Today in politics: Friday, February 14

Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014

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Politics

Calls grow for a return to the days when we were paid to recycle Government sets target to make New Zealand 'predator-free' by 2050 John Key: Don't write Helen Clark off yet, after UN polling Corrections failing Maori, needs drastic culture change - claim Labour leader Andrew Little's New Plymouth billboard defaced by vandals Nick Smith reveals he gargled paint stripper as mouthwash Reserve Bank mandate no longer cutting it - Labour Foreign Minister Murray McCully contracted Zika Veteran Taranaki regional councillor will not contest seat in upcoming election PM's department warned of Chinese trade threats, but didn't brief him

Easy Vote loss hurts some voters, says Labour

Electoral law changes have passed another hurdle in Parliament and include allowing people to enrol and update their details online, tightening electoral donations law and allowing parties to lodge bulk candidate nomination and party list documents by email. But Labour is criticising the decision not to continue with the Easy Vote card, and instead require a verbal declaration , saying it would make voting harder for those with English as a second language.

MPs 'mullahs' over plain packets, says

ACT leader-elect Jamie Whyte has come out against cigarette plain-packaging – not surprising, given John Banks was the lone MP to vote against the bill. But in a comment on ACT's website he called MPs supporting the law "mullahs" for banning words and images they think are harmful. He said no-one can know smoking is bad for you. "If people value the pleasure they receive from smoking more than the health they lose, smoking is a net gain to them."

Whyte Kiwibank to focus more on 'farming' existing clients

State-owned Kiwibank is shifting focus to extracting more value from existing clients. Chairman Sir Michael Cullen said a smaller proportion of its 850,000 customers used it as their main bank than customers of the "big four" banks. That left scope to sell credit cards, insurance and other financial products to those who were "not being fully farmed". He said its retail approach focused on service, but people were increasingly handling most services online.

Further step for student loan defaulter bill

A bill that clamps down on overseas-based student loan defaulters has passed its second reading. The Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill extends the Government's powers including allowing for arrest warrants to be issued for borrowers who have persistently refused to make repayments. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the bill would tighten lending criteria and increase the speed of repayments.

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- The Dominion Post

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