Today in politics: Tuesday, September 25

Last updated 05:00 25/09/2012

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Politics

PM: Winston Peters looking for attention with race-based attacks on reporters Budget will bump up NZ's infrastructure spending, finance minister signals Horowhenua mayor attempts once again to reinstate his ousted deputy When the river runs dry: The true cost of NZ water The immigration debate: Please leave your logic at the border A brief glossary of terms politicians use in the immigration debate Maori land reform bill continues to divide Mana and the Maori Party despite a promise to work together NZ's net migration gain still at record highs near 72,000 as arrivals continue to climb Reserve Bank promotes Geoff Bascand, possible future governor, to deputy chief executive Ilam candidate Raf Manji questions how incumbent Gerry Brownlee can juggle roles

HOLE APPEARS IN PLAN TO MONITOR BENEFICIARIES

After admitting the Government would not be able to monitor all beneficiaries under new rules, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett fhas conceded she also doesn't know how many are already failing drug tests, because the Social Development Ministry does not record details of those who have failed pre-employment drug tests. Under new rules, benefit payments could be cut when a person failed, or refused to take, a drug test.

MAYOR BROWN IN CAPITAL TO SUPERSIZE CITY FASTER

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will be at Parliament today hoping to rally ministerial support for the city's bid for a one-off exemption from the Resource Management Act. The council wants to expedite the process for its Auckland Unitary Plan - a strategy of the local and district town plans brought together when the super-city was formed. The exemption would allow a streamlined RMA approach with a longer submission period, but appeals restricted.

MORE HELP GIVEN TO EASE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS

New Zealand will provide $500,000 through the International Committee of the Red Cross to help Syrian refugees and people affected by conflict in Lebanon. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said unrest in Lebanon was creating a deepening crisis.  ''With no clear end to this conflict in sight the refugee situation is likely to deteriorate further and international action is required.'' New Zealand has already given $1.5 million for refugees in Turkey and Jordan.

PSA PROMISES ENGLISH SOME STRAIGHT TALKING

Finance Minister Bill English will face the music at the Public Service Association's conference in Wellington today when he gives a speech to the 160 delegates. National secretary Brenda Pilott is promising some tough questions. She said the delegates wanted to give a clear message about the impact of state sector cuts - job losses, unsustainable workloads, loss of expertise, low morale and job security concerns.

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