20 Dec 2010

Morning Report: local papers

7:17 am on 20 December 2010

Monday's headlines: US wanted to send Guantanamo Bay inmates to New Zealand in 2005; Christchurch City Council paying $420,000 p/a for car parks; weather outlook for Christmas not too bright.

NZ Herald

The New Zealand Herald went visiting Mark Hotchin at his home on Queensland's Gold Coast.

The paper says the former Hanover boss got 'hot and bothered' when its staff came calling at the three storey mansion overlooking Mermaid Beach.

Wikileaks documents are reported to show that the United States wanted to send a group of Guantanamo Bay inmates to New Zealand in 2005.

Dominion Post

The Dominion Post leads with Wikileaks and says senior Defence Ministry officials were secretly briefing the United States embassy on Cabinet discussions about the Iraq war.

One of nearly 1500 secret US cables obtained outlines Cabinet decisions in which Helen Clark's government did an about-turn on sending troops to Iraq because of fears Fonterra would miss out on lucrative oil for food contracts.

Also on the front page: Wellington rates could rise by 8% unless the council slashes services and increases fees

The weather outlook for Christmas is not too bright: forecaster Bob McDavitt says there's plenty more wet weather in store for the lower North Island before Christmas Day.

The Press

The Press says that in a deal done behind closed doors, Christchurch City Council has paid nearly $1 million upfront and is spending another $420,000 per year for car parks around its new civic headquarters.

Police say a truck driver was lucky to survive after he was flung from his seat and just missed being crushed in a crash that closed Lewis Pass on Saturday.

The truck and trailer unit was carrying a $1 million, 50-tonne loader from Christchurch to the Stockton coalmine on the West Coast.

ODT

The Otago Daily Times says an extreme makeover to transform the former Dunedin chief post office into a 170-bedroom luxury hotel will begin early next year.

Back to Wikileaks again: disgraced former public servant Mary Anne Thompson is said to have been regarded by the US Embassy in Wellington as an 'invaluable behind the scenes' contact.