National News Brief Wednesday, February 18

Corrections boss could lose job; cheaper flights but fewer of them; potential bailout for F&P--but what of other struggling companies?; brawl at Hutt Valley High; more very young fathers; daily news readership "steady"

Department of Corrections boss Barry Matthews may lose his job after a critical Auditor-General's report on the parole system, reports the Herald. Minister of Corrections Judith Collins yesterday refused to express confidence in Mr Matthews. The report expressed concern for public safety because paroled offenders are not being properly monitored, including regular visits in their homes.

Domestic air ticket prices will fall thanks to Jetstar's entry into the market, but there will be fewer flights to choose from, reports the Dominion Post. Qantas has dropped out of the domestic market in favour of its subsidiary Jetstar. The Rotorua-Christchurch route is to be dropped and there will be fewer Wellington flights. Jetstar launched its new service yesterday with the sale of 15,000 $1-fares.

The Government has sought advice on the potential bailout of Fisher and Paykel Appliances, reports the Herald. This has prompted calls for Prime Minister John Key to reveal the criteria for corporate bailouts. Labour leader Phil Goff said if the Government were to help one company it should set out "clear, consistent and fair reasons" for doing so.

A brawl at Hutt Valley High School yesterday has prompted tighter security at the school, reports the Dominion Post. A group of youths, allegedly wearing gang colours and looking for a pupil who had fought with one of their friends earlier in the day, started the fight on the school field. It took 12 police officers to break it up.

The number of fathers aged 15 and under is on the increase, reports the Press. New figures from Statistics New Zealand show that in 2007, there were 15 new fathers aged under 15, up from four in 2006, and a record 54 15-year-old fathers in 2007.

Daily newspaper readership is "steady", despite the proliferation of online media outlets, reports the Dominion Post. The latest figures from Nielsen show that nationally newspaper readership fell a minimal 0.6 percent in 2008 with gains experienced by the Dominion Post (1.2 percent) and Waikato Times (10.5 percent). Herald readership dropped 0.3 percent and the Press readership dropped 4.7 percent.