Today in politics: Wednesday 26 February

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014

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Politics

Key washes hands of soap 'joke' but has he learned his lesson? PM on prison rape joke: 'It's nothing to do with me' Another minor National bill drawn from ballot amid Opposition complaints International media batter New Zealand's progressive social welfare legacy Parliament's public entrance goes smokefree, but total ban stubbed out Opinion maker: Tony Holman QSO on his vision for a better Auckland post local body elections Alexandra shows Prime Minister rural heart of New Zealand Petition calls for change to allow children to ride on footpaths Superannuatants form political party to stop Government taking their pensions Government urged to tear up surplus carbon credits, not use them to meet target

Mall therapy for Kiwi smokers

A national health target to ensure health professionals are giving patients advice on how to quit smoking can only go so far - the new best place to target smokers is the mall. Association Health Minister Tariana Turia has praised a University of Otago Wellington nicotine replacement therapy trial at Queensgate mall in Lower Hutt, where 256 smokers sampled therapies under the guidance of a coach. The Ministry of Health-funded trial is now extending to North City Mall in Porirua and Palmerston North in March.

Coleman off to Nato summit

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman heads to Brussels this week to meet defence leaders at the Nato-ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) summit as the pull out from Afghanistan continues. ‘‘The Nato-ISAF summit is a good opportunity to discuss the ISAF drawdown and planning for Nato’s post-2014 training, advice and assistance mission in Afghanistan,’’ he said. He will go on to New York to pitch New Zealand’s bid for the UN Security Council.

Career path app gets Joyce’s tick

A new app to help students pick a career path was launched by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce. Trumpeting the app to a classroom at Wellington Girls High School yesterday, Joyce said it would help them to make better informed career choices. The free app allows users to search a number of professions and meters indicate average income levels, training fees and likelihood of employment.

Key running scared says Peters

Winston Peters says John Key is ‘‘attempting to master the art of mind reading’’ after the prime minister said he thought NZ First would choose to go into government with Labour and Greens. ‘‘It is doubtful that Mr Key has read not only the minds of the NZ First caucus and party members, but those of Kiwi voters as well. It’s much more likely that National’s own polling is showing they are bleeding voters to NZ First, and he is now running scared.’’  Peters said.

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- Fairfax Media

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