Today in politics: Saturday, November 1

16:00, Oct 31 2014

John Key in talks with Australian counterpart

Prime Minister John Key has travelled to Albany, 400km southeast of Perth, to mark the centenary of the first New Zealand and Australian troops departing for World War I.  But ahead of today’s commemorations, Key met Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott over dinner last night for their first bilateral discussion since Key was re-elected. He said their discussion would be ‘‘broad-ranging’’, with international security and domestic threats dominating.

Lots of new things  installed in casinos

New pokies, new casino layouts, new surveillance equipment – the 2013-14 year was a busy one for casino operators. The Gambling Commission’s annual report showed it made 200 decisions on applications to amend licence conditions, up from 127 decisions the previous year. Most were for new casino signage, gambling floor layouts and game mixes, as well as for the new surveillance system at SkyCity’s Auckland and Hamilton casinos. 

Home building consents drop in Auckland

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford says Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards, despite Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith’s claims of a new construction boom. Twyford said the city’s residential building consents had dropped for the second month – 7366 dwellings from a target of 9000. ‘‘Smith promised Aucklanders 39,000 houses ... He doesn’t have a hope in hell of achieving that.’’

Govt has no plans to review Holidays Act

Labour Minister Michael Woodhouse says there are no plans to review the Holidays Act, after speculation further reform may be in the pipeline. After the Employment Relations Amendment Act passed this week, Woodhouse said he was aware some employers feel ‘‘the Holidays Act is confusing’’ and he would ‘‘be listening very carefully to those views’’. Labour’s Annette King said the Government should be upfront about its intentions. 

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