Today in Politics: Saturday, 15 February

Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014

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'Fat people' to blame for tobacco tax: Winston Peters Schools will decide how to spend targeted funding for under-achieving kids Key gets tough on Auckland with new policy forcing councils to release land Below the beltway: The week in politics Budget 2016: Changing super will be super hard, which is why John Key should do it Govt thinks about compulsory warranty to protect against building flaws DHBs still being shortchanged, says Labour - unveils health map to highlight regional shortfalls Polluters have to pay full cost of emissions after bill passes final hurdle Sole buyer of Invercargill state houses pulls out, stalling Government plans Five charts that explain the Budget

Assistant secretary will lead strategic dialogue

The United States assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Daniel Russel,  will visit New Zealand next weekend. He will meet senior officials in Auckland and Wellington, and lead the fourth  US delegation to the US-NZ strategic dialogue.  The former White House staffer was appointed last July. He helped formulate President Barack Obama’s strategic ‘‘pivot’’ to Asia.

Politicians’ random pocket tweets good for a laugh

Engaging in social media can be a double-edged sword. Yesterday former ACT party  president John Boscawen and Police Minister Anne Tolley fell victim to the curse of the ‘‘pocket tweet’’. Boscawen provoked much mirth when he tweeted simply ‘‘E’’.  It was assumed it was a random character generated from his pocket, rather than a coded reference to amphetamines.  Tolley tweeted ‘‘we’’ before later deleting it.

McCully checking on Fiji’s progress to  democracy

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully travelled to Fiji yesterday to check on progress towards democracy restoring elections. He is  visiting as part of a Pacific Islands Forum delegation. The ministerial contact group will meet a range of government and non-government representatives. The group  is made up of ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

All Black captain would sweep the vote

Prime Minister John Key was clearly enjoying the company of  the country’s sporting elite at the Halberg Awards on Thursday night. Taking to the stage with Sir Peter Leitch (the Mad Butcher),  Key greeted the dignitaries, including ‘‘Prime Minister Richie McCaw’’.  Key  joked that if the All Blacks captain decided to enter politics, the rest of the parties would be lucky to scrape together 5 per cent of the votes between them.


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- The Dominion Post

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