WELLINGTON, Dec 18 (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.
All Blacks urged to ditch alcohol sponsorship: The All Blacks should ditch key sponsor Steinlager as part of a widespread move to wean sport off its dependence on booze dollars, a group of government-appointed experts says.
Flag needs to 'scream NZ': John Key: Prime Minister John Key wants a revamped national flag that screams New Zealand to be emblazoned with a silver fern, the symbol on the country's war graves.
Connor reapplies for takeover approval: Private hospital firm Connor Healthcare has lodged a second application to the Commerce Commission to gain clearance for its takeover of listed company Acurity.
Air NZ legal victory over surcharge appealed: Australia's consumer watchdog is appealing an Australian court ruling which cleared Air New Zealand of organising fuel and security surcharge price fixing.
NEW ZEALAND HERALD (www.nzherald.co.nz)
Illegal migrant's scam exposes flaw in passport system: Holes in the security of New Zealand passports have been exposed after an illegal immigrant paid for two false identities - copies of which ended up in the hands of a master forger linked to a terror plot.
Sports hit back at advertising rule proposals: New Zealand's biggest sports teams including the All Blacks, the New Zealand Warriors and the Black Caps say proposed changes to alcohol sponsorship and advertising would threaten the sustainability of their codes at nearly every level.
NZ insulated from Russian economic fallout: Russia's currency crisis has added risk to world markets, but the New Zealand economy is likely to be spared direct impact, analysts say.
Pyne Gould chair under fire over audit delays: Pyne Gould Corporation chairman Bryan Mogridge faced a barrage of investor questions around auditing delays at the company's annual meeting in Auckland yesterday.