Today in politics: Saturday, February 22
KING OF TONGA TO MAKE FIRST NZ VISIT
The king of Tonga will be in New Zealand next week for his first official state visit here. King Tupou VI took over the title after his brother, the flamboyant George Tupou V, died in Hong Kong last March. Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae said King Tupou will be in Wellington on Monday and his trip wraps up in Auckland on Wednesday. He will be accompanied by his wife, Queen Nanasipau'u.
BENNETT NOW MINISTER FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE ISSUES
Senior minister Paula Bennett has taken over responsibility for the sexual violence sector, which has previously been split between several ministers. Wellington Rape Crisis welcomed the move. The agency's manager, Natalie Gousmett, said having one minister accountable was something they had been asking for. It was also a relief to see concrete action being taken over the lack of sustainable and consistent funding for service providers, she said.
WILL THE REAL TARIANA TURIA PLEASE STAND UP
When Maori Party co-leader and minister Tariana Turia is expected to give a speech it is hit and miss as to whether it will be delivered by her or by a substitute. Speech notes are regularly released saying the speech was delivered on her behalf. But now it seems National MPs are also being roped in. Backbencher Sam Lotu-Iiga spoke at the opening of a new building in Auckland yesterday and delivered an address on behalf of Mrs Turia. Labour reshuffle may be good news for Jones
LABOUR RESHUFFLE MAY BE GOOD NEWS FOR JONES
Labour leader David Shearer's long-awaited reshuffle is set to be unveiled on Monday. That suggests he is not prepared to wait any longer for the result of the auditor-general's report into Shane Jones' role in the Bill Liu immigration case. That may spell good news for the list MP who is widely tipped for a return to a senior role. Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins will probably pick up the high-profile education role, but other top jobs are also in the mix.