Today in politics: Thursday, January 31

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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Politics

Stacey Kirk: Long knives being sharpened, but can Helen Clark stay clear of the blades? Below the Beltway: The week in politics Jo Moir: The Maori King has nailed his colours to the mast by shunning Labour Key washes hands of soap 'joke' but has he learned his lesson? Auckland mayoral hopeful Phil Goff: Limit immigration to fix housing crisis Nick Smith is 'Milllion-dollar Minister' as average Auckland house passes $1m mark Jonathan Milne: There's only one answer to the housing bubble – gently deflate it Oscar Kightley: 'Unfairness at work continues, thanks to one u-turn' Jacinda v David: Put kids at the centre of the school funding debate Alice Wylie: The nonagenarian with a lifetime of political tales to tell

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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