove an error has been made". The paper says payout may have topped $80m last year.
John Key has revealed he had a series of meetings with the heads of the Australian-owned banks last week to check on their health and ensure they were passing on interest rate cuts. Key says the bankers told him they had passed on 400 basis points of the 475 cut since July last year, and "when you look at where they are raising money, that is probably about right". However he urged them to cut interest rates on credit cards.
The government yesterday signalled that "a modest increase" to the minimum wage was in the pipeline, according to the DomPost. John Key ruled out raising the wage from $12 to $15 and hour as urged by Labour and unions, delaying an expected decision until next week. But he added that, "the minimum wage is important ... people need to live and meet their liabilities."
Colin Espiner in The Press says the government will announce major changes to the Resource Management Act after this morning National caucus meeting. Projects of national importance are expected to get "priority consenting", while others will bypass local councils. Landowners whose property is obtained under the Public Works Act can expect more generous compensation and a new Environmental Protection Authority could be established. Meanwhile Bill English flies to Australia to discuss the global recession with counterpart Wayne Swan.
Finally, the New Zealand-Australia cricket series has got "a bit of juice", with the Aussie players fuming at Daniel Vettori's inference that wicketkeeper Brad Haddin cheated in the first one-dayer by knocking the bails off the stumps with is gloves to dismiss Neil Broom.