Today in politics: Wednesday, February 6

Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013

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Labour: Housing NZ must account for 'financial and human cost' of meth testing flaws Former Horowhenua mayor reflects on 21 years in local politics No concrete plans for Northland bridges Analysis: Was Joseph Parker's heavyweight bout 'political dynamite' for MPs? Paula Bennett's reign as acting Prime Minister ends via text message John Key's time in India was 'short and sweet' but will be chalked up as a success Brendon McCullum called Prime Minister by Indian announcer during John Key visit PM Key tells off Max over 'real men ride women' blurt Motorcades and high level security are the perks of travelling with the PM: Brendon McCullum US Secretary of State tipped for NZ visit

Harawira fracas 'grannygate in a teacup' 

There was a lot of fuss about Titewhai Harawira escorting Prime Minister John Key on to Te Tii Marae in Waitangi yesterday. There was less fuss when Nellie Rata escorted Mr Shearer.

Labour MP Shane Jones said Opposition parties received a warm welcome at the marae and the drama around Mr Key was a storm in a teacup. There was a lot of turbulence in politics but the debate over Mrs Harawira was "granny-gate", he said.

Delahunty distrustful of top public servant

Greens education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty has questioned the appointment of former Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet chief Sir Maarten Wevers to head the ministerial inquiry into Novopay.

"We are not criticising his achievement as a public servant or his capability," she said. "[But] because he came from the prime minister's department there could be the perception that he was part of the government approach to the issue."

Novopay spreads headaches to IRD

Meanwhile, teachers are set to lose out on child support payments and KiwiSaver contributions because of the ongoing fiasco. The chaotic payroll system has created a huge headache for Inland Revenue as the end of the tax year looms.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne confirmed the tax department has installed a senior manager and small teams of specialist payroll experts at the Ministry of Education to sort out the mess.

Te Tai Tonga MP confused with his dog

When Labour leader David Shearer rattled through the names of his Maori MPs and the good works they were doing, it sounded like a slip of the tongue when he referred to Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene as "Tino" before correcting himself.

But more likely he was indulging in some word association, given that the Shearer family's dog is called Tino Rangatiratanga. The "schnoodle" got its name because his daughter first spotted it on the internet on Waitangi Day.

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- The Dominion Post

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