Today in politics: Wednesday, February 27

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013

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Below the beltway: the week in politics The danger around John Key's visit to Iraq was exaggerated - David Shearer Carl Worker announced as New Zealand's new ambassador for counter terrorism Controversial blue cod rules ditched Serious problems at Taji military base in Iraq - US report TPP: Generic drug applications under greater threat of injunctions Labour continues push into regions with Taranaki tours Bloomin' heck: Government departments spend $600,000 on flowers Education Minister overrules ministry's advice on charter school report Maori Fisheries Trust cynically ignored in Kermadec plan, leaders say

Peters concerned about Key's memory

Prime Minister John Key, putting the record straight over his erroneous claim that SkyCity had approached TVNZ over land to build a convention centre, said he "believed it to be true at the time" and made a "pretty fair assumption" after seeing architects' drawings incorporating the land.

That was too much for NZ First leader Winston Peters, who said Mr Key looked like "a ridiculous schoolboy" and advised a memory check from medical professionals.

Kim Dotcom? Clark requires a mega-pole

Former prime minister Helen Clark spent time on an "ask me anything" session on community news chat-site Reddit yesterday but was steering well clear of anything political back home.

She told questioners the nuclear policy was now "part of the Kiwi DNA" but, when asked about Kim Dotcom, she said: "I ain't touching that with a 20ft pole." She believed "that as PM I contributed to making NZ a fairer, better place to live in".

Celebrants won't be forced to say I do

The marriage equality bill is due to be reported back to Parliament today and is expected to confirm celebrants will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford has said it would breach human rights to require celebrants to conduct a marriage they did not agree with. Supporters of the bill argued it did not force them. But a change to make that explicit is on the cards.

MP? Doesn't that stand for Member of Public?

An MP for four years and one of National's rising stars, Sam Lotu-Iiga doesn't exactly lack a public profile. But parliamentary reception staff failed to recognise the Samoan MP yesterday, when he tried to access Bowen House's security gates without a swipe card.

The brawny MP explained he'd left his pass at home, only to be asked if he was one of the security team. Even after identifying himself as an MP, he was told to use the public entrance.

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- The Dominion Post

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