Today in politics: Thursday, November 8

Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012

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Politics

Legal cannabis could collect $150 million a year but Bill English isn't pursuing it Tracy Watkins: Helen Clark's down but not out in the race to lead the UN Below the beltway: The week in politics Foreign Minister Murray McCully contracted Zika Veteran Taranaki regional councillor will not contest seat in upcoming election Failed leadership coup exposes more 'toxic culture' at Wellington City Council Patrick Gower admits man crush on Donald Trump's son in weird live video from RNC Helen Kelly: 'My back is broken and I only have months to live but I'm pain free' Prime Minister John Key visits South Canterbury Kermadec ocean sanctuary gets the go-ahead from committee

Wall says gay marriage bill backs a basic human right

Denying homosexuals the right to marry denies their basic human rights, Labour MP Louisa Wall said as she gave the first submission on her Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. It has drawn more than 20,000 submissions and is expected to face stiff opposition.

Ms Wall said marriage was a birthright. But National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said he respected human rights for everyone, "but marriage is between a man and a woman".

English firm despite larger Budget deficit than awaited

Finance Minister Bill English says there will need to be restraint "for some years to come" to meet the Government's aims, after Treasury released figures showing the Budget deficit running $449 million worse than forecast.

For the three months to the end of September the deficit before gains and losses was $2.1 billion, mainly because most sources of tax revenues were behind forecast. He said the Government was committed to getting back to surplus.

US, NZ top brass sign logistics support deal

Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and United States Pacific Commander Admiral Samuel J Locklear III have signed a "Treaty-level Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement" in Sydney. Defence said it would give New Zealand logistics support for routine activities, such as exercises, or while on operations such as in Afghanistan. The deal would also cut costs and increase efficiencies. It replaces an existing agreement.

Banks bemused to be at centre of zealous protest

ACT leader John Banks was about to score a photo opportunity on Parliament's forecourt by signing a petition against shark finning. But his presence baited those winding up a housing protest who called him a liar and a coward.

A group of women seemed to recall his 1996 anti-abortion remarks, chanting: "Not John Banks and not the state, women must control their fate." Mr Banks, looking bemused, said he didn't know what they were talking about.

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- The Dominion Post

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