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Peter Wilson: John Key Faces A Testing Time

John Key's political skills will be tested on two fronts this week.

The first, and the most difficult, is whether there should be reserved seats for Maori on Auckland's new super city council.

Peter Wilson: Cutting Emissions - It's Harder Than It Seems

If bets could be laid on New Zealand's chances of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent on 1990 levels by 2020, the odds would be extremely high.

Peter Wilson: Beneficiary Bashing Is Off The Agenda

One sure thing that will come from the uproar over MPs expenses is that none of them are likely to criticise beneficiaries in the foreseeable future.

Peter Wilson: Catching Up With Australia Will Be A Huge Task

When National was in opposition, one of its favourite topics was that Helen Clark said in 1999 her aim was to raise New Zealand's living standards into the top half of the OECD.

She failed to do this, and was frequently reminded of that in the run-up to the last election.

Peter Wilson: It's The Same Old Winston

Peter Wilson: It's The Same Old Winston
It was all so depressingly familiar. Winston Peters tells New Zealand First members it is time for "a new beginning" and urges them to start preparing for the 2011 general election.

Peter Wilson: Peters Could Take The Stage Again, If He Wanted To

Peter Wilson: Peters Could Take The Stage Again, If He Wanted To
If Winston Peters really wants to get back into politics, now would be a good time. Halfway through its first full year in office, the Government has issues in front of it which are tailor-made for New Zealand First -- the foreshore and seabed, and bank interest rates.

Peter Wilson: No More My Nice Guy

It was always going to be only a matter of time before any semblance of a bi-partisan approach to dealing with the recession disappeared.

Peter Wilson: A $9m Referendum - And The Result Won't Make Any Difference

Peter Wilson: A $9m Referendum - And The Result Won't Make Any Difference
Federated Farmers isn't an organisation that usually voices opinions on issues that don't have a direct impact on its members. It did last week, and it hit on something worthy of wide consideration -- the $9 million it is costing to run what has become known as the smacking referendum.

Peter Wilson: Labour Gets A By-Election Boost

Peter Wilson: Labour Gets A By-Election Boost
Labour was always going to win Mt Albert and National had everything going against it, but David Shearer's runaway win on Saturday was still a big boost for Phil Goff and his opposition MPs.

Peter Wilson: For Bill English, This Budget Was The Easy One

When a new government takes office and decides remedial economic action is needed, strategy usually focuses on getting it out of the way as quickly as possible.

Peter Wilson: Big City, Big Problem. Auckland's Future Tests The Government

The Mt Albert by-election and Melissa Lee's serial blunders will soon be forgotten, so will Christine Rankin if she does as she's been told and keeps her head down.

Peter Wilson: Nightmare In Mt Albert: Melissa Lee's Hospital Pass

Peter Wilson: Nightmare In Mt Albert: Melissa Lee's Hospital Pass
National's Mt Albert candidate faces circumstances so perverse you could almost start thinking Helen Clark designed it that way.

Peter Wilson: Maori Party Co-Leaders Should Have Known Better

It seems Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia didn't pay much attention to the Richard Worth debacle.

Peter Wilson: Win or Lose, List MPs Are Safe In Mt Albert

In one of the more freakish aspects of MMP, two MPs are going to ask voters to send them to Parliament in the Mt Albert by-election.

There will be a third if National chooses Melissa Lee as its candidate.

Peter Wilson: Bill English - Man On A Tightrope

Peter Wilson: Bill English - Man On A Tightrope
Bill English is writing the bleakest budget for decades, and one of the most difficult. On May 28 the finance minister will explain how he is going to pull New Zealand out of recession and keep government debt under control.

Peter Wilson: John Key's Expanding Universe

Peter Wilson: John Key's Expanding Universe
With the exception of the Progressive Party, which is welded to Labour in government or opposition, John Key has struck deals with all the minor parties in Parliament. National's agreements now cover ACT, the Maori Party, United Future and the Greens.

Peter Wilson: SOE Shake-Up Looms As Government Looks For Improved Performance

On April 9 the heads of 17 state-owned enterprises will be in the Beehive for a meeting they probably aren't looking forward to.

Peter Wilson: No More Labour-Lite

During the election campaign it might have been difficult to tell the difference between National and Labour, but it isn't now.

Throughout last year, National under John Key carefully removed from the agenda issues which Labour could use to its advantage.

Peter Wilson: Now The Government Must Make The Ideas Work

The jobs summit worked. It came up with ideas to save and create jobs.

Now the Government has to figure out how to make the ideas work.

Peter Wilson: Govt Rides High But The Real Test Is Still To Come

An opinion poll released last week showed support for the Government had increased significantly since the election.

Peter Wilson: NZ First's Time Is Up

Peter Wilson: NZ First's Time Is Up
New Zealand First's chances of getting back into Parliament are just about zero. Perhaps some really exceptional circumstances might make it possible at the next election or the one after that, but the reality is that when parties are booted out, they stay out.

Peter Wilson: Ministers Will Face Parliamentary Pressure

Peter Wilson: Ministers Will Face Parliamentary Pressure
The Government's measures to counter the impact of the international economic recession will come under close scrutiny from opposition parties in Parliament this week.

Peter Wilson: Bring In A Boy Racer Bill

It's time for the National-led government to put its money where its mouth has been for the last nine years.

The increase in violent crime during Labour's term in office was a valuable asset for National and it was used to good effect by the party while in opposition.

Peter Wilson: Labour Will Have To Prove Itself In Opposition

Labour MPs aren't saying it, but they must be thinking it: this year's election wasn't a bad one to lose.

Peter Wilson: Election Has Delivered A Promising Parliament

Putting Parliament into urgency and passing two controversial bills last week was the best thing the Government could have done for the Labour Party.

Peter Wilson: John Key's First Task: Saving The Economy

John Key says the economy is his top priority. In fact he's said it's his first, second and third priority.

He's going to need that tight focus because few incoming prime ministers have been tested in the way he's going to be during the months ahead.

Labour Won't Forget National's Promises

Some time early in 2010 John Key will be asked a question in Parliament: Can the prime minister tell the House how many New Zealanders emigrated to Australia in 2009?

Get Ready To Rumble: New Parliament No Place For Faint Hearts

Wellington, Nov 23 NZPA - New ministers and their opposition shadows are getting ready to face each other in the debating chamber, and Parliament looks like being a lively place.

John Key's Brave New World

When John Key said he would form a government within a week it seemed an optimistic target.

He had to strike deals with two parties -- ACT and the Maori Party -- and glue on United Future leader Peter Dunne.

He has done it, and there hasn't previously been a government quite like it.

Captain Key Will Run A Tight Ship

Captain Key Will Run A Tight Ship
John Key has got what he wanted. National's leader and incoming prime minister will head a government with a clear majority and a mandate to make a fresh start.

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