Today in politics: Tuesday, December 11

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012

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Politics

Auckland central's new Labour candidate to take on Nikki Kaye Peter Dunne proposes Civil Defence merger with new fire service after recent problems Stand-down for employers who exploit migrants not enough: unions Pattrick Smellie: Bill English struggles to offload a billion dollars On oldie but a goodie: Joyce is playing the election year tax-cut shuffle Labour leader Andrew Little's divide and conquer 'not kaupapa Maori' New law could force more drug and alcohol addicts into compulsory rehabilitation Wellington's Raroa Intermediate School to get $1.1m to build two new classrooms Turnbull tirade against UN over Israel extends to New Zealand - raised with English on leaders visit Top five emerging for Helensville seat

Hefty fella in strife has John Banks smitten

CT leader John Banks and his wife Amanda have adopted a rescued baby elephant. He will pay for the orphaned Teleki – which was attacked with a machete – until it can be released into the wild.

The baby bull, which is less than a year old, will be cared for by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in South Africa. Mr Banks has posted pictures of the elephant on his Facebook page with the comment "he has the longest eyelashes".

. . . . . . as Dotcom drama goes to court without him

Meanwhile, Mr Banks has been excused from appearing in court over the Dotcom donations saga. Retired accountant Graham McCready is taking a private prosecution against him.

Wellington District court judge Ian Mill has agreed Mr Banks can be represented by his lawyer as he is attending a funeral in Auckland. Police have already investigated "anonymous" donations to Mr Banks' 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign from Kim Dotcom and SkyCity casino.

Affordable housing now a super issue, warns Crossan

In her last speech as Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan has called for affordable housing to be treated as a superannuation issue.

Speaking at a Treasury/Victoria University conference on the Government's long-term fiscal challenges, she said the biggest issue was not the cost of super but the large number paying rent or a mortgage and living on super. "Now it's time to start regarding it as a retirement income issue."

On the links but off the job in Hawaii, says Key

Prime Minister John Key says he is looking forward to a couple of weeks off at his Hawaiian holiday home over Christmas. Daughter Stephie is coming from Europe and son Max is taking a mate.

Mr Key, meanwhile, is sure to be taking his golf clubs. Asked if he would be catching up with US President Barack Obama on the golf course, Mr Key said they would be in Hawaii at different times this year. "I might try and catch up with him next time."

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- The Dominion Post

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