Today in politics: Saturday, February 22

Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013

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Politics

PM on prison rape joke: 'It's nothing to do with me' Another minor National bill drawn from ballot amid Opposition complaints International media batter New Zealand's progressive social welfare legacy Parliament's public entrance goes smokefree, but total ban stubbed out Opinion maker: Tony Holman QSO on his vision for a better Auckland post local body elections Alexandra shows Prime Minister rural heart of New Zealand Petition calls for change to allow children to ride on footpaths Superannuatants form political party to stop Government taking their pensions Government urged to tear up surplus carbon credits, not use them to meet target David Tua wants knockout blow for Easter Sunday trading law

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.

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- Fairfax Media

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