Smith in the corner for embattled Bridges
Conservation Minister Nick Smith has leapt to the defence of embattled Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, who has been under attack for opening up parts of the West Coast to petroleum prospectors, not knowing the area contained New Zealand's largest forest park. Smith, the greenest blue of them all, said it was his job to assess possible environmental impact and he had studied the proposals and was relaxed with the areas put forward.
Labour turns down Greens' formal proposal
Labour has rejected a formal Greens proposal that the two parties campaign as a coalition government-in-waiting. On current polling Labour could not hope to govern without the Greens, and often points to the combined Left bloc's support to argue it has a chance of ousting National. But it may also need Winston Peters' NZ First to get across the line. Cunliffe confirmed the proposal ''did not find favour'' with Labour MPs.
Moroney's paid parental leave bill may not make it
Sue Moroney's private member's bill to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks may not progress through Parliament before the Budget, with National MPs expected to filibuster the bill last night. While the Labour list MP's bill has the numbers to pass, National has pledged to exercise its right to use a financial veto to block it if it passes, in favour of a more modest increase. Labour said it believed National may stop the bill passing before the election
Curran denies claims she plans to join Dotcom
Labour MP Clare Curran is (again) denying she plans to join the Internet Party. The story was briefly reignited yesterday when John Key claimed that the Dunedin South MP had told Labour leader David Cunliffe that she would leave to join Kim Dotcom's party ''if he wasn't nice to her''. Cunliffe called for Key's statement to be ruled out of order. Curran said the conversation Key referred to did not exist. ''Never discussed with DC or anyone else at all EVER.''
- Fairfax Media
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