Today in politics: Thursday, February 21

Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013

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Politics

Nominations sought for ORC vacancy following death of Maggie Lawton Otago regional councillors halt water plan change English 'still not rushing into inquiry', says former defence minister has no new information Maori Party and Government reach deal to pass final stage of RMA reforms Australian Tax Office could oppose Apple paying tax in NZ, says source Housing First officially launched in Auckland A pragmatist signs out: Goodbye and good luck Edge of Lake Te Anau included in Govt tenders for oil and gas block exploration Editorial: SAS claims require full investigation Nicky Hager brings spirited conversation to Nelson cafe

No roll to play in SkyCity study

It wasn't just a roll of the dice that gave Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith the job of reporting on the Government's negotiations with SkyCity over the pokies-for-convention centre deal.

The decision was taken because Auditor-General Lyn Provost has been having a flutter on the stock market, and with a "small shareholding in SkyCity ... has not been involved in this inquiry".

Memory of meeting a little off Key

Meanwhile, the report has uncovered another "memory fade" by Prime Minister John Key – and it may be catching. It records that he met SkyCity's chief executive Nigel Morrison on May 14, 2009. SkyCity confirmed the meeting took place.

"Neither participant can recall the discussion, and think that it was probably just an opportunity for them to meet rather than for any particular purpose."

McCully plays it safe and orders drugs report

Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel yesterday reassured a parliamentary select committee that there was no evidence of a widespread doping culture in sport here.

But Sports Minister Murray McCully wants to be sure, and has asked for a report. He is also meeting police, customs and medical regulatory body Medsafe. Earlier this month the Australian Crime Commission revealed that organised crime was selling banned drugs to players.

Flat-out denial over steamroller

Sometimes it isn't just about avoiding the question, it's how you go about it. When a reporter suggested the auditor-general's report on negotiations with SkyCity for a convention centre showed Gerry Brownlee had been "steamrolled" by John Key's chief of staff, the hulking minister took exception, but in excellent humour.

"If you keep up that line of questioning, I'm going to start feeling sorry for myself. I don't think I've ever been steamrolled in my life."

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- The Dominion Post

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