Today in politics: Tuesday, May 20

Last updated 05:00 20/05/2014

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Politics

Nelson byelection could be parting gift from councillors bound for Beehive Number of cycle helmet fines drops from 11,000 to 5500 in two years Labour leader Andrew Little makes Pike River re-entry bill an election promise Beggars reveal what life is like on the street Fair trade pants hard to come by for Oxfam trailwalkers Good times on the water, political storm to come MPs' hidden talents: Statistics Minister Mark Mitchell has a handle on police dogs North Taranaki iwi welcomes first Government Minister in almost 100 years Green lawyer hopes to be first refugee to win a seat in Parliament MPs' hidden talents: Kris Faafoi turns to guitar for 'a bit of an escape'

Key needs new policy adviser

One of the plum political advisory roles in the country is up for grabs, with Ben King, the prime minister's foreign policy adviser, off to study at Harvard.

Those said to be in the frame to replace him are existing ambassadors, including Reuben Levermore, the current ambassador to the Philippines, and Taha Macpherson, the ambassador to Turkey, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. 

The Bill stops here

In the leadup to the Budget, Prime Minister John Key repeatedly referred to Treasury advice that there was little room to lift spending before Government actions led to a rise in interest rates, hinting that Opposition policiese were likely to affect mortgage rates.

The advice showed that even an extra $500 million in annual spending (National's plan for coming years) would push up interest rates by up to 0.30 per cent. Key said he relied on assurances from Bill English

Dyson opts off list selection

Ruth Dyson Labour's longest-serving Christchurch MP,  is to run only in the Port Hills electorate, withdrawing from the list selection process.

Dyson, ranked as high as five by former leader Phil Goff, has been demoted in a series of reshuffles, and is now ranked 28 out of 34 MPs in the caucus. In 2011 Damien O'Connor withdrew from list selection, claiming the process was run by ''self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays''

Wilcox rules out Labour bid

Maori TV's general manager for news and current affairs Julian Wilcox has quashed speculation he will stand for Labour in the Tamaki Makaurau seat.

Maori TV said Wilcox had given an unequivocal written assurance he was not seeking political office for any party in the next  election. Labour has ruled out allowing former TVNZ staffer Shane Taurima to stand in the seat but is yet to decide if it will reopen nominations.

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- The Dominion Post

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