Today in politics: Wednesday, December 11

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013

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Steven Joyce backs down on changes to student loan borrowing John Key commits $20 million to help reduce agriculture emissions Resource management reforms win initial Labour backing Andrew Little dismisses impact of Nanaia Mahuta demotion on Maori support Bill English brushes off Treasury report into anchor project viability More NZ retirees will become homeless without action on housing - Salvation Army High flying costs New Zealand tax payers Police trialling iPhone video statements at domestic abuse callouts Call for law reform to help families step in when elders get scammed online Moroney rewarded for ACC, parental leave work


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.


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.


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."


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

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- Fairfax Media

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