Today in Politics: Saturday, February 22

Last updated 05:00 22/02/2014

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Politics

Climate change 'most serious' environmental issue for New Zealand - report Student achievement is improving in New Zealand but internationally Kiwis are slipping - report England lose to Iceland, John Key puts off call to David Cameron Officials reviewing P contamination guidelines, as expert says risk overstated Vodafone debt 'like being locked into high fixed-interest mortgage' says expert What does the law say about cyber bullying? Pharmac poised to fund melanoma drug Keytruda subject to feedback Damning inquiry 'misinterpreted', says State Services Minister Paula Bennett 'Cloud' technologies prompt Search & Surveillance Act review Five soldiers to face drug charges after Fiji incident

From Ukraine to McCully, Ashton covers a lot of ground

European Union Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton is in New Zealand next week for talks with Murray McCully. Last month she attempted to broker peace talks in Ukraine and yesterday announced the EU had imposed sanctions on the troubled state after deadly clashes. Baroness Ashton has also been involved in diplomacy over Iran's nuclear programme. She is a former leader of the House of Lords and trade commissioner for the European Commission.

Peters' claims have Nats all atwitter

What did politicians do before Twitter? Winston Peters' state-of-the-nation address had National ministers tapping away angrily on their smartphones. Judith Collins, Steven Joyce and Maurice Williamson hopped online to scotch his claims about the economy, immigration and Huka Lodge ownership. Tweet of the day, however, went to backbencher Paul Foster-Bell who wrote simply: ''Time to stop making stuff up Winston.''

Joyce suggests students should get part-time work

Steven Joyce also had cause to be grumpy with Victoria University students' association, which challenged the tertiary education minister to live on $173 for a week after he claimed that the amount students can borrow to live on has risen with inflation. The students said he was ''out of touch''. Mr Joyce responded that many of those on student allowances or student loans (which are about the same amount) could ''top that up with part-time work''.

Bennett:  Benefit for staff in young Sabin's speech

Darryl Sabin, son of Northland MP Mike Sabin, has a big fan in Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. After a catastrophic brain injury in 2009 cut short a promising professional rugby career, Darryl launched a motivational speaking company. Mrs Bennett was urging her staff to hear him deliver his ''Shit Happens'' speech at the Ministry of Social Development in Wellington on Monday. She was ''blown away'' by the 23-year-old's presentation. 

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