Today in politics: Wednesday, July 9

Last updated 05:00 09/07/2014

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Politics

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 Labour leader Andrew Little makes Pike River re-entry bill an election promise 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' The truth about inequality in New Zealand Labour, Greens team up for joint 'state of the nation' event in Auckland Matt Lawrey competes against Nick Smith as Green Party candidate for Nelson MP

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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