Today in politics: Monday, May 5

Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014

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Politics

Increase NZ's refugee quota, Government's support partners say Govt considers 1.5m safety buffer for cyclists Vexillologist: What your flag choice says about your personality When your GP refers you to a specialist, who refers you back to your GP Cost of private contractors will come down, says Secretary of Education Flag change: Three conspiracy theories Kiwi swims from Turkey to Greece in solidarity with refugees South Wairarapa towns in running for ultra fast broadband Paul Henry won't vote in flag referendum New Zealand, Australia's greenhouse gas emission plans described as 'inadequate'

Labour unconvinced by unemployment numbers

Figures out this week are expected to show that New Zealand's unemployment rate has  dropped below 6 per cent for the first  time since 2009 -  however, Labour is not convinced. In a statement, Labour leader David Cunliffe said that  unemployment had risen by 50 per cent under the National government.  ''There are approximately 50,000 more Kiwis unemployed today than when John Key came to power,'' Cunliffe said.

Peters queries speedy Pakuranga turnaround

NZ First is calling for National and ACT to come clean over electorate deals. Leader Winston Peters said within 48 hours ACT leader Jamie Whyte had gone from hinting that he may run for Pakuranga, now held by disgraced former minister Maurice Williamson, to backing off completely. ''Obviously National wants a straight run for Maurice Williamson and his connections there so Whyte has bowed to pressure, but what's he getting in return?'' Peters said.

Petitioners out in force against legal high testing

A petition aimed at stopping the testing of legal highs on animals has reached almost 40,000 signatures. Labour's animal welfare spokesman Trevor Mallard said it was amazing how strongly the public felt about the issue. Mallard said the petition will be presented to Parliament in the coming week. John Key has said he has already blocked applications for legal highs to be tested on animals because he is not comfortable with the issue.

Bunnies and other beasts have John Banks' heart

John Banks' sympathy for beagles is well-known - the former Auckland mayor is an outspoken opponent of the testing of legal highs on animals. Banks  revealed the depth of his empathy for other creatures on TVNZ's ifQ+Anf yesterday qlwhen he  revealed he did not want rats or other animals used for testing the substances either. ''Rats have feelings, rabbits  have feelings,'' Banks emotionally declared.

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