Today in politics: Wednesday, April 9

Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014

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Politics

Taking a sledgehammer to homelessness Bill English attends Ratana for first time as Prime Minister - and a day earlier than expected Christchurch City Council opposes plan to give district health boards power to decide on fluoridation 'Labour has to step up' for Maori, Turia says ACT leader David Seymour calls for action on housing affordability US scrapping TPP bad for NZ - English Sugar content too high in nearly half the drinks Kiwis kids can buy, study finds American ex-pats show their colours as hundreds protest Donald Trump's inauguration in Wellington Sam Sachdeva: Greens take the lead as parties prepare candidates for 2017 election David Slack: No need to go overboard

Dotcom needn't wait for Brownlee response

Virtually every electorate MP has denied plans to defect to the Internet Party, with most being outright dismissive. Few have been quite as plausible as Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. A well-known technophobe, the MP for Ilam links his struggle to cope with the basics of his smartphone with the unlikely prospect of joining Kim Dotcom's party. "I struggle with texts," he said. "Frankly, on a smartphone, dialling a number's pretty hard for me." 

Greens: Drilling in pristine beech forest unacceptable

The Greens are labelling moves to open up a South Island conservation forest park for petroleum exploration unacceptable. Green MP Gareth Hughes says most of Victoria Forest Park on the West Coast - land the Department of Conservation describes as pristine beech forest - is part of the   Government's latest block offer.  Energy Minister Simon Bridges said operators would need resource consent, and to satisfy local bodies  and DOC before any exploration.

Underestimated tax-take will 'squeeze'

Tax revenues continue to come in below forecast, adding pressure to the targeted return to surplus in 2014-15. Figures from the Treasury made public  yesterday show that in the eight months to February 28, core revenue was $1.1 billion below expectations. That meant the deficit for the period was $884 million worse than expected, at $1.4b. Finance Minister Bill English admitted this would put  an added ‘‘squeeze’’ on next month’s Budget.

Budget 'One-armed bandit' takes on 'nanny' in Lotto row

Prime Minister John Key has labelled a call to ban Lotto sales at supermarket checkout tills ''a bit nanny state''. Labour MP Shane Jones likened the move to installing a one-arm bandit at every checkout,  and says it will take the food out of children's mouths. He also called for a cap on Lotto winnings as he believes a $30 million jackpot was too high. But Key said it was not up to the Government to tell people whether they should buy a Lotto ticket.

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- The Dominion Post

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