Key does flip flop on Maori seats promise; New Zealand First wants to cut immigrants to protect jobs; Coroner pushes to raise the driving age; petrol prices higher than they should be; the popular iTeddy; and more
- John Key yesterday admitted that he has privately indicated to the Maori Party that National's policy to abolish the Maori seats could be abandoned in the interests of a coalition deal. The New Zealand Herald says Key made his u-turn in Dunedin yesterday, saying, "I've certainly acknowledged it is not a bottom line for us". But he continued to insists that no agreement has been reached. The Press reminds readers that on Tuesday night Key had said, "I've never given that assurance". The Dominion Post quotes Prime Minister Helen Clark saying Key has told "an outright fib". Meanwhile, Maori MP Hone Harawira says his mum Titewhai has told him to go with Labour.
- New Zealand First wants to cut the number of immigrants to protect jobs, the Otago Daily Times reports. "When times are tough internationally immigrants are attracted to New Zealand like moths to a neon light," Winston Peters said in Nelson, suggesting the immigration quota be reduced to 10,000.
- On the hustings yesterday, National promised a razor gang to cut public sector "waste", while Labour promised to increase the earning threshold of beneficiaries in part-time work. Helen Clark visited a National-voting family that had switched to Labour because of its house insulation policies, in the day's best stunt.
- Christchurch Coroner Sue Johnson has encouraged the government to "urgently" raise the driving age from 15, after the inquest of city councillor and Paralympian Graham Condon. Condon was killed last year when hit by a car driven by a 15 year-old girl. The government has a bill raising the driving age to 16 before a select committee.
- The Herald's front page splash reports that "Drivers are paying 30c a litre more for petrol than they were the last time crude oil prices were at yesterday's level - and economists say our fuel prices should come down substantially and soon." The lower Kiwi dollar is being blamed for the difference.
- Consumer groups have told the Dominion Post that households are struggling with rising power bills, but agree with power companies that the number of people with overdue bills is around five percent, not the 20 percent claimed by National's John Key.
- The ODT leads with concerns that health camps may be forced to close because of a $5 million national shortfall in funding. Central Otago mayor Malcolm Macpherson says the 67 year-old Roxurgh camp will close "over my dead body".
- And for the child who has everything, this year's hot Christmas gift could be the iTeddy. Yep, iTeddy.