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English Says Banks Slow To Lower Mortgage Rates

English Says Banks Slow To Lower Mortgage Rates
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Banks have been "fairly slow" in dropping their mortgage rates, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

Key Reminds Caucus To Warn Him About Problems

Key Reminds Caucus To Warn Him About Problems
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key reminded his caucus today to make sure they kept him in the loop about any issue that could blow up politically.

Govt Gives Go-Ahead For Whangarei Hospital Redevelopment

Govt Gives Go-Ahead For Whangarei Hospital Redevelopment
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - The Government has given the go ahead for the $25 million stage one redevelopment of Whangarei Hospital.

Govt Begins Process Of Greater Control Over Entities Investments

Govt Begins Process Of Greater Control Over Entities Investments
By Ian Llewellyn of NZPA Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Crown entities have been told the Government is going to have a greater say in how much risk they take in making investments, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

Australian Climate Change Implementation Delay May Impact Here

Australian Climate Change Implementation Delay May Impact Here
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - New Zealand Emissions Trade Scheme (ETS) may face further delays as Australia puts off the start date of its related legislation. Prime Minister John Key told reporters it made sense for the New Zealand and Australian schemes to be aligned.

Principal Environment Judge Appointed

Principal Environment Judge Appointed
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Judge Craig Thompson has been appointed Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson announced today.

NZ And Aust Discuss Closer Defence Links - Report

NZ And Aust Discuss Closer Defence Links - Report
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - New Zealand and Australia have discussed a closer defence relationship to deal with emerging crises in the Pacific, it was reported today.

Big Business Donations Drying Up, Labour's Secretary Says

Big Business Donations Drying Up, Labour's Secretary Says
Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Big business donations to political parties are drying up while wealthy individuals are putting more cash into election campaigns, the Labour Party says.

National Names Candidate For Mt Albert Electorate

National Names Candidate For Mt Albert Electorate
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - National tonight named list MP Melissa Lee as its candidate for Mt Albert. The by-election to fill the seat left vacant by former prime minister Helen Clark, who held it for 27 years, takes place on June 13. Nominations close on May 19.

Key Secure About Using Blackberry

Key Secure About Using Blackberry
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key does not have concerns about the security of his email or hand held devices.

Auckland Gets A Social Issues Forum

Auckland Gets A Social Issues Forum
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Cabinet approved the creation of a new Auckland Social Policy Forum to look at the social wellbeing of the city, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said.

Treasury Says Unemployment To Pass 5 Percent As Economy Shrinks

Treasury Says Unemployment To Pass 5 Percent As Economy Shrinks
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Treasury expects this week's statistics to show unemployment passing 5 percent and it thinks the economy shrank in the first three months of 2008.

Key Sees No Problem With Using Private Purchase Advisors

Key Sees No Problem With Using Private Purchase Advisors
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Using private advisors is no different from using Treasury staff to give ministers spending advice, Prime Minister John Key says.

Election Year Donations Down On 2005

Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Donations to the two major parties reduced in 2008 in comparison to those received in the previous election in 2005.

National Party Agenda Names Candidate For Mt Albert Electorate

National Party Agenda Names Candidate For Mt Albert Electorate
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - National is holding a meeting in Auckland suburb Mt Albert this evening to select its candidate -- but someone in the party has already decided it is going to be list MP Melissa Lee.

New Chairman Appointed For Waikato DHB

New Chairman Appointed For Waikato DHB
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Company director and farmer Graeme Milne has been appointed as the Waikato District Health Board chairman, Health Minister Tony Ryall said today.

Suspended Fiji Won't Take Part In Trade Talks, Govt Says

Suspended Fiji Won't Take Part In Trade Talks, Govt Says
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Fiji will not take part in talks to set up a Pacific free trade area while it is suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum, a spokeswoman for Trade Minister Tim Groser confirmed today.

Key Says MP Should Have Told Him About Brothel Problem

Key Says MP Should Have Told Him About Brothel Problem
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key says he isn't seriously worried about one of his MPs being part-owner of a house that was used as a brothel, but he should have been told about it.

Taxpayers Won't Pay For Maori Leaders To Visit Fiji, Key Says

Taxpayers Won't Pay For Maori Leaders To Visit Fiji, Key Says
Wellington, May 4 NZPA - Taxpayers won't foot the bill if the Maori Party sends a delegation to Fiji, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key Lukewarm On Maori Leaders' Fiji Visit, Supports Suspension

Key Lukewarm On Maori Leaders' Fiji Visit, Supports Suspension
By Maggie Tait of NZPA Wellington, May 3 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the Pacific Islands Forum suspension of Fiji from the regional body but is less excited by a proposal that a delegation of Maori leaders visit the troubled country.

Brothel In House Owned By MP Closed

Brothel In House Owned By MP Closed
Wellington, May 3 NZPA - A house co-owned by National list MP Kanwal Bakshi, which was being used by tenants as a brothel, has been shut down after neighbours complained. Mr Bakshi told the Herald on Sunday he had been unaware what the tenants had been up to.

Govt Wants To Ensure Taxis Meet Safety Obligations

Govt Wants To Ensure Taxis Meet Safety Obligations
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - The Government is taking steps to ensure taxi companies meet legal obligations on driver and passenger safety, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said today.

NZ Govt Joins Calls For Ceasefire In Sri Lanka

NZ Govt Joins Calls For Ceasefire In Sri Lanka
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Foreign Minister Murray McCully has joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire in northern Sri Lanka to allow trapped civilians to leave the conflict zone.

Minister Hasn't Got Swine Flu, Tests Show

Minister Hasn't Got Swine Flu, Tests Show
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Cabinet Minister Nick Smith has not got swine flu, a spokesman said today. Dr Smith tested positive for influenza A but negative for the H1N1 swine flu virus. The Nelson MP went into voluntary isolation a few days ago when he became ill.

Labour Wants Inquiry Into Govt's `Hired Guns'

Labour Wants Inquiry Into Govt's `Hired Guns'
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - The Labour Party intends asking the Auditor-General and State Services Commission (SSC) to investigate the way the Government told public sector departments to hire ministerial advisers.

Aid To The Pacific A Failure And In Need Of An Overhaul; Govt

Aid To The Pacific A Failure And In Need Of An Overhaul; Govt
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - New Zealand's aid programme in the Pacific has failed and will be overhauled, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today. Mr McCully was greeted by protesting students when he announced the change in policy in a speech at Victoria University today.

Fiji's Suspension Will Go Ahead, McCully Says

Fiji's Suspension Will Go Ahead, McCully Says
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Fiji faces suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum at midnight and Foreign Minister Murray McCully doesn't see any way it can be avoided. "We will see the suspension go ahead in sorrow, not in anger," he told reporters today.

Nick Smith Being Tested For Swine Flu

Nick Smith Being Tested For Swine Flu
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Cabinet Minister Nick Smith is at home suffering from influenza A and tests are being done to determine if it is swine flu. A spokesman for the Nelson MP said Dr Smith went into voluntary isolation a few days ago.

McCully To Announce NZAid Reintegration Into Foreign Ministry

McCully To Announce NZAid Reintegration Into Foreign Ministry
Wellington, May 1 NZPA - Foreign Minister Murray McCully is to announce this afternoon that NZAID is to be reintegrated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Labour has criticised the move. It's MP Phil Twyford said it did not make sense.

PSA Says Govt Could Be In Breach Of State Sector Act

PSA Says Govt Could Be In Breach Of State Sector Act
NZPA political reporters Wellington, May 1 NZPA - The Government is being accused of breaching political neutrality, and possibly the State Sector Act, by ordering departments to hire ministerial advisors.

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