Today in politics: Friday, December 21

Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012

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Stories of detained Kiwis show 'crude' nature of Aus policy - Andrew Little MP Clare Curran posts photo of invalid flag vote online Freshwater group welcome new iwi rights under proposed RMA law change Revealed: The highest paid public servants Bill English reassures "super is sustainable'' in Wanaka charm offensive Labour's Waikato economic time bomb comment dismissed Government backs off fundamental changes to resource management law Former Nasa scientist backs Kiwi woman's climate change lawsuit against govt Little says Labour's job is to 'contest and challenge' the Government Twyford slams Auckland's Special Housing Areas

Small Waikato iwi settles all historic Treaty claims

Ngati Koroki Kahukura, a small Waikato iwi, has signed a deed of settlement with the Crown covering all historic Treaty claims. Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said the actions of the Crown had "led to the economic, social, environmental and cultural degradation" of the iwi as he announced the $3 million settlement.

It also vests the Maungatautari scenic reserve with the iwi while ensuring public access. It was the 10th deed of settlement inked this year.

Minister 'ignored' Novopay system test

The Government spent more than $1 million on consultants as part of a switchover of teachers' payroll to Novopay, including $650,000 on testing the system. Labour's Chris Hipkins said the money spent on the testing was "completely ignored", with neither Education Minister Hekia Parata nor associate minister Craig Foss asking to see the results. The results showed less than half the users were comfortable with the system.

SkyCity happy with fewer pokies in convention deal

SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison has revealed the company wants fewer pokie machines in return for building a convention centre at its Auckland casino than previously signalled. Speaking on RadioLive, Mr Morrison said the company wanted "around 300" additional gaming machines, down from previous hints from the Government that it was seeking 450 more. The deal is also expected to include an extension to SkyCity's gaming licence.

Horan urges Speaker hopefuls to get in touch

With all the talk of who MPs will elect as the next Speaker, Brendan Horan clearly feels a bit left out. On Wednesday he wrote to Maurice Williamson, David Carter and Tau Henare, explaining that he had read in The Dominion Post that the rivals for the Speaker's chair "have been talking up their credentials to all and sundry".

"Equally, as an independent Member of Parliament, I look forward to hearing from you in due course."

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- The Dominion Post

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