LOCAL GOVT REFORM COSTS UNDER SCRUTINY
Labour's Annette King told Parliament yesterday that National's plans to overhaul local government and force councils to change their long-term plans could cost in excess of $20 million.
She tabled a briefing to minister David Carter from Local Government New Zealand containing the figure.
She also produced a July 16 letter in which she says Mr Carter refused to amend incorrect data on rating increases included in the Better Local Government information booklet because "the correct figures would detract from the focus of the reform".
ACCLAIM, CRITICISM FOR YOUTH REFORMS
National MPs broke into applause as their youth services reforms passed into law last night. The Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill introduces stricter work testing for beneficiaries and a payment card to control teenagers’ benefit payments.
Labour’s Jacinda Ardern called the reforms ‘‘shambolic’’. She said service providers disagreed with Social Development Minister Paula Bennett that they can begin operating straight away.
BLACK DAYS AHEAD FOR BILL ENGLISH
Finance Minister Bill English has appointed a new press secretary – Listener features editor Joanne Black. Ms Black’s husband Grant Johnston is an economic adviser to Prime Minister John Key. She will replace Grant Fleming, who is moving to Westpac. Ms Black, a former NZPA and Dominion Post journalist, takes up her role early next month.
ASTRONOMICALLY INCORRECT KEY
Prime Minister John Key must have been into dinosaurs as a wee lad because he certainly wasn’t interested in outer space. Asked whether planned asset sales would be delayed by the Waitangi Tribunal process this week, Mr Key said it was as likely as a meteorite hitting Earth. He meant not likely. Unfortunately for Mr Key, it is a more regular occurrence than you might think.
Maori Council lawyer Felix Geiringer said: ‘‘We all know exactly what it means, despite the fact that it is astronomically incorrect because a meteorite hits the Earth every 13 minutes.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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