Today in politics: Friday, March 8

Last updated 05:00 08/03/2013

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Politics

Peter Dunne's Ohariu seat could be crucial if the election is close Labour won't win a 'change' election by looking the same Labour's David Parker calls for 'swimmable' test to reflect when and where you take a dip KiwiRail says 'Kaikoura effect' cuts surplus Bill English downplays high demand for emergency housing grants Chris Trotter: Labour's future has a single name National MP Paul Foster-Bell to stand down at election Jacinda Ardern: ambitious simply to be 'good at her job' Stacey Kirk: An expected steamroll - Mt Albert win gives Jacinda Ardern near unstoppable momentum Jonathan Milne: Is it time to take the keys from Police Commissioner Mike Bush?

KEY WARMS UP TO COFFEE CULTURE

Prime Minister John Key paid tribute to Colombia's other most famous export in Bogota yesterday. In a speech at the El Nogal club, Mr Key told an audience of Kiwi and Colombian business people that although the countries have a lot to learn about each other, "most New Zealanders would be familiar with your excellent coffee". He told them: "Our capital city, Wellington, is reputedly home to more cafes per head of population than New York City." 

WHEN A BONUS IS NOT A BONUS

It seems there are bonuses and "bonuses". Questions about the $23m paid to former Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder and his staff over the last two years saw new chairman Mark Ford attempt to draw the distinction. He said the "at risk" element of salary packages and incentive schemes were paid according to a formula and were part of individual or collective agreements. They were not bonuses. Bonuses were "discretionary", he said.

KIWIS TAKE A MIGHTY INTEREST IN POWER SHARES

The number of Kiwis who have pre-registered for Mighty River Power shares climbed past 200,000 yesterday afternoon. State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said the 200,000 mark was reached at 3.30pm. The bulk of pre-registrations - 89 per cent - were online, and the rest were divided between the call centre and smartphones. Those who pre-registered are first in line for Mighty River Power shares once they go on the market.

KELLY MAKES A POINT ON DROUGHT ASSISTANCE

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly has thrown support behind farmers getting drought assistance, but has made comparisons with how other "beneficiaries" are treated. Drought assistance "illustrates the importance of having a comprehensive social protection system that steps in when things go wrong, including the weather as in this case". But she noted farmers were working while they got the benefit, "presumably adding value to their assets"

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- Fairfax Media

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