National News Brief, Monday September 29

National would abolish Maori seats; tax cuts about to hit; anti-smacking bill still unpopular; more milk woes; boost for yellow-eyed penguin; and more

National wants to abolish all Maori seats starting in 2014, when they propose all Treaty of Waitangi settlements should be completed, report the Herald and Dominion Post. The party has released its Maori and Treaty policies which include a focus on economic development for Maori. John Key underlined the importance of te reo, arts and culture, and Maori broadcasting, in contrast to former National leader Don Brash.

Labour's "election sweetener" of tax cuts is about to take effect, says the Dominion Post lead story. The first personal tax cuts in over 10 years will return between $12 and $28 a week to full-time workers' pay packets. Single superannuitants will receive an extra $12.92 a week and married retirees will get $22.94 a week. On Friday, it was confirmed that the economy had entered a recession.

The Herald leads with evidence that Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill is as unpopular as it was when passed into law 16 months ago. A referendum on the bill, brought by Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock, will test the issue next year.

More fallout from the Chinese milk scandal: the Philippines government has taken three Anchor products off the market for testing. Mango Magic, Orange Chill and Strawberry Spin flavoured milk are made from New Zealand milk, but repackaged in China.

South Islanders face years of rocketing electricity prices, according to Contact Energy. The Press reports that the limited capacity of the inter-island link and power transmission "roadblocks" are to blame.

New Zealand First deputy leader Peter Brown says immigrants from countries with a class system or those where women are treated differently to men should not be allowed to settle in New Zealand. Eight party spokespeople gathered in Mt Albert yesterday to debate immigration issues.

Dunedin's Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust has won a prestigious international award. The BirdLife International Conservation Achievement Awards are presented every four years and the Trust is the first New Zealand organisation to win, says the Otago Daily Times. For the past 20 years the trust has bought up coastal land, built protective fences, funded research and educated people about the penguins.