Today in politics: Monday, May 5

Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014

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Politics

'Fat people' to blame for tobacco tax: Winston Peters Schools will decide how to spend targeted funding for under-achieving kids Key gets tough on Auckland with new policy forcing councils to release land Below the beltway: The week in politics Budget 2016: Changing super will be super hard, which is why John Key should do it Govt thinks about compulsory warranty to protect against building flaws DHBs still being shortchanged, says Labour - unveils health map to highlight regional shortfalls Polluters have to pay full cost of emissions after bill passes final hurdle Sole buyer of Invercargill state houses pulls out, stalling Government plans Five charts that explain the Budget

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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