Today in politics: Monday, July 1

Last updated 22:39 30/06/2013

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Add 'PM slams military for airplane breakdown' to other headlines you will never read Townsville media track down stranded John Key Mike Yardley: Legalising euthanasia a step onto a slippery slope John Key's plane is grounded in Australia until a replacement plane arrives to head on to India Free trade agreement with India won't happen overnight but John Key says it's crucial to get there Foreign fighters in the Middle East could return to New Zealand as Islamic State crumbles - John Key Minister welcomes NZ's first three way kidney exchange 'Australia has no greater friend' - what Julie Bishop really thinks of New Zealand Greens call on Government to 'call in' major gas-fired power plant under RMA Auckland businessman William Yan set to head back to China for questioning

Labour critical of transport policy 're-announcement'

On Friday, Labour said National’s $10 billion transport package for Auckland was simply a re-announcement of the policy of ‘‘Labour Mayor Len Brown’’.

By yesterday, Labour believed National had no transport policy at all.

Transport spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said Friday’s announcement, which included a rail loop, harbour crossing and state highway upgrades, forgot about regional New Zealand, with spending focused on vote-rich cities.

Parental leave payments up 2.7% for wage earners

Paid parental leave payments rise from today, in line with changes to the weekly wage.

The maximum amount available will increase from $475.16 to $488.17 a week, which Labour Minister Simon Bridges said matched the 2.7 per cent increase in the average weekly wage.

The minimum payment will be $137.50 a week.

The increases were announced soon after the Government said it would veto a bill to extend availability from 14 to 26 weeks.

SkyCity convention centre deal sign-off deferred

The deadline for signing the final agreement between SkyCity and the Government for Auckland's international convention centre has been delayed, again.

Announced in May, the Government originally said the deal to design, build and operate the $402 million centre, would be completed on June 14.

It was then extended until June 30.

Yesterday, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce pushed the deadline back to 11pm on Friday.

Petrol escise duty rise No 1 of 3

The cost of driving becomes more expensive today, with excise duty on petrol rising by 3 cents a litre.

Announced at the end of 2012, the Government has said the increase would help fund the cost of new roads.

However, opponents said the increase was needed for the Government to be able to claim it will be able to return to surplus in 2014/15.

Today's increase is the first of three annual increases of 3 cents a litre.

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- Fairfax Media

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