Today in politics: Wednesday, September 12

Last updated 05:00 12/09/2012

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Join together with the (Parliament) band

Parliament is crying out for a cross-party band. David Shearer is fond of strumming his guitar and Speaker Lockwood Smith treated the National Party conference to a tuneful version of the national anthem. Now National MP Paul Goldsmith has outed himself as a proficient pianist. Mr Goldsmith was snapped playing Michael Parekowhai's Red Piano at Te Papa, where every day at 12.30pm pianists are selected to tinkle the ivory.

Promotion of New Zealand getting to be a Hobbit

The launch in Tokyo of a promotion of New Zealand as "100% Middle-earth" seemed to click all the usual buttons about the country's marvellous scenery. But there was no sign of the shift in brand emphasis promised by the Government to highlight other strengths, such as smart people and valuable resources. Unless you count the promise by Air New Zealand to run a passenger safety video featuring Hobbit-style airline staff.

Contract signed for South Auckland's Wiri prison

Fletcher Building and Serco have clinched the contract to build and maintain South Auckland's new Wiri prison. The SecureFuture consortium signed the 25-year contract, worth around $840 million, Corrections Minister Anne Tolley announced yesterday. As part of the public private partnership (PPP) deal they must reach a target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017. British firm Serco already runs Mt Eden prison.

Pagani quits politics for job in industry

John Pagani, long-time strategic adviser to the Labour Party, has left Parliament to take up a job as external relations manager for New Zealand Oil & Gas. He joins a number of former Labour-ites in the natural resources industries, including Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, former candidate for Taranga, and Helen Clark's former chief press secretary Mike Munro. Until recently Mr Pagani was working for finance spokesman David Parker.

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- The Dominion Post

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