Today in politics: Friday, January 31

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014

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Politics

Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser commits New Zealand to 30pc cut in greenhouse gases Government delays release of Saudi sheep information Politicians split on foreign investment strategy's value to South Cantabrians Pacific trade talks said to resume, a sign deal may be near 2015 Budget surplus back to taunt Bill English just after dream abandoned Government launches plan to attract billions more from wealthy migrants Tributes flow for the late Edward 'John' Evans Government opens up financial assistance for struggling farmers MPs travel to Samoa for historic match Govt 'complacent' on economy: Opposition

Fast-tracking process for rent disputes

Rent disputes before the Tenancy Tribunal will be rushed through under a new ''Fasttrack'' process announced by Housing Minister Nick Smith. It would cut the time taken to process most disputes from 12 days to two by removing the need for mediation when landlords and former tenants could reach an agreement. Rent arrears disputes made up 76 per cent of the 43,000 tribunal applications received each year, he said. Fasttrack starts next month.

Anzac award rebranded - now open to anyone

The Anzac of the Year Award now has the governor-general's backing in a move organisers hope will throw open the gong to ordinary Kiwis who may have thought it was an exclusively military accolade. The rebranded award is now known as the Governor-General's Anzac of the Year Award. It was launched yesterday by Sir Jerry Mateparae and Sam Johnson, organiser of Student Volunteer Army, who were made Anzacs of the Year in 2012.

Final day for Gallipoli centenary ballot entries

Today is the last day for Kiwis who want to attend the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings to enter the ballot. Veterans Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse said interest had been huge, with nearly 8000 people applying for the 2000 spaces open to New Zealanders. Spaces in Gallipoli have been limited due to the expected interest and the ballot passes are the only way to gain entry. The ballot will be drawn in late February, with successful applicants notified in March.

Unanimous support for gay rights in Russia

Parliament yesterday unanimously passed a motion in support of gay rights in Russia. The motion was from Green Party MP Jan Logie in response to new anti-gay legislation in Russia banning the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. With the eyes of the world on Russia ahead of the Winter Olympics, Ms Logie said she wanted to support the gay community and show New Zealand's disapproval of gay human rights abuses.

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