National News Brief, Wednesday December 10

Paula Bennett axes $200,000 conference; KiwiSaver changes cost taxpayers; National fast-tracks First 100 Days legislation; Hanover investors agree to rescue package; parents warned about dangers of "co-sleeping"; Privy Council rejects Bain's request

New Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has axed a Families Commission "summit" planned for February because it was too expensive, reports the Herald. The $200,000 event for 150 people was to take place at Auckland's Waipuna Lodge. Ms Bennett said of her discussion with the Families Commission, "I then suggested quite strongly they may like to revisit that in the current economic times. I told them I didn't think the New Zealand public would see this as a good spend."

National's changes to KiwiSaver will result in extra tax for those workers whose employers pay above the minimum, reports Herald political editor Audrey Young. For example an employee earning $60,000 a year and paying 4 per cent into KiwiSaver, and who is matched dollar for dollar by his or her employer, will pay almost $400 a year extra in tax.

Parliament moves into urgency today as National fast-tracks legislation it has prioritised for its first 100 days in power. That includes legislation to allow employers in small companies of fewer than 20 staff to fire new employees within the first 90 days, reports Press political editor Colin Espiner.

Investors in troubled finance company Hanover yesterday agreed to a five-year restructuring plan even though many investors will get none of their money back until 2013, reports the Dominion Post. Hanover's 16,500 investors are owed $554 million.

Parents who sleep with their babies received a warning yesterday at the inquest of seven Wellington area babies who died as a result of the practice, reports the Herald. Coroner Garry Evans said there had not been enough warnings about the dangers of co-sleeping, which makes it too easy for a baby to be rolled on or suffocated when sleeping in bed with parents.

London's Privy Council has rejected an application for a stay on David Bain's latest trial, scheduled for next year. Bain supporter Joe Karam said lawyers would go before the High Court in February to seek a stay of trial, reports the Dominion Post.