Today in politics: Monday, February 25

Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013

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Politics

PhD research highlights unparliamentary language in New Zealand Paula Bennett joins Simon Bridges in race to become deputy PM, both back Bill English Nelson City councillor Matt Lawrey seeks Green Party candidacy Nicky Hager labels Judith Collins 'unfit' to be prime minister Youth Justice age to be raised to 18, Anne Tolley announces How much weight do four National backbenchers hold over who will be the next Prime Minister? 'Surreal' feeling as Rangitaane o Manawatu treaty settlement is completed Pattrick Smellie: Bill English's opportunity to shine John Key to the boardroom: Former PMs earn fortune as directors Texan pens definitive guide to moving to New Zealand

TOMATO TWEETS UNNERVE STAFF

Spin doctors usually worry about tomatoes only if rotten fruit is being thrown at their political charges.

But sources say a recent tweet from Health Minister Tony Ryall, about the home-grown tomatoes harvested by his wife, caused disquiet among communications staff in the upper floors of the Beehive.

National prefers its MPs to be rigorously on-message when using social media. Imagine the anxiety if he went public with leeks.

ROYALS' FIRST VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND

Tonga's King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u Tuku'aho attended a service at Wellington's Wesley Methodist Church on their first official visit to New Zealand.

They will receive a state welcome at Government House today and finish their trip in Auckland on Wednesday.

The service was attended by members of Tongan churches from the Wellington region. King Tupou VI took over after his brother, George Tupou V, died in Hong Kong last March.

NATIONAL'S 12TH MAN RUNNING FOR COVER

Newly returned National MP Aaron Gilmore continues to make an impact - on the sports field at least.

Playing cricket for a parliamentary XI against a team of diplomatic staff, the list MP quickly ran out TVNZ political editor Corin Dann.

Mr Gilmore was then hit for three sixes before leaving the ground on MP business.

The Parliament team still prevailed. Mr Gilmore returned to the backbenches last week to replace former Speaker Lockwood Smith.

LABOUR POOH-POOH'S ACT'S HOUSING POLICY

ACT's annual conference this weekend launched new policy to improve housing affordability.

Proposed changes to the Resource Management Act would make it easier for home owners to build on their own land and to subdivide properties, leader John Banks said.

However, Labour Party leader David Shearer said it would lead to more red-tape and legal battles. "Tinkering around with the RMA is simply not going to do it," he said.

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