Man loses eye after being lost in the health system; Greens choose Labour; National promises more cops for South Auckland; Labour launches first attack ad of "goofy" Key; New Zealand men's sperm count falls; and more
- The words "Lost in the system" are headlined by both the North Island metro papers this morning, pushing election news down the page. Three patients suffered serious medical problems after their referrals were lost between district health boards, the Health and Disability Commissioner has found. Commissioner Ron Paterson found that one man had a major stroke, another's prostrate cancer was left untreated for five months, while the third man lost an eye, all during avoidable delays caused by flawed referral systems. The Dominion Post reports that Mr Paterson is suggesting a national electronic system to manage health records.
- The Greens got their biggest headlines of the campaign so far by ruling out a coalition deal with National, saying the party's policies were "destructive". Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said her party was "too honest" to play the two major parties off against each other. In the New Zealand Herald, John Armstrong writes that National only beat Labour in one of the Greens' 12 coalition partner criteria (cleaning up the nation's waterways), but that by announcing their preference for Labour, the Greens have given permission to those wanting a Labour-led government to vote for the smaller party.
- National leads the policy headlines in the papers, promising an extra 300 police officers in South Auckland by the end of 2010–that's one in two of all police recruits. However Labour says that would mean taking police out of other regions. Meanwhile, in other promises, New Zealand First is promising to float shares in Kiwibank and channel the government's $55 billion annual business through it. Labour is promising $13 million for rest homes, and National $18m.
- Maurice Williamson, National's transport spokesman, is in trouble with his leader again for suggesting that tolls could cost motorists as much as $3 a trip. In August Williamson had quoted a figure of $5 a trip and been shot down by John Key who said around $2 was more likely. Yesterday Key said Williamson's $3 suggestion was "premature".
- Labour launched the campaign's first attack ad last night, with a parody ad featuring a goofy John Key, which one commentator has compared to Monty Python.
- The Press leads with news that police, city council and community leaders have agreed to bring Christchurch's bar lockdown forward one hour from 4am to 3am. It's part of a policy that is hoped will reduce violence and crime in central Christchurch by 20 percent.
- Finally, the quality of New Zealand men's sperm has halved in two decades, the most dramatic drop of any Western country. Experts say the fall represents a drop from "very good" to "good"quality and is probably due to lifestyle choices.