Today in politics: Wednesday, July 9

Last updated 05:00 09/07/2014

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Government plays up cuts to back office staff, despite Treasury blow-out 'No eureka moment' from Australian govt on deportation rules - Andrew Little Public watchdogs need to bare their teeth over misuse of OIA, taxpayer events Andrew Little given 'good hearing' on Kiwi rights in Australia despite pushback Greenpeace protesters charged over boat boarding Runway extension: Mayors excited but Joyce not ready to loosen purse strings Philippa Howden-Chapman highlights NZ's increasingly embarrassing housing crisis Faces of Innocents: Promises, promises TPP deal sits in the hands of the weakest link Christmas Island deportee too ashamed to tell family he's back in New Zealand

Another hefty donation for Conservative coffers

Colin Craig is not the only one dipping in to his pocket to help fund the Conservative Party. The Electoral Commission confirms that Hamilton couple Laurence and Katrina Day have donated another $500,000 to the party, after an earlier donation of $175,000.

But with polls putting the Conservatives at or below 2 per cent, the Days could be forgiven for hoping that Craig has convinced National to tell Murray McCully to stand aside in his East Coast Bays seat. 

PM sticks by promise to deliver on forecast surplus

New Budget figures have cast doubt on the forecast surplus, but Prime Minister John Key was quick to promise steps to ensure it is achieved. For the 11 months to May the deficit was  332 million ahead of forecast and officials said it was too early to know what impact that would have on future years.

But Labour finance spokesman David Parker said the deficit and the lower than expected tax revenue show the economic recovery may have already passed most by.

Still no definite date for diplomat's return

Meanwhile, John Key says he still has no firm date on when Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman will be returned to New Zealand, to face burglary and sexual assault allegations. He said he did not think the Malaysians were ''playing games'' as Rizalman, a former defence assistant at the Malaysian High Commission, undergoes psychiatric observation.

''The Malaysian foreign minister would never have agreed to returning him to New Zealand unless they were genuine in doing so,'' Key said.

Charter school choice if ACT holds sway

ACT wants to give all public schools the choice to become charter schools. Leader Jamie Whyte launched the party's education policy yesterday, saying it was starkly different to those of Labour and National. It aims to raise standards by increasing choice and competition in primary and secondary education. However, the education union NZEI has dismissed the charter schools idea as ''crackpot nonsense''.

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- The Dominion Post

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