National News Brief, Wednesday November 5

Police clear New Zealand First over $80,000 donation; Bill English thinks Barack  Obama too "moralistic"; Maori Party promotes $500 Christmas gift for poor; Complaint over Rodney Hide's yellow jacket made by ACT supporter; speculation over APN buyer; and more

  • Police have cleared New Zealand First of criminal wrongdoing, despite its failure to declare $80,000 in donations from the Spencer Trust in its 2007 electoral returns. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told the Herald that thousands of hours had been "wasted" by police, the SFO and the Electoral Commission on "those baseless allegations", adding he was confident his party would "get up on Saturday night".
  • Another covert tape from National's August party conference has been released to TV3, this time showing that deputy leader Bill English is worried that "[Presidential candidate Barack] Obama and Europe" are too "moralistic about international relations". English added that President George Bush should put "a different window dressing" on his decisions, but that "there still needs [to be] someone willing to pull the trigger". Prime Minister Helen Clark says the recording reveals National's militarism. National leader John Key predicted more "dirty tricks" in the dying days of the campaign, with suggestions a tape featuring Key is still to be made public.
  • The Maori Party wants a $500 tax-free payment to pensioners and poor families to help them through the Christmas period, the Otago Daily Times reports. While details hadn't been confirmed, it was estimated to cost $136 million and would be aimed at New Zealanders on incomes of less than $25,000 p.a.
  • Rodney Hide's anger at an electoral commission investigation into his trademark yellow jacket is unravelling after it was revealed the complainant is an ACT party loyalist. The DominionPost front page story reports that Hide denies a jack-up, but says the man who dobbed him in is a 21 year-old student who appears on his own blog in an ACT T-shirt.
  • The Press features a central Christchurch rally calling for tougher sentences for murderers. Many of the hundreds marching carried large pictures of their lost loved ones.
  • New Zealand's NZX-50 index fell by 8.7 percent in October, but that was better than most countries. Equity markets worldwide suffered the worst month on record. The global average decline was 20.7 percent during the month.