Today in politics: Thursday, April 10

Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014

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Politics

Christchurch City Council opposes plan to give health boards fluoridation power Maori Party co-leaders warn the Labour Party's grip on the Maori seats is loosening Taking a sledgehammer to homelessness Bill English attends Ratana for first time as Prime Minister - and a day earlier than expected '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

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.''

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- Fairfax Media

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