PRESS DIGEST-New Zealand newspapers - July 19

WELLINGTON, July 19 Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:10pm EDT

WELLINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - Following are some of the lead stories from New Zealand metropolitan newspapers on Friday.

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)

Benefit fraud swoop nets thousands: More than 3000 alleged welfare cheats receiving a total of NZ$33.7 million ($26.58 million) a year have been caught in the past six months.

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Banking profits on the rise: Bank profits continue to climb, despite intense competition putting the squeeze on margins. KPMG's latest quarterly Financial Institutions Performance Survey shows combined profits of nine local banks rose 13 per cent in the March quarter to NZ$971 million, compared with the previous three months. The previous quarter's NZ$860 million haul was also up 11 percent.

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Rain leaves cathedral tubes soggy: The cardboard cathedral has gone wrinkly in the rain. A number of cardboard columns that give the transitional cathedral its name have wrinkled and discoloured after recent rain.

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Containers provide all home comforts: The first shipping container village for rebuild workers - complete with PlayStation 3s and cleaners - will open in Addington later this year. Christchurch company Edifice says its container units, known as pods, are "selling well" and inquiries from prospective tenants are received daily.

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Veto of tunnel plan may benefit monorail: The backers of a proposed monorail tourist attraction through the back country between Queenstown and Te Anau say axing a competing tunnel plan could benefit their NZ$200 million proposal.

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

State analyst casts doubt on SkyCity venture: A State sector financial whiz hired to check SkyCity's sums attacked the basis underpinning the "independent" report used by the Government to justify the convention centre deal.

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Air NZ up with play on latest Dreamliner fire: Air New Zealand says Boeing has kept it updated on the incident in which an Ethiopian Airways Boeing 787 was damaged by fire while parked at Heathrow.

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Heartland seeks low-ball rule changes: Heartland New Zealand - whose investors are the latest target of Australian company Washington Securities - wants changes made to rules on low-ball share offers.

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Govt finds 3000 dole 'cheaters': The Government claims it has detected thousands of welfare fraudsters who earned too much while on a benefit, though the Labour Opposition is questioning how many have actually committed fraud.

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Big pay gap angers expert: The Government should stop giving contracts - and knighthoods - to companies that pay their bosses more than three times their lowest-paid workers, an economist has suggested.

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($1 = 1.2677 New Zealand dollars)