Another serious "planking" injury in Australia, KFC staff complaining their workload has increased 10 fold since the double down burger was introduced and Budget 2011 previews are the most popular stories being read online at 9am on Thursday. Other popular stories include a central Christchurch hotel being ransacked by looters and venues run by Vbase may be brought back under direct Christchurch City Council control.  Media coverage of Budget 2011 is in full swing with most web sites featuring preview stories prominently, with commentary including  the "zero" budget will chart a return to surplus for the country while changes to KiwiSaver and Working For Families are set to be rushed through Parliament tonight.
The Google News New Zealand lead headline is from stuff.co.nz and says "Political junkies take a punt on budget outcome."  The story says thousands of dollars have changed hands as political junkies, the Wellington bureaucracy and others trade stocks on hot Budget tips. It features a Voice of America story which says the United States on Wednesday invoked sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior officials in his government for human rights abuses.  And another top story from 3 News says Andre Way and Kelvin Heiford are bringing home the body of Antony Way, the 33-year-old New Zealand man killed in what Gold Coast police have called a tragic murder-suicide.  The most popular story is from nzherald.co.nz and says Finance Minister Bill English will deliver a no-frills Budget today that will more tightly target Government assistance, cap the huge rates of borrowing and set a plan to get the books back into surplus in five years.
 The nzherald.co.nz lead headline online says "Slain mother's daily fear."  It says slain mother Tania Simpson was so afraid of her former fiance, New Zealander Paul Rogers, that she wanted to be walked to her car after work every night. In Budget 2011 coverage it says Finance Minister Bill English will deliver a no-frills Budget today that will more tightly target Government assistance, cap the huge rates of borrowing and set a plan to get the books back into surplus in five years. And it says Daniel Carter knocked back lucrative overseas deals but will collect an annual income of about $1.5 million as he pursues his All Black career. The most read story says some KFC staff say the Double Down "bunless burger" is not that amazing and is not worth the pressure they have been put under to meet customer demand.
The Stuff.co.nz top headline says "Key bets his job on the Budget." The web site says changes to KiwiSaver and Working For Families are set to be rushed through Parliament tonight in a bid to force Labour's hand and make it harder for future coalition partners to negotiate on them. It says Tania Simpson had been living in fear of her former fiance in the weeks before she was killed, friends say. And it says Fiji's military is expected to act against its own appointed president today after reports that he helped a runaway senior officer, and relative, escape to Tonga. And it says lonely Jupiter-sized planets, floating freely through our galaxy instead of orbiting stars, have been discovered by a Kiwi-led international team of scientists.  The most read story says a central Christchurch hotel has been ransacked by looters.
The Radio New Zealand lead headline online says "Post-Budget rating downgrade not expected."  The web site says some economists believe the Government will do enough in the Budget to avoid a downgrade of New Zealand's credit rating. It says consumer confidence has risen slightly, but households are still cautious about spending. And it says a Fijian army commander, who fled to Tonga after being charged with sedition, says his wife has been questioned by the Fiji military.
 The 3 News top story online has the headline "Budget 2011 - the story so far."  The web site says Thursday's zero budget will chart a return to surplus for the country while also funding the quake recovery efforts in Christchurch, or so goes the National Party line on this year's budget. It says the wife of the runaway Fijian army chief has been taken in to custody in Fiji and questioned by military officials. And it says Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her only speech of the Irish reconciliation tour at a banquet in Dublin. The most read story says the death of a man killed in Brisbane while 'planking' hasn't deterred New Zealanders from the internet craze.
The One News lead headline says "English poised with 'zero' Budget."  The web site says the government will reveal its 'zero' budget this afternoon, in which it says there will be no new money as well as cuts to current spending. It says a central Christchurch hotel has been ransacked by looters. And it says every single day of the three months since Matthew Hall was brutally murdered have been punishment for his youngest brother. The most read story says the internet craze of "planking" has claimed another victim in Australia with a man in an induced coma following a fall from a moving car.

The Newstalk ZB lead headline says "Tough job for English today."  The web site says Bill English will be centre stage in Parliament this afternoon as he delivers what will be a black Budget at 2pm, albeit with a seriously red bottom line. It says the maid who accused IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault will testify against him, rejecting any notion that she consented to sex in a New York hotel, her lawyer said. And it says it's a different century and he's standing for a different party, but John Banks is having another tilt at Parliament. The most read story says venues run by Vbase may be brought back under direct Christchurch City Council control.