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PRESS DIGEST-New Zealand newspapers - Oct. 1

WELLINGTON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Following are some of the lead stories from New Zealand metropolitan newspapers on Tuesday.

Stories may be taken from either the paper or Internet editions of the papers.

Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


DOMINION POST (www.stuff.co.nz)

John Key to take day-trip for Abbott catch-up: Prime Minister John Key will make a quick hop across the Tasman tomorrow to hold talks with newly elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but is not expecting anything concrete from the meeting.

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Air NZ engineers row nearer resolution: A bid by Air New Zealand to restructure its engineering operations so its engineers can undertake all forms of aircraft maintenance looks closer to resolution after lengthy negotiation, mediation and Employment Court intervention. The likely resolution would also resolve the threatened loss of more than 200 engineering jobs, including 180 jobs related to wide-bodied heavy maintenance work.

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Westland Milk payout overcomes drought: West Coast farmers managed to get through the drought-demoralising 2012-13 season with a respectable final payout of NZ$6.34 ($5.28) a kilogram of milk solids. Westland Milk Products' payout and 30 cents a kilogram retained was up 7 per cent on the opening season forecast as farmers rode out the worst drought at least in 70 years on the Coast.

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Ngai Tahu treaty payment top-up in dispute: South Island tribe Ngai Tahu has entered arbitration with the Crown over a multi-million dollar top-up to its NZ$170 million Treaty of Waitangi cash settlement agreed to 15 years ago. The Crown has already paid Ngai Tahu a NZ$68.5m top-up this year but the parties are in dispute over how much more the taxpayer should pay and have started arbitration.

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Tougher line to protect migrant workers: Reports of alleged migrant exploitation in Christchurch are being taken seriously with tougher penalties for taking advantage of vulnerable workers set to become law, the Government says. However, critics believe the Labour Inspectorate needs to be beefed up to weed out poor employers.

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NEW ZEALAND HERALD (www.nzherald.co.nz)

Ballot won't stop asset sales - PM: Prime Minister John Key says the result of next month's referendum on asset sales will be interesting but won't halt the sale of half stakes in state-owned power companies and Air New Zealand.

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New mortgage lending rules come into force: The Reserve Bank's new mortgage lending restrictions come into force today, restricting the number of high loan-to-value ratio mortgages banks can lend.

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Small business fears over new loan rules: A small business accounting specialist is warning new bank lending restrictions which come into force today will make it tougher for people to buy, grow and fund small businesses.

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Smaller co-ops outdo Fonterra with payouts: Hokitika dairy co-operative Westland Milk Products and Waikato's Tatua outperformed their far larger competitor, Fonterra, for farmer payouts over the 2012/13 year.

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By George, he's made a difference: New Zealand's opposition to becoming a republic has grown since the birth of Prince George, a Herald Digipoll survey shows, as fewer than one in three people now think we should break away from the monarchy.

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