Today in politics: Saturday 16 March
Ministers on conveyer belt to Asian nations
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has just got back from Malaysia. Now it’s the turn of Commerce Minister Craig Foss and Finance Minister Bill English for an Asian sojourn. Mr Foss will lead a business delegation to the Asia Development Bank Business Opportunities Fair in Manila next week. He will also meet the Philippines trade and finance secretaries. Mr English is headed to Hong Kong to deliver a speech at the Asia Investment Conference.
Maori descendants to get electoral roll option
More than 420,000 Maori voters will have the chance to change electoral rolls later this year. A boost in the number on the Maori roll could see a new Maori electorate created. Electoral Commission spokesman Murray Wicks said the advertising campaign for the Maori Electoral Option will kick off this weekend. Letters will be sent to those who indicated they had Maori heritage. People will be able to change between the general and Maori roll or stay put.
Parking tax plan likely to be deemed not roadworthy
A backdown on the so-called car park tax looks to be on the cards. Less than 24 hours after returning home from South America, Prime Minister John Key wasted no time backpedalling over the controversial measure, which IRD is proposing for businesses in the Wellington and Auckland CBDs. Mr Key confirmed Revenue Minister Peter Dunne was reviewing the tax, which has sparked complaints from both business and unions.
Pope to be blessed with presence of Finlayson
Cabinet Minister and Catholic Chris Finlayson will represent New Zealand at the Papal Inauguration Mass in Rome next week. Mr Finlayson is to attend the inauguration of Pope Francis on March 19. He said it was a momentous occasion for the Catholic community. ‘‘On behalf of the Government, I wish him the best for his term of office and congratulate the people of Argentina on a hugely significant day in the history of that country.’’