Two Australian MPs have seen the writing on the wall ahead of September's election.
Labor backbenchers Alan Griffin and Daryl Melham are packing up their offices in Canberra in anticipation of losing their seats in the federal election. Both deny giving up the fight, but say while they are working for a victory they are pragmatically preparing in case of a loss.
Current polling predicts a landslide victory for Tony Abbott's Coalition over Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor-led government.
Meanwhile, Parliament won't be voting on a draft law to legalise gay marriage before the election. Greens MP Adam Bandt had hoped his private member's bill would go to a vote today in the Lower House, but it is not listed on the schedule.
That has led Mr Bandt to accuse Labor and the Coalition of deliberately delaying the vote, saying Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, and Tony Abbott are among those trying to 'hold back the tide of history'.
- Newstalk ZB
Failure to keep up-to-date membership information is being blamed for United Future's de-registration.
The party's board met last night to discuss what to do to fix it.
Officials are positive it can be re-registered within the next week.
There had been suggestions Peter Dunne should lose his perks as a party leader, due to the fact United Future didn't officially exist anymore.
Party president Robin Gunston says they have more than 500 members, but had issues with their addresses, phone numbers and whether they were paid up.
He says they now have to verify their members and he says they've even attracted some new members over the last couple of weeks.
- RBG NEWS/Newstalk ZB
The target of Turkish protestors' ire has left the country.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is gone for three days, saying he has no intention of changing his plans to deal with four days of violence, which began as an environmental protest. The premier says the situation is not a Turkish Spring, insisting it is "only noise".
Thousands have gathered in Istanbul's main Taksim Square, in what is - at the moment - a peaceful protest. The movement started with a protest over a park that is to be converted into a shopping mall. That turned into a violent confrontation with police, which resulted in hundreds of arrests, as well as a fatality when a taxi hit a protestor.
While PM Erdogan believes the protests are led by extremists, locals say it's about his increasingly dictatorial government. Students, socialists, teachers, artists and doctors are among those taking part in the demonstration, and Sky's Katie Stallard says they claim their actions are about fundamental freedoms.
Unions in Turkey have called a nationwide two-day strike in support of the protests.
- Newstalk ZB
Foreign journalists preparing to report on Iran's upcoming presidential elections could soon face even tighter controls.
The Ministry of Culture says 200 foreign journalists have applied to cover the June 14 election. It did not indicate how many of the applications would be approved.
The country's semi-official Mehr News Agency (MNA) said earlier this week that the Ministry is pushing for additional restrictions. Minister Mohammad Hosseini did not give any details on the possible measures, but said previous elections showed controls were needed.
He referred to the case of an Israeli journalist who reported on the 2009 presidential election from Tehran, for a European news outlet. Turmoil and protests ensued after that election, and the Iranian government subsequently restricted access for visiting journalists.
Meanwhile, the country's police are preparing to amplify national security for the 2013 elections. MNA reports that Iran's police chief, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, was confident of a secure election and a safe campaign period for the eight presidential candidates leading up to polling day.
It's understood that four officers will be assigned to each ballot box, meaning a total of 300,000 policemen across Iran's 67,000 voting stations.
- Newstalk ZB/ RBG News/ MNA
Health is taking the biggest chunk of new spending in this year’s Budget.
Of the 900 million dollars set aside for new spending next financial year, health is set to account for 400 million dollars of that sum.
This will increase total health spending to $14.7 billion in 2013/14 – the highest ever.
100 million is set aside to cover population increase and the cost of disability services.
48 million dollars is allocated for elective surgery and over 18 million is to be spent on a new mothers and babies initiative.
Another 35 million is to go towards diabetes and heart disease.
Minister of Health Tony Ryall says. “While many developed countries around the world are freezing or even reducing health funding, this Government is committed to protecting and growing our public health services.”
The Government is also today announcing it will provide $92 million over four years to pay family members who care for their disabled adult children. Legislation to enact the policy will be introduced to Parliament today.
- Rbg news/Newstalk ZB
Today's Budget is expected to be a brighter one than those in the past for Bill English.
The Finance Minister's fifth effort will be delivered at 2 this afternoon.
The Government's buoyed by an economy that grew by three percent last year and a surplus that looks on track, against many expectations, by 2015.
As the election year looms, the Government will be determined to appeal to a wider electorate, so expect housing affordability and more rental subsidies for low income earners to be on the agenda.
The key for the Government is the delivery of its incentives in this Budget, to have grunt they'll have to be in place by next year's election, if not it'll be seen as something of a vote winning ploy.
One of the announcement's today will include where the Government will be putting the 1.7 billion it's received from the partial float of Mighty River Power.
Political Editor Barry Soper says the Government wants to be seen as socially responsible.
He says the Government needs to think about the election, and will no doubt have more money next year with the partial float of more energy companies, which will make next year's election year Budget more attractive.
Labour's unconvinced the Government has the courage to make the changes the economy needs in today's Budget
Finance spokesman David Parker says the debate shouldn't be about austerity versus Government spending.
He says it should be about shifting the economy towards jobs and exports, and that requires a fundamental change in economic settings.
But Mr Parker doesn't believe National will go there.
And while Labour is damning today's Budget National's firing a few barbs of its own at Labour's economic philosophies.
Cabinet Minister Amy Adams says Labour used to be centre left but is now swinging out to a Chavez-style opposition controlled by Russel Norman and Metiria Turei from Greens.
Mana MP Hone Harawira's condemning the Maori Party for supporting today's Budget.
He says today we'll find out whether its claim of having an advantage in being at the top table is true.
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens expects 800 million dollars worth of new spending, including 150 million on tourism advertising and more money for the health sector.
- Rbg news/Newstalk ZB
Be gracious in defeat.
That's the advice of National party president Peter Goodfellow to disgraced MP Aaron Gilmore as the politician prepares to resign and say his final farewells to Parliament this afternoon. Mr Gilmore had hinted at some sort of revenge against those who he believes have wronged him, and is expected to counter some of the allegations raised over the past fortnight about his behaviour in Hanmer Springs.
However, Mr Goodfellow is hoping the MP will be gracious and reflect on his achievements for the community. He says Mr Gilmore often told him he has done a lot for the people of Christchurch.
Aaron Gilmore's colleagues offered him encouraging applause at his final National Party caucus meeting. the embattled list MP's brief attendance at the weekly meeting surprised many, and the National politicians could be heard clapping as he exited the room, accompanied by whip Louise Upston.
Mr Gilmore will address Parliament this afternoon and Labour does not intend to veto his final speech.
- Newstalk ZB
Davina William has the latest headlines from the Shine TV newsroom, including - mixed reaction to the new 'starting out wage' that takes effect from today; Labour MPs remember their colleague Parekura Horomia as his tangi begins at Hauiti Marae; and Pakistan's former military leader is put under house arrest and banned from standing in elections.
Shine TV's news bulletins are produced by the RBG News team.
Kiwiblog David Farrar comments on the latest political poll which has found National down and Labour and Greens up.