Today in politics: Thursday, December 13

Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

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Sales a case of opportunity lost Dunne: No conflict in son's job Labour backs 'subbies' English upbeat despite 'average' proceeds Red-zone the flood-prone houses - Dalziel Today in politics: Saturday, April 19 New social housing accord Benefit figures at five-year low Labour auctions Tongan king's wine 'New low' for Prime Minister John Key- Greens

Smith hails success of changes to House rules 

In the final parliamentary speech of the year, Dr Smith said changes to the rules had improved the House's efficiency, with only 9.5 hours of urgency and 35.5 hours of extended hours out of a total 543 sitting hours. The year had seen 125 bills get the royal assent with three waiting.

In all, 1100 oral questions had been answered and 34 member's bills had been introduced. Only two members had been "yellow carded" or ejected from the chamber.

Report on SkyCity deal for convention centre drafted

The auditor-general has completed a draft report into the process the Economic Development Ministry followed when it chose SkyCity to develop a national convention in exchange for more pokies and an extension of its licence. Interested parties have the draft, but some have not received its conclusions.

It is understood only Prime Minister John Key and Gerry Brownlee have full copies. The AG wants to publish the final report before December 31.

Christmas spirit lacking for Bridges

National's Tauranga MP Simon Bridges raised eyebrows with an intemperate attack on Labour leader David Shearer in the final debate before the House rose for the summer break.

Mr Bridges at one point gestured towards his head and said Mr Shearer was "thick" and a "loser" and Labour should dump him. Clearly Mr Bridges lacked Christmas cheer after Mr Shearer's more humorous contribution in one of his best speeches of the year.

Speaker confirms he will quit to be London envoy

Speaker Lockwood Smith has confirmed he is leaving, saying yesterday was his last adjournment debate. He will be off to London as high commissioner next year. He thought he may be getting too old for the place when he did not pick up Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee's reference to The Simpsons in a question last week.

Meanwhile, Labour has made public its backing of Maurice Williamson for Speaker rather than John Key's choice, David Carter.

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