National News Brief, Friday November 21

Stricter bail laws by Christmas, new prison by 2011; families of violent kids to get parenting courses; John Key earns more than Kevin Rudd; new faces in Labour's shadow cabinet; Otago's "all white" cricket promo; and more

Tougher bail laws will be passed under urgency before Christmas, as National begins implementing its election promises on law and order, the New Zealand Herald says in today's front page lead. Bail will be denied if there is any risk to the public, rather than the more qualified criteria of "real or substantial" risk that judges used under Labour's legislation. Justice minister Simon Power said the next two priorities were harsher sentences for crimes against children and on-the-spot prosecution orders in domestic violence cases. A new 572-inmate prison would be built by 2011 to house the extra prisoners National's policies will create.

Parenting courses will be offered to the mothers and fathers of up to 15,000 violent or misbehaving children, according to the DominionPost. The Education Ministery-led Incredible Years programme is focused on three to eight year-olds and its expansion has been praised by Principal Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft. An Auckland University study has estimated that over a lifetime a child with chronic antisocial behaviour costs society $3m.

Kiwibank, Westpac and TSB all cut home-loan rates yesterday in anticipation of the Reserve Bank cutting the official cash rate on December 4. Westpac led the way, cutting three-quarters of a percentage point off its floating and most of its fixed rates. Kiwibank responded, offering the cheapest fixed and floating rates of 7.95 percent and 7.29 percent respectively. The DomPost says with lower loans and petrol added to October's tax cuts "some households" would be "$80 a week better off than they were a few weeks ago".

Hanover Finance plans to fully repay its 16,375 secured investors by the end of 2013, under a restructuring proposal announced yesterday. Investors in Hanover and United are owed more than $550m and would get their principal back under the scheme, but two independent reports say it's too optimistic.

Prime Minister John Key has received an $18,000 pay rise after just one day in the job. The Remuneration Authority increased the PM's pay from $375,000 to $393,000 a year, with the deputy PM on $276,700 and the leader of the Opposition on $243,700. Bill English last night admitted the pay rise was "embarrassing" given the number of people being laid-off. Key now earns more than the Australian PM Kevin Rudd. Rudd, who makes $A330,000 ($389,000), has frozen politicians' pay until July next year because of the global recession.

Phil Goff has appointed five new faces to Labour's front bench in what Vernon Small calls "a major overhaul... setting up potential clashes with new ministers". Ruth Dyson (4), Clayton Cosgrove (6), Nanaia Mahuta (8), Maryan Street (9), and Darren Hughes (10) are the big winners. The Herald notes that Shane Jones has been named local government spokesman, to "take on" ACT's Rodney Hide.

The Otago Cricket Association has apologised for the slogan "it's all white here", which is being used to promote the New Zealand-West Indies test in Dunedin next month. Former Pakistan international cricketer and commentator Billy Ibadulla said it was "stupid at best, and grievous at worst".