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Today in politics: Monday, February 25

Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013

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Politics

Brownlee declares war on defence jargon Flag needs to 'scream NZ': John Key Goff let off over revealing report details Forum advises clampdown on alcohol ads and sponsorship Current account deficit balloons to 6-year high Novopay cost still 'unacceptably high': Joyce Rizalman report may see disciplinary action Government surplus in doubt Crass opportunism in wake of siege Deficit a bitter pill for Government

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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