Today in politics: Friday, September 28
Park to mark Gallipoli centennial gets go-ahead
The $80 million National War Memorial Park is a step closer after Parliament last night passed law enabling work to start next month. Traffic will be diverted under Wellington's Buckle St for the project, due to be completed by 2015 in time for the centennial of the Gallipoli landings. The Greens opposed the bill as it gives the Transport Agency and Culture and Heritage Ministry extra fast-tracking powers. The -4 project is not a national emergency, they say.
Shark gains protection but finning still an issue
The Government has protected whitetip sharks but the Greens say further action is needed to stop shark finning. Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson yesterday announced the endangered sharks will get the same status as great whites. Greens oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said New Zealand still lagged behind the United States, Europe and Australia by allowing shark finning – the practice of cutting off a shark's fins then discarding its carcass.
School-leavers better qualified
More students are leaving school with qualifications, new figures show. Last year 83.8 per cent of all school leavers gained NCEA level one compared with 82.1 in 2010 and just under 80 in 2009. Nearly 72 per cent gained NCEA level 2 last year compared with 68.8 in 2010 and 66.4 in 2009. Education Minister Hekia Parata said more Maori and Pasifika students were also attaining qualifications, which led to "an improved quality of life generally”.
Government being overtaken on the Left
Opposition parties have leaped ahead of the National-led Government in the latest Roy Morgan poll. Support for National is down three points to 43.5 per cent, while Labour is up two to 33 per cent.
The Greens are down one to 11.5, NZ First is up half a point to 5 per cent and Mana also up half a point to 1.5.
National's partners – the Maori Party (2.5), ACT (0.5) and UnitedFuture (0) – are unchanged. That gives the Opposition 51 per cent to the Government's 46.5.
The Dominion Post