Politics briefs: Monday January 28

Last updated 05:00 28/01/2013

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Politics

Invercargill and Tauranga chosen for first state house sales More Stockton Mine job cuts expected Alcohol and drug monitoring of offenders 'major infringement of liberty' Prisoners allowed phones, computers in cells Labour calls for Whanau Ora probe IPCA finishes Banks investigation but can't release findings yet Hekia Parata appoints Prue Kelly to key Communities of Schools role Beehive Live: Members' day and a maiden speech Auditor-general questions $40 million administration spend on Whanau Ora MPs told to avoid Falun Gong events due to Chinese 'sensitivities'

Mallard allusion to Kirk well-timed for reshuffle

It fell to local MP Trevor Mallard to give a vote of thanks to leader David Shearer, who visited his Hutt South electorate yesterday to deliver his scene-setting speech ahead of the resumption of Parliament tomorrow. Mr Mallard mentioned the inspirational quality of his leader in the same breath as Norm Kirk, who led the party to victory in 1972. Given Mr Shearer is due his team next month, it may have been good politics as well as good manners.

Hipkins raises pressure over payroll debacle

Speaking of reshuffles, Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins is continuing to parade his credentials in the education portfolio - where he is acting spokesman - stepping up pressure for the Government to consider ditching Novopay and looking for alternatives. ''There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people affected by this ... those aren't just glitches; they are major, systemic problems and clearly show Novopay should never have been signed off.''

English dismisses Shearer speech with echo of past

Finance Minister Bill English may have been channelling a headline that once got under the skin of Sir Michael Cullen after one Budget. ''Is that it?'' Mr English asked of David Shearer's news-lite speech yesterday. ''Six weeks over summer to think about new policy and Labour comes up with precisely nothing.'' Mr English added: ''He wants to be hands-on, and yet opposes every hands-on move National is making to encourage investment and growth.''

Turei plots making political

Fresh from garnering 185,000 signatures seeking a referendum on asset sales - more than half the total - the Greens are aiming to use the links to non-members to build a wider political campaign machine. In her ''State of the Planet'' speech in Auckland,  which coincided with Labour leader David Shearer's speech in Wellington, co-leader Metiria Turei said the ''I'm in - for the future'' campaign would give non-members a chance to get involved.

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