Today in politics: Saturday, May 25

Last updated 05:00 25/05/2013

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Politics

Transport Minister Simon Bridges stands by Northland promise Colin Craig's lawyers in talks over Rachel MacGregor saga Scholarship exam fees a barrier for low decile schools - Labour NZ First leader Winston Peters keeps mum on deputy coup rumours Children's free GP visits kick in tomorrow Auckland to get a third of $13.9bn national transport fund MPs have better access than most when it comes to getting a rugby ticket Chris Laidlaw elected new GWRC chairman, rates set at 9.8 per cent New Zealand plans to focus on Mid-East on the security council Northland leader Sonny Tau forced to step down as Nga Puhi negotiator

TUESDAY REVEAL FOR FOOD IN SCHOOLS

A "quite comprehensive" package on food in schools will be unveiled on Tuesday, Prime Minister John Key says. "We're in a financial position to do a little bit more now," he said. KidsCan provides breakfast to 4500 children, while Fonterra and Sanitarium provide cereal and milk in more than 400 schools. "It will be up to individual programmes whether they want to continue down that one or continue alongside us in the programme that we're running."

TWO MORE LEAVE PARATA'S OFFICE

Education Minister Hekia Parata is to lose two more staff. Her senior political adviser, Claire Edmondson, finished up yesterday, after just six months. Her senior private secretary, Natalie Maher, is moving to a new job outside the Beehive. Earlier this year a departing senior private secretary laid a personal grievance complaint and former education secretary Lesley Longstone walked away with a $425,000 payout.

 

'POSITIVE RESULT' IN NOVOPAY ROUND

 

The latest figures on Novopay’s troubles were released by minister Steven Joyce yesterday. In Pay Period 4, which was paid on the morning of May 15, 36 people were not paid, 122 were overpaid, and 195 underpaid. This was 0.44 per cent of staff – up from 0.26 per cent in the last round. Just over 10 per cent – 247 – of schools were affected. Mr Joyce said it was ‘‘another positive result showing a consistent performance’’.

SHAREHOLDING SEEN AS MIGHTY BIG SPREAD

John Key has defended the spread of ‘‘mum and dad’’ shareholders in Mighty River Power after revelations only 13.4 per cent of the company went to 101,000 small retail buyers. About the same amount went to 12,844 wealthy investors, charities, businesses and superannuation funds. Mr Key said 108,000 received parcels of up to $25,000 and the company had the most shareholders on the NZ exchange.

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