Checkpoint. 2014-01-29. 17:00-18:00.

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Checkpoint is a drive-time news and current affairs programme on Radio New Zealand National. It broadcasts nationwide every weekday evening for two hours and covers the day’s major national and international stories, as well as business, sport and Māori news. This recording covers the first hour. The following rundown is supplied from the broadcaster’s news system:

Checkpoint FOR WEDNESDAY 29 JANUARY 2014
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1700 to 1707 NEWS
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An Auckland blogger who called a West Coast man "feral" with his family was still mourning his death, is now accusing the man's mother of making death threats. But Cameron Slater says he won't complain to the police about the mother, Joe Hall, saying he is cutting her some slack because she is so emotional. Joe Hall rejects his accusation. However Cameron Slater HAS filed a complaint with the police this afternoon about other death threats, which the police say they are assessing. Mr Slater, whose blog also publicised Auckland mayor Len Brown's extramarital affair, is refusing to apologise to Joe Hall. She says she wants to meet him - we'll hear from her shortly Her son 26 year old Judd died when a speeding car he was a passenger in smashed into a Greymouth house on Friday night. She has lost four sons in accidents. I asked Cameron Slater what he knew about Judd Hall before he called him 'feral' on his blog.

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Joe Hall says the first she knew was when she read an article in the Greymouth Star yesterday that quoted Slater's blog line calling her dead son 'feral'.

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Changing the country's flag is back up for debate, with John Key raising the possibility of holding a referendum on that during this year's election. His idea's been broadly welcomed across the political spectrum. Here's our political reporter, Craig McCulloch.

PKG

A coroner speaks of panic, confusion and shock after a teenage girl driving a mini stock car smashed into a wall and died at the Kaikohe Speedway. Samantha Body-Mouat was just 15 and driving for the Bay Park Speedway team when she was killed in April 2010. The Kaikohe track had an odd shape, and among the coroner's recommendations is for better design specifications on speedway tracks, as well as mandatory helmets and neck braces for young drivers. The Tauranga teenager was competing in the Easter Stampede when she turned a bend known as "cemetery corner", went up on two right wheels and then hit into a concrete wall. She died from head and spinal injuries on impact. Coroner Brandt Shortland also wants the two racing associations, Speedway New Zealand and Circle track racing association or CTRA, to agree on safety protocols. The president of Speedway New Zealand David Jones joins us now.

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1720 TRAILS AND BUSINESS with Jenny Ruth
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President Obama has delivered his sixth State of the Union address to congress, trumpeting the country's return to economic supremecy. In the speech, the US leader vowed to use his executive powers to sidestep Republican roadblocks on Capitol Hill, which have stumped key reforms such as immigration and gun control. He also said under his leadership, Americans have worked their way back to a becoming a global financial powerhouse.

CUT

Our correspondent in Washington, Simon Marks, says Mr Obama ended his speech in an attempt to unify the House.

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17.30 HEADLINES
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Parliament has started election year with a fiery exchange between leaders during the first Question Time. The Prime Minister is using every opportunity to attack David Cunliffe's credibility, though Mr Cunliffe is giving as good as he gets. Here's our political reporter, Chris Bramwell.

PKG

Our political editor Brent Edwards was also in Parliament for Question Time.

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An Australian woman has just learnt her mother has been a wanted criminal for two decades, since kidnapping her at birth, and is now facing extradition. Samantha Geldenhuys (GELD-en-heiss) was born in South Carolina as Savanna Todd. But when her birth father won custody in the early 1990s, her mother, Lee Barnett, fled to South Africa, New Zealand, then Queensland, and changed her name to Alex Geldenhuys. A television programme across the Tasman last night aired the video message she left her friends and family when she fled, where she brands the father evil and promises on her life to take care of Savanna. Her daughter told the TV programme her mother doesn't deserve to be extradited.

