Today in politics: Thursday, September 6

Last updated 05:00 06/09/2012

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Fee-revenue surplus may lead to cheaper passports

A "growing surplus" from fee revenue may lead to a cut in the cost of a new passport. NZ First leader Winston Peters has complained of “exorbitant” fees. Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain admitted yesterday the switch from 10-year to 5-year passport terms had contributed to "a growing surplus" on fee revenue and he said a discount was being considered to coincide with the introduction of online applications.

Super-ministry's acting chief gets permanent post

The Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry's acting chief executive, David Smol, has been appointed to the position permanently. Mr Smol was previously the head of the Economic Development Ministry (MED) from 2008 until the recent merger.

He joined MED in 2003 as deputy secretary. He also previously worked in the energy sector in Britain and New Zealand.

Selling debt to China acceptable after all

It seems selling debt to China isn't so bad after all. During last year's election campaign Prime Minister John Key taunted Labour's then leader Phil Goff, saying: "Show me the money. It's coming from the Chinese – that's where he's [Mr Goff] going to borrow it from."

But opening the China Symposium yesterday, Mr Key noted that China was investing in New Zealand government bonds and contributing to the country's record low borrowing rates.

People with arrest warrants to have their benefits cut

Benefits will be cut to people with outstanding arrest warrants. The move was signalled during last year's election campaign. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said yesterday that of the 15,000 people with current arrest warrants, 8200 were on a benefit.

Under the new rules, people will have 38 days to clear or challenge an arrest warrant before their benefit is stopped, or halved for those with children.

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- The Dominion Post

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