Today in politics: Tuesday, February 19

Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013

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Education Minister Hekia Parata announces Marlborough colleges decision Live Chat replay: Chief Social Worker Paul Nixon talks child abuse in NZ Partner of Kiwi detainee speaks out about detention centre struggles Stories of detained Kiwis show 'crude' nature of Aus policy - Andrew Little Children's flag referendum views are being heard by voters in their families 'Our job is not to censor. We're not serving the political elite, business or corporations' 'I don't want to be prime minister' – Jacinda Ardern Former Australian detainee burglary arrest not a surprise - Andrew Little NZ flag shown in Islamic State video on group's enemies Why I'm voting my daughter's choice in the flag referendum

Daughter of Kate and Will could become queen

A new bill, announced yesterday, will support British plans to change royal succession laws. The Royal Succession Bill will allow an elder daughter to precede a younger son to the throne.

It will apply to the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Justice Minister Judith Collins said. The bill will allow a royal married to a Catholic to rule, but will not allow a Catholic to accede to the throne. A bill is also progressing through Westminster.

Gilmore hosed down before return to Parliament

Aaron Gilmore – due to be sworn in as an MP today – was greeted by a drenching with a hose as he crossed the line of Wellington's AMI Round the Bays 7 kilometre race on Sunday. On seeing the pic one wag tweeted: "Not so happy Gilmore."

A list MP during the last term, the business consultant is returning following Lockwood Smith's departure. Meanwhile, new Speaker David Carter, 60, completed the half-marathon in a decent 1hr 49min.

Cabinet finally looks at tobacco packet laws

Cabinet has finally discussed proposals to implement plain packaging for tobacco. Prime Minister John Key said yesterday to expect an announcement in the next couple of days. Ministers agreed in principle last year, but were awaiting the results of public consultation, which ended in October.

After a legal battle, similar laws came into force in Australia last month, but three countries are mounting a challenge at the World Trade Organisation.

Third Whip's power equated to a fly swat

For the first time in Parliament's history a party has a third Whip. But it seems the role doesn't come with too much glamour. National's deputy and chief Whips jokingly have black riding whips hanging outside their offices. Apparently staff were considering giving Jami-Lee Ross a fly swat to mark his new position.

Meanwhile, Chief Whip Louise Upston made the unusual decision not to move office, instead sticking it out in the deputy's base across the hall.

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- The Dominion Post

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