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Simon Bridges, woke commissioners and 12 families housed: What you need to know about Parliament this week

While National took on the Police Commissioner and Speaker, the Government's record on child poverty, housing and the treatment of prisoners was also under the spotlight this week. 

The Beehive, New Zealand's Parliament. Source: istock.com

A rift between National MP Simon Bridges and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster fired up this week.

After Bridges refused to divulge any additional hints to explain what exactly he meant by calling Coster a "wokester commissioner", the pair went head-to-head yesterday at Select Committee over gang activity. 

Bridges' initial outburst led to a talking-to by leader Judith Collins, who told RNZ it was not the party's position and Bridges was not police spokesperson. In turn, Bridges told media that he had "great respect for the leader of the National Party, but I only get tellings off from one person, and that's my wife".  

The Government's record on child poverty was up for viewing on Tuesday. Figures showed it was going down before Covid-19 hit, however 125,000 children are still living in material hardship, with Māori and Pasifika children, and those with disabilities much more likely to be living in poverty. 

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With the research stopping short, due to Covid-19, the situation could be even worse. Source: 1 NEWS

The Children's Commissioner called it "profoundly bad news" for children with disabilities.

The Government's record on housing was also criticised, after Housing Minister Megan Woods released a video celebrating having housed 12 families through its Progressive Home Ownership Scheme.

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But the Housing Minister insists it’s no laughing matter, and that she’s incredibly proud of that number. Source: 1 NEWS

It provoked plenty of mirth on Opposition Twitter accounts, and in the House. 

New leave rules for employees are on the way - including the expansion of bereavement leave to include more family members and giving employees a sick day from the first day of employment. 

Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi is calling for a "by-Māori, for-Māori, to-Māori approach to dealing with our whānau in prisons" and has called for a ministerial inquiry into the treatment of inmates. It comes after a damning judge's ruling over some treatment of prisoners at Auckland Women's Prison. Kelvin Davis is still waiting to hear Corrections' "side of the story" after claims of "excessive, degrading and fundamentally inhumane" treatment of those locked up.

Auckland received the good news on Monday that it would be moving down to Alert Level 1, joining the rest of the country.

Amid pressure to speed up delivery of its election promise to ban conversion therapy, the Government released its timeline, aiming to outlaw the practice by February next year

People with the life-shortening conditions Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder will be able to get early access to their KiwiSaver funds. It was a "big journey" for Tim Fairhall, who has Down syndrome, after he went into battle to access his KiwiSaver money so he could visit his brother and friend overseas. 

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Tim Fairhall has been pushing for years for people with life-shortening conditions to get their savings early. Source: 1 NEWS

National's stoush with Speaker Trevor Mallard continues, with the party staging a small walkout on Wednesday after an argument. Initially, Paul Goldsmith and Simon Bridges left the House, with Bridges reportedly yelling, "what a twat" on the way out. 

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