Today in politics: Thursday, January 31

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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Politics

Government declines inquiry into convictions of Peter Ellis New Zealand troops depart for Iraq Call for Government to lift refugee quota Free GP visits don't cover all children - Greens MPs forced to reveal property in private super funds under new rules Brothers in arms - sort of Australia-New Zealand PMs urge a show of force on Anzac Day Use it or lose it, Government tells Special Housing developers Unions call for reforms to quarry rules Maori Party hits out at visiting Australian PM Tony Abbott

DISCUSSIONS HINT OF A SPEAKER CHALLENGE
David Carter will be elected Speaker today, but not before a likely challenge. Mr Carter yesterday visited Labour leader David Shearer after complaints that the Opposition had not been consulted over the nomination of Parliament’s ‘‘referee’’. Mr Shearer said he discussed the next move with colleagues last night, but  would not disclose the outcome, saying he wanted to talk to other parties first. That suggests a rival nomination is likely.

KEY OFFERS TO HELP
out flooded QueenslandNew Zealand has offered assistance to flood-stricken Queensland. Prime Minister John Key said he had spoken to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and offered whatever support was needed. He would do the same for New South Wales if required. ‘‘Neither of them have requested any help but if they did we’d closely look at it.’’ Help would probably include emergency personal reinforcements. ‘‘I said any support you need come back and talk to us about it.’’

HOUSING BATTLE CONTINUES
Prime Minister John Key, dismissive of the Labour Party’s plans to build $300,000 Auckland homes, faced questions from Greens co-leader Metiria Turei about Hobsonville homes selling for $300,000. ‘‘Has he never visited his own electorate?’’ But Mr Key saidDavid Shearer had had a ‘‘road to Ponsonby experience’’, discovering $300,000 home would not be the four-bedroom house he claimed.

COURT HEARS CLAIMS ON STATE ASSETS AND WATER
A legal challenge to the Government’s proposed asset sales reaches its climax today, with the Supreme Court hearing arguments that the process should be blocked. Colin Carruthers, QC, will argue a joint appeal from the Maori Council and the Waikato River and Dams Claims Trust that the Crown should not go ahead with the proposed sale of Mighty River Power shares before the extent of Maori ownership of resources is established.

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