Today in politics: Friday, September 21

Last updated 05:00 21/09/2012

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Maori Battalion emblem sparks red-tape battle

National MP Tau Henare is one of the most prolific social-media users in Parliament, so it is well known his Twitter avatar is the emblem of the 28th Maori Battalion. But Mr Henare was surprised by a call from a Te Puni Kokiri official telling him to take it down.

"My grandfather's two brothers served in the 28th Battalion and I think that gives me the right to revere them. I think it's stupid." The defiant MP suggested he would get a tattoo to make it permanent.

Verdict is, judges don't need to show their money

Judges are constrained to facts and the law, unlike politicians, and therefore should not have to reveal their pecuniary interests, New Zealand Bar Association committee member Justin Smith says.

He told a select committee that Green MP Kennedy Graham's Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill, which would require judges to state their financial interests, as MPs do, was unnecessary and could stop good people from becoming judges.

Two bills put price tag on environment

Two member's bills were introduced yesterday: Labour MP Charles Chauvel's Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill and National backbencher Jacqui Dean's Conservation Natural Heritage Protection Bill.

Mr Chauvel wants new electricity generation to be from renewable sources to help get climate-change goals back on track. Ms Dean wants higher penalties for those who breach wildlife and natural heritage rules.

Key doesn't run . . . Dotcom doesn't hide

Prime Minister John Key says he never runs from public relations "stunts" such as German multimillionaire Kim Dotcom's visit to Parliament this week. He was confronted with publicity stunts from time to time and he had a simple rule: "I never run . . . I for one am not changing my behaviours because someone wants to pull a PR stunt in Wellington."

But ACT leader John Banks said he was "out doing what I do best". "And that is raising funds – just joking."

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- The Dominion Post

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