Today in politics: Saturday, March 1

Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014

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Politics

Ron Mark new NZ First deputy Banks, consultants and law firms dominate state house sale meetings Charter school has budget surplus eight times the average state school Ron Mark the natural choice for NZ First deputy leader Kiwi leaders sleep rough for Big Sleepout NZ Herald found in breach over ponytail gate article US Vice-President Joe Biden sends NZ an Independence Day message Steven Joyce warns of a 'bumpy' economy amid gloomier bank forecasts No recovery plan to bring 600 native species back from brink of extinction National testing for Year 9 and 10 students ahead

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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