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Today in politics: Tuesday, July 30

Last updated 05:00 30/07/2013

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Politics

Govt should raise tobacco taxes by up to 50 per cent: smoking opponents The political year has kicked off so here are 10 things to watch out for The sale of an Abel Tasman beach and other gaps in the Queen's chain New hope for Hawaiki or Bluesky cable after Pacific Island leaders meet in Auckland No repeat of controversial NZ live sheep shipment to Mexico this season Metiria Turei returns with a surprise after a four-week sabbatical Max Key's less-than-luxurious Waitangi weekend holiday Prime Minister John Key outlines the Government's priorities for the year Finance Minister Bill English sees no reason to change Reserve Bank agreement NZ considering aid boost to help Tonga contain Zika virus

Charter schools scheme 'an ideological experiment'

Labour plans to repeal legislation allowing the creation of charter schools if it gets into government next year.

The Government is expected to announce candidates for the first schools this week. Labour leader David Shearer says the scheme is "an ideological experiment" with unregistered teachers and less accountability than state schools.

He says the party has already drafted a bill repealing recent Education Act changes that allow charter schools to be established.

Parliament buildings show signs of shake-up

A building report confirms some of Parliament's buildings sustained minor damage in the 6.5 magnitude quake on July 21.

Civil engineering inspection reports on Parliament House, Bowen House and the Parliamentary Library noted cracks in the wall of the galleria and to the ceiling in Ayes Lobby.

Further inspection of damage in Parliament House is recommended "and some remedial work will likely be required", the report says. 

Digital enhancement . . . How much is too much?

National MP Tau Henare gave Labour MP Kris Faafoi a hard time over a Fairfax article with airbrush campaign photographs.

"Which is real and which is fake? The dark one or the light one?" Henare tweeted.

The Mana MP fired back: "Both of them don't like you so it doesn't really matter bro!"

The debate reignited after Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown appeared to have a digital makeover in a photo for her upcoming election campaign.

Nominations open for Christchurch East

The Labour Party opened nominations for the Christchurch East seat yesterday.

MP Lianne Dalziel is quitting to run for the city's mayoralty. General secretary Tim Barnett said the party ran "democratic and rigorous selection processes, and this will be no exception".

Former Waimakariri and current list MP Clayton Cosgrove is expected to seek the nomination. There has also been speculation that councillor Glenn Livingstone may throw his hat in the ring.

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- Fairfax Media

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