Today in politics: Thursday, February 14

Last updated 05:00 14/02/2013

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Politics

Transport Minister Simon Bridges stands by Northland promise Colin Craig's lawyers in talks over Rachel MacGregor saga Scholarship exam fees a barrier for low decile schools - Labour NZ First leader Winston Peters keeps mum on deputy coup rumours Children's free GP visits kick in tomorrow Auckland to get a third of $13.9bn national transport fund MPs have better access than most when it comes to getting a rugby ticket Chris Laidlaw elected new GWRC chairman, rates set at 9.8 per cent New Zealand plans to focus on Mid-East on the security council Northland leader Sonny Tau forced to step down as Nga Puhi negotiator

Turei calls for Parata to stand down

The Green Party has had a minor reshuffle of responsibilities and handed education to co-leader Metiria Turei. She wasted no time homing in on her target.

Education Minister Hekia Parata was a "proven failure" and should stand down, she said. She will also target the Government's charter school programme.

Mallard a surprise guest at National party

Labour MP Trevor Mallard has a rather unexpected event coming up. He was surprised to have been invited to join the National Party for "Business After Five"' with party president Peter Goodfellow in Lower Hutt next month.

He'll also have the opportunity to meet general manager Greg Hamilton. The National Party might want to review its mailing lists – Mr Mallard said he would be delighted to accept.

Treasury boss gets it easy at select committee

Few officials preparing for a select committee grilling could dream of Treasury boss Gabriel Makhlouf's treatment. During his appearance before the finance and expenditure select committee yesterday, MPs were more focused on the man sitting beside him, Finance Minister Bill English.

In 45 minutes, Mr Makhlouf's entire contribution was confirming that figures on the Christchurch earthquake's contribution to economic growth could be prepared.

English picks a date for more fiscal restraint

Finance Minister Bill English has named the big day – his fifth Budget will be delivered on Thursday, May 16. But it sounds like it will play a familiar tune. It would be delivered against the backdrop of "extremely challenging global economic times", Mr English said.

In other words, expect more fiscal restraint and a big emphasis on paying off debt.

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- The Dominion Post

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