Today in politics: Saturday, March 1

Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014

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Politics

Jo Moir: Schools will look to parents' pockets after a freeze on school operational funding Budget 2016: Minister Paula Bennett and Labour's Annette King divided, but onside with tobacco tax Stacey Kirk: Remission but no cure, with a healthy Budget boost for ailing an health system Few surprises in English's eighth Budget as surpluses prime election war chest Budget 2016: Recap chat with Finance Minister Bill English Budget 2016: Who's going to pay for Government spending? Social Housing grant called short term strategy, offloading homeless to other regions Budget 2016: In their words Budget 2016: What Budget 2016 tells us about the next election Mike Williams: Govt delivers a Budget that strives to ignore the housing crisis

Key joking defence of ACT's Whyte falls flat

Prime Minister John Key's attempt to make light of a blunder by ACT leader Jamie Whyte fell flat during a visit to Queenstown yesterday. Whyte raised eyebrows this week after comments suggesting the state should butt out of cases of incest involving consenting adults. During a speech Key joked that the usual question was "does your sister play golf", to which the response was "no she doesn't and I don't want to marry her either".

Key waves the banner for national flag debate

Meanwhile, Key continues to talk up the prospect of changing the New Zealand flag. He reiterated yesterday that a change was "certainly worthy of consideration" but it wouldn't happen without a referendum. The proposal has run into opposition from those who say it should remain unchanged from the flag Kiwi soldiers died under. But Key said the gravestones of soldiers on the Western Front bore the silver fern, not the New Zealand flag.

Commentators discuss Cunliffe's chief of staff

The appointment of working class warrior Matt McCarten as Labour leader David Cunliffe's chief of staff has sparked a rash of commentary, but it seems those on the Left such as commentator Chris Trotter can find the cloud in every silver lining. Blogger Bryce Edwards summed up Trotter's view: "This perceived shift to the Left could produce a crushing defeat for Labour, with severe ramifications for the ability of Labour to shift to the Left in the future."

No comment on sending webcam videos to spies

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to say whether New Zealanders have had images from their private webcam videos passed to international spy agencies. Documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed British spies intercepted and stored millions of Yahoo users' webcam images between 2008 and 2010. Mr Key said he "wouldn't want to offer a view" on whether it was legal to collect data from webcams.

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- The Dominion Post

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