PRESS DIGEST-New Zealand newspapers - May 7

WELLINGTON, May 7 (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)

Talent pool shrinking in Christchurch: Finding competent candidates for jobs is becoming harder in Christchurch as the pool of local workers shrinks.

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Key says he raised human rights in Saudi Arabia - and Barack Obama didn't: Prime Minister John Key has favourably compared his efforts in raising human rights during a recent trip to Saudi Arabia with United States President Barack Obama, who he said did not raise human rights during his visit.

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Severe quake hits Milford Sound: A "severe" earthquake rattled the South Island early Thursday morning. GeoNet reported the 5.0 magnitude quake was located 50km northwest of Milford Sound.

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NZ$98m for more surgery in Budget: An extra NZ$98 million ($73.51 million) has been committed to elective surgery, amid growing demand from patients. In a pre-Budget announcement on Wednesday afternoon, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced an extra $50 million would be spent on orthopaedic surgery and general surgery.

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

Rise in labour force helps boost prospect of cash rate cut: Employment grew strongly in the first three months of the year but labour force growth was stronger still, keeping wage inflation subdued and raising the odds of an interest rate cut.

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Skim milk powder prices drop: Whole milk powder prices, which are central to Fonterra's farmgate forecasts, showed signs of levelling off at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, but competition from big suppliers in the United States and Europe saw skim milk powder prices fall sharply.

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Venture capital community still recovering from global financial crisis: New Zealand's institutional venture capital community is still recovering from the global financial crisis six-and-a-half years ago, although so-called angel investors are in better heart, according to a visiting venture capitalist from Silicon Valley.

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Donors funnel NZ$4m to National: The National Party's donor list is a round up of multi-millionaire businesspeople and Auckland property magnates with an estimated joint worth of almost NZ$2 billion.

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($1 = 1.3332 New Zealand dollars)

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