Today in politics: Saturday, March 15

Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014

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Joyce targeting Asian business

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will travel to Indonesia and Vietnam tomorrow to hold talks on New Zealand's trade with Asean nations. ''New Zealand's exports to Indonesia have doubled since 2005 to $886 million in 2013,'' he said. ''Trade with Vietnam is also growing - last year exports grew by 6 per cent to $451m.'' Mr Joyce will open the NZ Education Fair in Jakarta and  speak at the Indonesia New Zealand Renewable Energy Forum. 

Cunliffe wavered over speech timing

Labour leader David Cunliffe apparently wavered over whether to deliver his speech announcing the party's economic direction yesterday or next week.  Speaking to Right-wing think-tank the New Zealand Institute, Mr Cunliffe signalled a push on regional development and more investment in areas like forestry as part of an ''economic upgrade''.  Organisers were not sure whether  he  would attend  after he RSVP'd, then pulled out more than once.

Calling on groups to shrink waistlines

The Government is seeking organisations who think they can make a difference to New Zealand's burgeoning waistlines. Health Minister Tony Ryall yesterday called for registrations of interest for ''Healthy Families NZ'' - the first step in the rollout of a new Government anti-obesity initiative. Government-funded lead providers would bring together key organisations in the community, to target eating and exercise habits at a family level. 

Farmers expecting deluge of drugs

As the rest of the North Island braces for wild weather ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Lusi, Federated Farmers turned to pop poetry as they crossed their fingers for rain. ''Will Lusi deliver rain from the sky like diamonds?'' they asked in a statement. While the reference to the Beatles hit, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds grabbed attention, it was unclear whether the Feds' media team was aware of the song's  supposed association with  LSD.

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