Today in politics: Monday, August 13

Last updated 05:00 13/08/2012

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Politics

Public input called for on plans to extend Kaikoura shellfish ban Paul Eagle confirms he will put his name forward for national politics Nelson by-election could be parting gift from councillors bound for Beehive Rachel Boyack selected as Labour Party candidate for Nelson Freight ships not on the horizon but Kaikoura tourism staying afloat Number of cycle helmet fines drops from 11,000 to 5500 in two years Labour leader Andrew Little makes Pike River re-entry bill an election promise Beggars reveal what life is like on the street Fair trade pants hard to come by for Oxfam trailwalkers Good times on the water, political storm to come

SIO'S COMMENTS MAY COME BACK TO BITE HIM

Mangere MP Su'a William Sio, who got himself into hot water for saying Labour could lose the 2014 election over Louisa Wall's gay marriage bill, faces a stern telling-off in caucus tomorrow.

He may also face flak for "throwing stones in glasshouses" with his comments that the party had more important things to concentrate on.

Such as jobs, perhaps?

On Thursday, Labour made much of the rise in official unemployment to 6.8 per cent. But from its employment spokesman – none other than Mr Sio – not a peep or a press release.

CROWN SOLICITORS LEARN TO LIVE WITH FUNDING CUTS

Crown solicitors are more than a month into a new regime "to ensure ... services can be delivered within a reduced level of funding".

Aka "how to live with cuts".

Under the interim plan, effective from July 1, individual lawyers have been given a "billing cap" based on their previous billing and relative efficiency.

Meanwhile, Crown Law is also considering other ways to cut costs, including fewer having managers.

Other projects include looking at the nature and extent of legal work undertaken by Crown Law and the extent to which it should "brief out" work.

PETERS ATTEMPTS AGAIN TO ORCHESTRATE MEDIA FOCUS

Winston Peters reprised yesterday his lecture to the media not to concentrate on the race between National and Labour.

Instead, he wants media to focus on the wider MMP battle, and to look at the makeup of the whole of Parliament.

Of course, most commentators do already assess the sizes of the Left and Right blocs, so it is something of a straw man for the NZ First leader to attack.

And would it be churlish to suggest that Mr Peters could make the whole exercise more precise by signalling clearly which bloc he should be counted in?

LABOUR TAKES KIWIRAIL TO TASK OVER STAFF LAYOFFS

Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford is questioning why KiwiRail is laying off 181 workers despite boosting its freight business by 25 per cent in two years.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn has also said it is cutting spending by $200 million through reprioritisation.

Mr Twyford said it was absurd that KiwiRail was cutting spending to help fund the Government-imposed target of $4.75 billion extra capital expenditure.

"If the Government can find $12 billion for uneconomic roads it can provide support for our embattled railways."

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