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Today in politics: Saturday, June 7

Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014

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Politics

Former spy paid to infiltrate Greenpeace and unions Next stage in State house sell-off to get underway in Tauranga, Invercargill Ministers happy to grin from the sideline as the real stars of the show visit Mainfreight boss takes swipe at Steven Joyce over rail and technology Hamilton City Council says 'no thanks' to online voting trial Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail to be completed with almost $1 million in funding Government push ahead with mixed governance for Environment Canterbury Protection orders should have an expiry date - MPs Lawyers and human rights advocates fear secret courts Domestic violence courts could be part of shake-up

Niue a social call for Paula Bennett

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett clearly has her work-life balance sorted. Despite her holiday on Niue coinciding with Prime Minister John Key's visit she stayed out of the media eye. Key said she was holed up on the island, and former Wellington mayor and High Commissioner to Niue Mark Blumsky confirmed she was at his place. Blumsky and his wife have become significant players on the island, running five companies, mainly in tourism.

Craig dumps damages in defamation case

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has indicated he will not be seeking damages in his defamation case against Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, but is seeking a court declaration that the comments were defamatory. Craig is taking action against Norman over comments made at the Big Gay Out in Auckland earlier this year. A spokesman for the Greens confirmed CLockwood Smith in the gun over pricey digs Craig dumps damages in defamation case Students ask John Key the hardest questionsraig was not seeking damages but may pursue legal costs. The party will defend the action. 

Lockwood Smith in the gun over pricey digs  

Parliament's former Speaker, Lockwood Smith, has been in the firing line over his London digs. Smith has been renting, at $7500 a week, rather than using the official High Commissioner's residence, which has now been sold for $11m. Foreign Affairs says the building was inadequate, with  ''limited representational functionality''. But insiders blame a Russian neighbour for turning the street into a construction zone, with major renovations lasting years.

Students ask John Key the hardest questions

John Key ended his otherwise positive Pacific tour facing tough questions - from high school students. Their questions included the rights and wrongs of aid spending and whether lying was an essential skill for politicians. He was also asked his favourite politician, and mooted  newest ''recruit'', economic development ambassador and recent Labour MP Shane Jones.  But he then named former Australian prime minister John Howard.

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- The Dominion Post

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