Today in politics: Monday, March 3

Last updated 06:42 03/03/2014

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MPs told to avoid Falun Gong events due to Chinese 'sensitivities' Government may over-ride Auckland council on housing areas National rakes in big dollars from small(ish) donations Former prime ministers have bigger travel bills than some working MPs Beehive Live: Flag designs and fasting Auditor-general questions $40 million administration spend on Whanau Ora Parliament's catering contractor Spotless moves to dump zero hours contracts ACT Party admits late declaration of $32,000 donation Flag debate opens to public End zero hour contracts for Parliament catering staff: Labour

Trio taking Best Start on road trip

Labour is taking its Best Start package to the people, with a series of community meetings planned around the country. MPs Jacinda Ardern, Annette King, Chris Hipkins and Sue Moroney are hitting the road to promote the policy, starting in Christchurch later this month and winding up in Northland in June.

It would see about 26,000 families each year benefit from a plan to extend paid parental leave to six months.

Comments don't live up to the Skype

The Taxpayers Union has been forced to defend its comments about deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers. Director Jordan Williams prompted a hail of outrage on Twitter after questioning Ms Mathers' need to travel to Wairarapa for a radio interview at a cost of about $550 for flights and a rental car.

Mr Williams said  it still wasn't value for money when the interview could have been done on Skype. Skype doesn't allow for lip reading Ms Mathers pointed out.

Laughter Key to happy marriage

What's the secret to a long and healthy marriage? Find the Prime Minister's ''shock announcement'' in this week's New Zealand Woman's Weekly. John Key took to Twitter to promote his story, announcing he and wife Bronagh would be gracing the cover of today's issue of the mag.

''Almost 30 years of marriage later, we're still making each other laugh,'' Mr Key tweeted. A laughing Bronagh was hanging from his neck in the accompanying picture.

Craig still mulling over litigation

The second deadline for Conservative Party leader Colin Craig's potential defamation suit against Greens co-leader Russel Norman has passed with barely a whisper.

A fortnight ago, the country was braced for litigation over comments from Dr Norman suggesting Mr Craig was sexist and homophobic, Mr Craig said he would seek further advice from his lawyers. His spokeswoman said an announcement would be made today or tomorrow

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- The Dominion Post

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