Today in politics: Friday June 28, 2013

Last updated 05:00 28/06/2013

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Politics

John Key's rural New Zealand problem Jo Doolan: Budget takes aim at child poverty, but does it do too much? Vodafone Rural Broadband uptake prompts inquiry call Matthew Hooton and Dirty Politics: anatomy of the vast right-wing conspiracy Greens leadership race too close to call Former ACT secretary referred to police over late declaration of donations Jenny Shipley among Mainzeal directors facing legal action Remember that time Helen Clark called John Campbell a 'sanctimonious little creep'? Support for mass KiwiSaver enrolment Auckland housing land released by Crown

Defence tributes set in stone

Plaques commemorating New Zealand's overseas deployments will be unveiled in Parliament's debating chamber on Tuesday alongside plaques marking major battles of the past. Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said one would mark the completion of the 10-year provincial reconstruction team in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in April. Families of those killed and wounded in Afghanistan would be present. Other plaques would honour peace missions back to 1948 and the end of the mission to East Timor.

Key touches base

Prime Minister John Key planned to speak to both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd to share commiserations and congratulations about the events across the Tasman. Mr Rudd was sworn in yesterday as prime minister. Mr Key was warm in his praise for Ms Gillard, for whom he had ''enormous respect''. 

Work and Income kiosks back online

New self-service kiosks are being trialled at Work and Income's Willis St, Wellington, site. The kiosks were closed after a blogger revealed they could be used to access private information. Work and Income deputy chief executive Debbie Power said if the new kiosks were successful they would be progressively rolled out nationwide from next week. She said the kiosks had been rigorously tested by independent security experts.

Open skies agreement a done deal

Agreement has been reached liberalising air services agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. The Qatar deal is awaiting Cabinet approval but the Kuwait and UAE agreements have been authorised and are awaiting signing. Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said they were cornerdhstones of the NZ Inc Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategy. ''These open skies agreements pave the way for more direct flights to and from the GCC region.''

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