Today in politics: Saturday, July 20
National extends lead over Labour in poll
The gap between National and Labour has widened slightly in the latest Roy Morgan poll, which offered little good news for opposition parties. National was on 47 per cent (up 0.5 percentage points) while Labour eased by the same amount to 31 per cent in the survey taken between July 1 and 14. The Greens slid 1.5 to 11.5 per cent and NZ First rose one percentage point to 4.5 per cent. Mana was on 1.5 per cent just behind the Maori Party on 2 per cent.
Diplomats named for Cooks, Saudi Arabia
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced two new diplomatic appointments, with Joanna Kempkers taking up the role of high commissioner to the Cook Islands, where she has previously served as deputy. Career diplomat Hamish MacMaster will be the next ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He will work with the states of the Gulf Co-operation Council on New Zealand's recently launched strategy for the region.
Scrap looming over new industrial laws
Labour's Darien Fenton has stepped up attacks on new industrial laws. Labour Minister Simon Bridges has warned a proposed 60-day period, when employers and employees cannot resume collective bargaining or strike, will be seen as a breach of International Labour Organisation conventions. He did not consider the breaches significant, but Ms Fenton said they would leave workers vulnerable to pressure to take cuts in pay and conditions.
Smith looks to Aussies for lead on social housing
With housing high on the political agenda, minister Nick Smith is in Australia with Housing New Zealand boss Glen Sowry to check out how states handle social housing. Dr Smith said the Government's ambition was to dramatically grow the community social housing sector to provide 20 per cent of social housing. "Australia has achieved this over the past two decades and I want to learn from their experience," Dr Smith said.
The Dominion Post