Checkpoint. 2001-03-21

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The political crisis continues in Papua New Guinea, with the prime minister again refusing to meet with rebel soldiers wanting to deliver a petition opposing defence force reforms. Sir Mekere Morauta has twice declined to meet face-to-face with the rebel soldiers, who want assurances that the Government's plans to cut back the defence force have been canned for good. About 400 troops rioted yesterday after the prime minister failed to show. Among those injured was AAP correspondent Kevin Ricketts - he told me that after the angry demonstration, the soldiers expected the prime minister to front up today. PREREC
Businesses are to be allowed more generous tax deductions for research and development. The changes have been announced by the Finance Minister Micheal [illegible] - the new tax laws take effect from April and are expected to save companies 12 million dollars over the next two years. Research is already tax deductible - the new laws allow more development to be tax deductable and clarifies the current confusion. Joining us now is Jim O'Neill from the New Zealand Information Technology Association. LIVE
Meanwhile, an HIV drug researched and developed in New Zealand has been given the go-ahead by the United States Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials. That means the drug, developed over the past six years by the Auckland-based biotechnology company Virionyx (viree-on-x) Corporation, can now be tested on people with the disease. But as Sarah Gregory reports, the treatment has many more hurdles before it is proven to be an effective treatment for HIV. PKGE
As an Airforce investigation team heads to Perth to look into yesterday's Skyhawk crash off Western Australia, an eyewitness has come forward describing [illegible] Skyhawk incident in New Zealand as a close escape from death. Two Skyhawks were on a low flying exercise near Murchison when one of the pilots hit a high voltage power line in the Buller Gorge, damaging the tail and bringing the line down. Westport man Warren Buchanan who was at a picnic ground in the Gorge, told me he still can't quite believe what happened. PREREC
The waiting list for state housing continues to grow, with more than nine thousand people now on the waiting list.
Since income related rents were introduced three months ago, there has been a slow down in the number of vacant houses available. Our social issues correspondent Shona Geary reports. PKGE
Health officials have announced they're allowing more supervised outings for two HIV-positive men who've been held in isolation in Christchurch since 1999. The men have had unprotected sex with people who did not know the pair were carrying the Aids virus - both are being held under a section of the Health Act designed to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. One of the men, Christopher Truscott, has already absconded four times from the facility where he has been held since November, 1999. Canterbury's Medical Officer of Health, Mel Brieseman (Pron: Breeze-min) says it is hoped that allowing Truscott out more will ease his frustration at being kept in isolation. PREREC
The New Zealand sharemarket has suffered a mild dose of Wall Street flu, shedding more than one percent in value. The fall is apparently in response to weaker trading on Wall Street following the United States central bank's decision to cut interest rates as the American economy weakens. The US Federal Reserve is already signalling further cuts may be needed to prevent the world's most powerful economy from stalling. The cuts will have broad ramifications for this country - to discuss developments, I'm joined now by our Economics Correspondent, Stephen Harris. LIVE
Sir Michael Hardie Boys was farewelled as Governor General at parliament today, after five years in the job.
A former appeal court Judge, Sir Michael's distinguished legal background was a [illegible] factor in his appointment to overseeing the transition to MMP, and the potential constitutional implications of the change of political system. It was a day of pomp and ceremony at parliament, where our reporter Clare Sziranyi followed events. PKGE
The public is being asked for its views on how New Zealand's oceans should be managed. Former Governor General, Dame Catherine Tizard, has been appointed to head a committee of eight experts, which will start developing an Oceans Policy. The Cabinet Minister responsible, Pete Hodgson, says he's concerned at increased conflict between competing ocean users, such as fishing, transport, mining and tourism. I asked him for an example of such conflict. PREREC
The Auckland City Council may consider formally adopting the new slogan 'Auckland A' being suggested as a marketing brand for the city. The slogan was unveiled for the Auckland Arts Festival and the Mayor Christine Fletcher says the council could look at officially using the phrase. But as Kirsty Jones reports, not all Aucklanders believe the slogan deserves an A. PKGE
The president of the Professional Fishing Guides Association is rejecting a [illegible] for higher fishing licence fees for overseas tourists. The Fish and Game Council's director Bryce Johnson says locals anglers should get preferential treatment because they have paid to develop and maintain back country fisheries and now they feel forced out by well-heeled foreigners.
But the president of the Professional Fishing Guides Association, Frank Murphy, is against the idea. PREREC

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Year 2001

Reference number 143822

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Date 21 Mar 2001

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