Today in politics: Wednesday, December 11
MANDELA OUTSHONE THE QUEEN'S VISIT
MPs yesterday paid tribute to former South African leader Nelson Mandela, and UnitedFuture's Peter Dunne summed up his impact when he visited Wellington in 1995. "You could not move around this complex for people in the grounds – every building nearby, every balcony was thronged with crowds, waiting to see the great man alive." Weeks later barely 200 people turned up to greet the Queen at Parliament while she visited on a royal tour.
BROWNLEE ORDERED OUT OVER 'HOMELESS' STORY
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee found himself on shaky ground after calling Labour MP Phil Twyford a liar in Parliament yesterday. Mr Twyford had been talking about the case of a Christchurch woman forced to move into a tent after being made homeless when Mr Brownlee interrupted by saying "tell the whole story, you're a liar". But he quickly found himself on the other side of the debating chamber door.
INVESTORS 'LESS WEALTHY' NOW
Bill English is closer to admitting investors in asset sales have lost money. Although shares in Mighty River Power are down 20 per cent since listing, so far the finance minister has maintained that unless the shares had been sold, investors had lost nothing. Yesterday, when asked if the sales had increased inequality, he said, "The main complaint about it is those that felt they were wealthy enough to buy the shares are now less wealthy several months later."
SHANKS LEAVING EARLY FOR NEW JOB
Wellington-based National MP Katrina Shanks will quit earlier than previously announced, leaving at the end of the year to be chief executive of the Funeral Directors Association. Ms Shanks had already said she planned not to seek re-election in 2014. She was looking forward to spending more time with her family. Her replacement Joanne Hayes, who stood for National in Dunedin South in 2011, is director of community relations at UCOL Whanganui