New Zealand markets weather Lehman Bros. collapse; Nats press ahead with tax cut plans; contaminated milk kills second baby in China; ambulance officers to treat patients at home; Ryall reminds health board: limit the good news; and more...
New Zealand markets were amongst the first to trade after yesterday's historic news of Lehman Brothers' collapse and Bank of America's buy-out of Merrill Lynch. The Herald says the NZX50 ended the day "with little more than a bruising", down 1.26%, but former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan says the financial crisis "is still not resolved". The Dominion Post says government agencies are monitoring international markets, quoting finance minister Michael Cullen saying "there is concern" about what further trading will bring.
Despite that global financial turmoil, the Herald's lead story says National plans to push ahead with tax cuts "around expectations" of $50 per week. That means National is happy to live with short-term cash deficits, political reporter Claire Trevett writes. Cullen warns that the government's deficit is worsening, so "any govenrment moving forward has to be very careful". He said Key was a money-market "gambler" who oculdn't be trusted with the public purse.
The death of a second Chinese baby from poisoned infant formula leads The Press. Fonterra, which owns a 43% share of San Lu, the Chinese dairy company that makes the formula, has blamed the contamination on sabotage. More than 1250 babies have fallen ill. The Herald reports that two brothers have been arrested, accused of adding melamine to milk to make it appear higher in protein. The pair own a milk collection plant in Hebei province and sell about three tonnes a day.
The Otago Daily Times says a proposal to allow ambulance paramedics to treat patients in their homes would be of significant benefit for the elderly and rural communities. The government's draft ambulance strategy suggests paramedics be trained to treat people on site rather than taking them into over-crowded emergency departments. The Wellington Free Ambulance Service tells the DomPost that could save around 70% of patients an unnecessary trip to hospital.
National's health spokesman Tony Ryall has written to the Auckland District Health Board to "remind" them not to report too much good news during the election campaign, warning it would become "a significant political issue" if it did. Health Minister David Cunliffe called the letter "the most craven act of political interference that I have ever witnessed".
The Solicitor-General yesterday called the Fairfax newspapers' decision to publish details of police surveillance of suspected terrorism activity in the Ureweras "serious and inexcusable". Fairfax and DomPost editor Tim Pankhurst are accused of contempt of court and will today begin their defence, with Pankhurst taking the stand to explain his editorial policy.
Winston Peters' lawyer Brian Henry will today appear before the privileges committee under pressure to explain discrepencies between his earlier evidence and that given by Owen Glenn last week. The Herald's Audrey Young writes that, "For both versions to be correct, Mr Glenn had to have been talking to someone else on December 14, 2005, at exactly the same time as he was talking to Mr Peters."
And finally, Carla Kardno's father says he has forgiven the man who killed his 13-year-old daughter in 1990 and hopes that Paul Dally will one day be able to rebuild his life. Dally has served almost 19 years in prison and was yesterday denined parole for the eighth time.