Today in politics: Tuesday, March 25

Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014

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Politics

Vernon Small: Budget 'surplus' fades from view as Auckland property prices threaten $3 million savings from closure of 30 police stations Teina Pora claims compensation Benefit numbers reach a six-year low Govt takes aim at childhood obesity Flags of political convenience MBIE clears Chinese rail employers, despite being refused records Federated Farmers calls for more government cash for irrigation ACC revamp to cost $750m to $950m NZ greenhouse gas levels ease but remain well above 2020 target levels

Single fruit fly stings taxpayers for $900,000

The Queensland fruit fly found in Whangarei cost taxpayers more than $900,000 for work to establish if it was part of a breeding population.

The fly was found in a trap in January, leading to a two-week campaign to find any others, amid warnings it could damage New Zealand's $4 billion produce industry. At the time of the campaign, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the response was "rapid, professional and thorough".

Treasury secretaries do a trans-Tasman switch

The New Zealand and Australian treasuries have done a swap. Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf said his Australian counterpart Martin Parkinson had been appointed to the New Zealand Treasury Board, mirroring Mr Makhlouf's appointment to the newly established Australian Treasury Advisory Council last week.

The New Zealand Treasury board was set up to test key decisions and offer external expertise and perspectives

New guidelines to improve quality of political polls

The organisation that governs pollsters has released a new code of conduct, aimed at tightening the standard of political polls. Research Association New Zealand says all national polls should have at least 500 respondents, a margin of error of no more than plus or minus 4.5 per cent, exclude people who can't vote and attempt to include hard-to-reach people. 

Many polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent and include only eligible voters.

Business visa aimed at entrepreneurial migrants

A new visa has been set up to encourage migrants to start high-quality businesses and create new jobs.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Entrepreneur Work Visa, which requires a minimum $100,000 in capital, uses a new points-based system and replaces the Long-Term Business Visa, which was attracting too many low-quality applications. It gives extra points for expanding or starting businesses outside the Auckland region.

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- The Dominion Post

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