Today in politics: Friday, December 13

Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013

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Politics

New Government target to see 90 per cent of rivers and lakes 'swimmable' by 2040 Auckland central's new Labour candidate to take on Nikki Kaye Peter Dunne proposes Civil Defence merger with new fire service after recent problems Alison Franklin wants to give back to Tararua through new councillor role Stand-down for employers who exploit migrants not enough: unions Pattrick Smellie: Bill English struggles to offload a billion dollars On oldie but a goodie: Joyce is playing the election year tax-cut shuffle Labour leader Andrew Little's divide and conquer 'not kaupapa Maori' New law could force more drug and alcohol addicts into compulsory rehabilitation Wellington's Raroa Intermediate School to get $1.1m to build two new classrooms

HIGH TURNOUT FOR ASSET SALES REFERENDUM

Voting in the citizens-initiated referendum on asset sales closes today. The public was given the opportunity to vote on whether they supported the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand. At the most recent count, on Wednesday, 1,248,022 people, 41.09 per cent of eligible voters, had cast their votes. The Government has said it will ignore the referendum outcome.

12-YEAR-OLD ASKS MPS TO 'SET AN EXAMPLE'

A 12-year-old boy has appeared before Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and trade committee to deliver a petition urging the Government to do more to stop whaling. Isaac Scott gathered 5000 signatures over two years and was invited to Parliament to present it. He told MPs about the number of whales being killed. He asked MPs to "set an example to the rest of the world and stop whaling in the Southern Ocean"

ONLINE VOTING COULD BE IN PLACE FOR 2016 ELECTION

Local Government Minister Chris Tremain has appointed a working party to look at the feasibility of online voting. The team includes IT consultants, a politics blogger, local body politicians and public servants who will look into the advantages and difficulties associated with online voting with a view to having it in place in time for the 2016 local body elections. Mr Tremain said that people should be able to vote that way as long as it was feasible.

SHARPLES TAKEN BY SUPERMODEL'S 'HUSKY' VOICE

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples proved he's not above being starstruck. Mr Sharples ended up sitting between supermodel Naomi Campbell and Irish rocker Bono on a VIP bus at Nelson Mandela's funeral. "I've got to admit that was a buzz," he said. He was at the back of the bus when the stars got on. "I called out 'a lot of room down here' and they came down". He said he was quite taken by Campbell and her "husky" voice.

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- Fairfax Media

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