6 Feb 2014

Morning Report: local papers

6:59 am on 6 February 2014

Thursday's headlines: Dead fish thrown at Prime Minister at Waitangi; application to demolish applied to demolish Public Trust Office heritage building in Christchurch; fraudster leaves prison after four years.

NZ Herald

'$18m fraudster wins freedom, but loses wife' is the headline in The New Zealand Herald. Stephen Versalko has been granted bail after four years in prison for one of New Zealand's biggest fraud cases.

The paper says his wife left him for someone else after it emerged he spent much of the stolen money on prostitutes.

For its Waitangi Day coverage, the paper has asked a number of New Zealander's what the day means for them.

Waikato Times

The Waikato Times reports that there is no Waitangi Day holiday for the region's top private schools with St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton and St Peter's School in Cambridge electing to stay open.

The principal of St Paul's told the paper the holiday was too close to the beginning of the term and closing was ''disruptive''.

Mick Conroy, 90, is pictured on the golf course after he recorded a score lower than his age for the second time this year.

Dominion Post

The Dominion Post leads with a Waitangi Day protest over Government plans to seize the ancestral land of novelist Patricia Grace.

A group of 30 writers, academics and Maori leaders have written an open letter to the Prime Minister saying the move breaches the Treaty of Waitangi.

The paper also reports on the parole hearing of convicted fraudster Stephen Versalko which found him to be "deeply remorseful and ashamed" of his crimes.

The Press

The Press has a special Waitangi Day edition and reports that mining is the hot topic this year.

The paper says fears over exploratory mining punctuated events at Waitangi on Wednesday as politicians and activists walked on to the marae. Protesters provided the only controversy, heckling the Prime Minister and throwing dead fish in his way as he left.

In other news: a Christchurch businessman has applied to demolish the Public Trust Office building in the central city which is heritage-listed.


The Otago Daily Times reports on a coroner's inquest into the death of a Portobello man who fell into the Papanui Inlet and drowned last year. It was revealed that five minutes before he fell, Robert Clearwater, 75, had talked about wearing a life jacket the next time he went fishing.

A Queenstown taxi driver is reported to be recovering after he was held down by two men, while another stole $700 from the cab.