PRESS DIGEST-New Zealand newspapers - Jan. 23

WELLINGTON Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:03pm EST

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WELLINGTON Jan 23 (Reuters) - Following are some of the lead stories from New Zealand metropolitan newspapers on Thursday.

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)

Election too close to call - poll: The first political poll of the year shows little change in the electoral landscape with the outcome of an election still too close to call and the minor parties playing a crucial role.

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Nats plan financial lures to turn around struggling schools: National is set to announce financial incentives to woo the best teachers to struggling schools. Prime Minister John Key will use his state of the nation speech today to put education on the election year agenda by announcing a raft of measures designed to lift student achievement.

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Seismic survey of Pegasus Basin to begin within days: Giant American oil and gas exploration company Anadarko's first round of seismic exploration in the Pegasus Basin off the Wellington coast is about to kick off.

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Lawyer says cola class action will be 'uphill battle': A planned class action against cola companies targeting New Zealand children with addictive sugary drinks will be an "uphill battle", a prominent class-action lawyer says.

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Port company to take lead role in lifting safety: Lyttelton Port says health and safety is at the top of its agenda following two deaths and a serious injury at port facilities.

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

Big banks 'stress test' mortgage borrowers: Major banks are "stress-testing" mortgage borrowers to ensure they will be able to meet repayments when higher interest rates hit.

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Police, spies seek recordings and transcripts from Dotcom author: Lawyers acting for the police and the Government Communications Security Bureau have requested recordings and transcripts made by the author of a book about Kim Dotcom.

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Dairying boost tipped for economy: Economists say a combination of rising international dairy prices and favourable farming conditions bode well for New Zealand's economic growth, which is already expected to outpace most other developed nations this year.

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Schools' principal pay carrot: Prime Minister John Key is today expected to unveil a plan that will allow the boards of some poorly performing schools to hire high performing principals with big pay incentives.

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Energy Mad surges on Amazon deal: Shares in lightbulb maker Energy Mad surged after it announced it had begun selling its energy-efficient products online in the United States through internet retail giant Amazon.

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