Today in politics: Wednesday, September 5

Last updated 05:00 05/09/2012

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Politics

The political year has kicked off so here are 10 things to watch out for Ministry of Education spends $2.5m on 'Stairway to Heaven' in office revamp The sale of an Abel Tasman beach and other gaps in the Queen's chain Prime Minister John Key outlines the Government's priorities for the year Metiria Turei returns with a surprise after a four-week sabbatical Max Key's less-than-luxurious Waitangi weekend holiday Finance Minister Bill English sees no reason to change Reserve Bank agreement NZ considering aid boost to help Tonga contain Zika virus TPPA: Labour will not pull out of trade deal if Govt - Andrew Little Govt unlikely to impose reciprocal health surcharge on UK visitors

Kiwi enthusiasm gains in translation

Prime Minister John Key's "Koiwoi" accent has led to a gaffe by the US State Department which suggested New Zealand was ready to join forces in another international conflict. The department published a transcript of Mr Key's recent meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr Key had said: "We welcome the opportunity to co-operate. In that context." But it was interpreted as the chance to co-operate "in the next conflicts".

Knight to remember for top public servant 

It will be arise Sir Maarten tomorrow as the former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is knighted at Government House. Sir Maarten Wevers was reported to be like a "stunned mullet" when Prime Minister John Key told him of the honour at a Queenstown restaurant.

At the ceremony will be his successor, new DPMC boss Andrew Kibblewhite. Dame Margaret Bazley will be invested as a member of the Order of New Zealand.

Education post for ex-Grammar principal 

Former Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris has been appointed to the Education New Zealand Board. The organisation encourages international education. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce also announced that ex-banker Sir Ralph Norris has been accepted on to the Auckland University Council. Sir Ralph stepped down as chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia at the end of last year.

McCully's 'cult of secrecy' criticised

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is still refusing to release Budget background documents, which all other government ministers made public in June. The Dominion Post requested the papers under the Official Information Act on June 29 and has made repeated attempts to obtain the information. Labour's spokesman on foreign affairs and trade, Phil Goff, yesterday attacked "McCully's cult of secrecy".

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- The Dominion Post

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