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Now Samantha Geldenhuys's mother has been caught and charged with international parental kidnapping and passport violations. We're joined by Today Tonight reporter Laura Sparkes.

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17.45 MANU KORIHI with Eru Rerekura

Kia ora, good evening,

A Maori sovereignty group says if a new flag is created for the country, part of it should represent tangata whenua.

The Prime Minister, John Key has raised the prospect of holding a referendum on changing the national symbol during this year's election.

Te Ata Tino Toa is pushing for schools and prisons with Maori focus units to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.

A spokesperson for Te Ata Tino Toa, Te Ao Pritchard, says any new flag would need to represent all cultures in New Zealand.

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Te Ao Pritchard of Te Ata Tino Toa.

The Prime Minister, John Key, says while it's not the number one issue, he'll consult his senior ministers to decide whether to seek public opinion.

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A Maori leader in the Forest Industry, Victor Goldsmith, is welcoming a major sector-lead review into forestry deaths, and is urging the panel to consult with Maori.

An independent panel has launched a major review into the high number of recent injuries and deaths in the sector.

The review guidelines were discussed with groups such as the Forest Owners Association, Council of Trades Unions and government agencies.

The director of Ngati Porou Whanui Forests, Victor Goldsmith, says it appears Maori organisations have not been consulted so far, and that needs to change.

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Victor Goldsmith says Maori will continue to become more influential in the forestry sector.

Forest Owners' Association says the panel will decide how to run the review, but Maori groups will be called on for input during the process.

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The Labour MP, Rino Tirikatene, is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira, over his time away from Parliament.

His 68 days of approved leave from the House has been criticised by the Prime Minister, John Key.

But his absence is winning support from the MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene.

He says Hone Harawira is a hard-working Maori electorate MP, and is a one-man band.

Rino Tirikatene says Hone Harawira attended the first Maori Affairs Select Committee of the year, where he was gently teased about the media attention over his time off from Parliament.

Rino Tirikatene says Maori electorates are vast - and he can fit four European countries into his.

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Three new members have been appointed on to the Waikato River Authority, the joint Crown-iwi body in charge of looking after the health and well-being of the awa.

Three members, two of them iwi appointed, retired late last year.

They have been replaced by Traci Houpapa, who'll represent the Crown, while Vanessa Eparaima of Raukawa and Weo Maag of Ngati Maniapoto are the iwi representatives.

The Authority plans to support 250-million dollars worth of programmes to clean up the waterway.

That's Te Manu Korihi news, I'll have a further bulletin in an hour.

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An investigation will start next month into forestry company safety but by the industry itself, not by the Government which has previously ruled one out. Ten forestry workers died on the job last year, and more than 150 were seriously injured. The Labour Minister, Simon Bridges, says he wants the inquiry to report back swiftly so the Government can consider its findings. Mike Cosman is on the inquiry panel.

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A Petone school chairperson says schools need to tell parents exactly how they're making sure their children are safe. This follows an official finding that a third of schools are at risk of hiring or failing to detect staff who are a danger to students, and risk not keeping students safe while complaints are investigated. Checkpoint covered this story in depth yesterday but no one - not the Education Review Office which did the survey, nor the Ministry of Education nor the Minister of Education - could tell us how that third of schools will now make sure every one on their staff is NOT a risk. Ian Burney reports.

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Ukraine's Prime Minister and his entire cabinet have resigned and the government has repealed anti-protest laws which only went into force last week. But this may not satisfy the demands of demonstrators who've been out on the streets since last November. The ABC's Ashleigh Hall reports :

PKG

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Presenter: Susie Ferguson
Editor: Phil Pennington
Deputy editor: Mei Yeoh
Producers: Cushla Norman, Chris Gilbert

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Year 2014

Reference number 251753

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Ngā Taonga Korero Collection

Genre Radio news programs
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Ferguson, Susie, Presenter
Radio New Zealand National, Broadcaster

Duration 01:00:00

Date 29 Jan 2014