Tainted milk complaints as early as last December; Winston is censured; John Key admits TranzRail mistake; free trade deal with US could take years to benefit NZ; difficult students cost big; and more
- Fonterra subsidiary San Lu covered up the tainted powdered milk scandal for eight months, according to a Chinese investigation. The Herald's lead story says San Lu received complaints about the melamine-contaminated milk last December. Four babies have died and nearly 13,000 have been hospitalised. Fonterra yesterday repeated its stance that it didn't know about the problem until August.
- Winston Peters was officially censured by Parliament last night but continues to claim he did not know about Owen Glenn's $100,000 donation. The privileges committee found that Mr Peters was aware of the donation and should have declared it. Mr Peters said, "The court that I will stand before is on Saturday 8th of November, and I'll place my faith in the people of New Zealand to decide the outcome of this case." Prime Minister Helen Clark said the matter had not been "satisfactorily resolved one way or the other". The Dominion Post reported that Mr Peters is one of just four MPs to be censured by Parliament since 1975. According to The Press' editorial, Mr Peters should be sacked.
- National leader John Key yesterday admitted that he should have revealed his ownership of TranzRail shares earlier and should not have held on to the shares as long as he did after entering Parliament. His family trust owned up to 100,000 TranzRail shares in 2003 when Mr Key was associate transport spokesman for National. The Herald's John Armstrong says the revelation is not the "king hit" Labour would have hoped for. Labour should let the public decide for themselves what Mr Key's admission means. However, "The fact that Key is mucking things up now is not a good prognosis for his avoiding mistakes in the white-hot heat of the formal four-week election campaign where the pressure is such that lapses are easily made. As Labour's Michael Cullen observed yesterday, Key's demeanour in the One News grab was that of a child whose hand has been caught rifling through the cookie jar."
- The free trade deal with the United States could take years to benefit New Zealand and will not initially be worth the $1 billion a year Prime Minister Helen Clark spoke of, according to Business New Zealand. Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly told the Dominion Post it could take up to two years to hammer out a good deal with the US.
- Students with behavioural problems cost the education system 10 times as much as trouble-free students, according to a government report. The Press also reports that the findings, tabled in Parliament yesterday included these troubling statistics: 41% of teachers were anxious about the severe behaviour of students; 28% said it made their general health poorer; 32% said that it undermined their confidence; 9% said they were frightened of students with severe behaviour.
- Rachel Hunter's new clothing line for The Warehouse goes on sale today. It is called Rachel and is part of the Warehouse's Design for Everyone range which launched earlier this year with home accessories by designers Peter Reid and Graham Dickie of Republic Home.