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Labour Westcoast Quandary - The Labour Party admits it is in a quandary over how to create job growth and business on the West Coast without controversial logging of native forests. The Government has been attacked by the conservation quarter over its vote-catching policy to allow sustainable logging of beech forests. The West Coast seat is partly held by Labour’s Damien O’Connor. But he is under pressure to retain his seat if Labour comes out with a policy against logging. Party leader Helen Clark says the policy has yet to be announced and that the caucus is having a debate on the topic. Ms Clark has signalled her concern about the Timberlands plan. She says the logging will claim few jobs on the West Coast anyway and that the logs will be transported to Christchurch for processing.

Education Minister Unsympathetic To Parity Demands - Education Minister Nick Smith is lending an unsympathetic ear in response to Kindergarten teacher’s demands for parity with primary school colleagues. Any move to parity he says with unfairly discriminate against other early childhood education teachers. Dr Smith says it would be “grossly unfair” to give 1600 kindergarten teachers parity while leaving out another 16,000 early childhood teachers, many of whom he says have identical qualifications. He says it would cost another $130 million to $150 million to give all early childhood teachers the same pay.

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Commerce Commission: Retail Fuel "Not As Competitive As It Could Be"

The Commission has outlined some options it considers could improve competition. There are two broad sets of options it thinks may have the potential to help create a competitive wholesale market. These are:

• Greater contractual freedom to make it easier for resellers to switch between suppliers; and
• Enabling wider participation in the majors’ joint infrastructure, notably the shared terminals and supporting logistics involved in their borrow-and-loan system.
Further options, including improving the transparency of premium petrol prices, are discussed in the draft report. More>>

 

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

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School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

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IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

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Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Bad Mail

Cabinet was updated on the process around prisoners sending mail, following the accused Christchurch gunman sending letters that "should have been stopped". All mail of "high concern prisoners" will now be checked by a specialist team and a changes to the legal criteria for witholding mail are expecting to go to a cabinet committee in this parliamentary session. More>>

Welfare: Ongoing Drug-Test Sanctions Contradicts Govt’s Rhetoric

Reports that two-thirds of beneficiaries who fail drug tests are still having their benefit sanctioned contradicts the Government’s so-called health approach to drugs. More>>

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Welfare: More Measures To Help Those Facing Homelessness

Ministers have announced $54 million in Government funding for initiatives which will support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancies. The funding will also provide additional wrap around services. More>>

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Corrections: New Strategy On Māori Reoffending And imprisonment

Authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau are key elements of Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. More>>

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