Today in politics: Friday June 28, 2013
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.''