Today in politics: Thursday, December 20

Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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Politics

Helen Clark continues to lag in new straw poll on next United Nations chief No show from Education Minister at school union conference PM Key looking to underdog Trump to beat expectations in first debate with Clinton BMW and Charge Net to create 'electric highway' in NZ by 2018 My open letter to MP Louise Upston about dangerous dogs Neil Quigley replaces Rod Carr as chairman of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand John Key promotes Helen Clark. Andrew Little distances himself from her views. Say what? Student loan defaulters break $1b mark National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi compares international students to 'faulty fridges' Who's behind Wellington's anti-Labour billboards?

Official information act requests get heat stroke

Government departments are expected to respond to Official Information Act requests within 20 working days, but replies can take twice that time over the holiday period. The act states that a working day is any day of the week other than Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and the "summer holiday" period between December 25 and January 15. So a request on November 26 should come by December 24, but a request on November 27 isn't due until January 16.

NZ on the right track on big business tax avoidance

An IRD report on tax paid by multinational corporations has found some are "thwarting" normal expectations but international tax treaties would override any attempts at a crackdown. Revenue Minister Peter Dunne, who ordered the report after it emerged Facebook paid less than 1 cent in tax for every Kiwi user, said it was an international issue but New Zealand was on the right track. Labour's David Clark called Mr Dunne's position a U-turn.

Police inquiry into Dotcom surveillance held up

Police have told the Greens their investigation has been held up into whether the Government Communications Security Bureau's surveillance of Kim Dotcom was legal. That follows a court ruling that the bureau is a party to Mr Dotcom's legal proceedings in the High Court.

Police said information and disclosure "impacted the technical processes" of the investigation. They told Greens co-leader Russel Norman they will provide an update early next year.

PSA wants to look at how top bosses are treated

The PSA believes it is time to take stock of how chief executives are appointed and supported after Education Secretary Lesley Longstone quit. It follows the early resignation of Work and Income head Janet Grossman, who was also headhunted from Britain.

"High level public sector management requires not only competence but a deep understanding and experience of the issues past and present," the PSA's Brenda Pilott said.

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- The Dominion Post

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