Today in politics: Saturday, December 22

Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012

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Politics

Government directive on housing problems set for release this week, Nick Smith says MP Chester Borrows 'confident' he can defend any police charges Minister spots 'systemic failing', thousands of beneficiaries affected by automatic payment error Panama Papers fallout speeds up NZ's anti-money laundering legislation Missing out on Uber deal could cost airports millions Cigarette plain packaging plan set to be revealed by NZ Government Prime Minister John Key to visit Fiji John Key: 'Plenty going on' to address housing issues in Auckland National Party budget breach: 'that wouldn't be good' - John Key When a funding cut is not a cut: Conservation Minister explains DOC budget

MAORI PARTY NEEDS NEW BLOOD, TURIA TELLS CO-LEADER

Tariana Turia is urging Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to follow her lead and stand aside for new blood. Mrs Turia has announced she won't be standing for Parliament in 2014 and may relinquish the co-leadership earlier, but Dr Sharples wants to stay on as Maori Affairs minister. Mrs Turia told Waatea News he could do that and still hand over the leadership to the party's only other MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, who is mulling it over.

'ZIP IT' GOOD, SAY QUOTE OF THE YEAR POLLSTERS

Paula Bennett’s ‘‘zip it, sweetie’’ has been voted the top quote of the year. In a Massey University-run poll  the quote took 57 per cent of the vote. Mrs Bennett, the Social Development Minister, told Labour MP Jacinda Ardern to zip it during a debate in Parliament. Massey speech-writing specialist  Heather Kavan said it was no surprise. ‘‘There’s something almost primal about two women fighting, and the line seemed completely unscripted.’’

GROSER GETS PM'S NOD FOR PRESTIGIOUS POST

Prime Minister John Key has formally nominated Trade Minister Tim Groser for  World Trade Organisation director-general as the international hunt for Pascal Lamy’s replacement begins. Mr Groser would have to quit Parliament midway through his second term if successful. The nomination risks upsetting Foreign Minister Murray McCully as it may undermine his efforts to secure New Zealand a place on the United Nations Security Council.

WE'RE TAKING OUR BREAK WHILE THE HOUSE IS OUT

You know it is the end of the political year when  they start moving the furniture for the carpet cleaners, the prime minister has already left for Hawaii and Treasury peforms its traditional pre-Christmas Cabinet paper dump. Documents released in the last couple of days include analysis of the charter schools proposal and the Government’s shares-plus consultation. It is a sure sign that it is also time to wind up Today in Politics until late January.

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