Today in politics: Saturday, September 8

Last updated 05:00 08/09/2012

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Politics

Cunliffe battles Labour caucus Labour must own 'crushing defeat': Shearer Beehive Live: The waiting game Key open to working with NZ First John Key's a political rock star: Australia John Key's rap battle goes global Brakes come off government's RMA reform Election blights leave bill Labour faces huge challenge No rest for Key as schedule heats up

BENNETT HAILS DROP IN THOSE ON BENEFIT

The number of people on the unemployment benefit fell by 5600 people over the last year but 50,283 are still on it. In total, 319,327 people are claiming a benefit. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was pleased that of the 6500 who went off benefits into work last month, 2000 were young people. ''It's good to see the number of people on all benefits has declined by more than a thousand in August.''

LOUD SHIRTS OFF THE APEC AGENDA

The meeting of Apec economies at Vladivostok may mark the formal end of a long and hilarious tradition – the sight of leaders in garments of the host nation known as the ‘‘silly shirts’’ photo. It seems the rot set in Japan in 2010 and in Honolulu last year US President Barack Obama also snubbed the ritual. Reporters hoping for a reprieve in Russia were dismayed to hear from John Key he had ‘‘vaguely heard it might be off – not officially’’.

SHEARER TO ANNOUNCE EDUCATION POLICY

Labour leader David Shearer is to  deliver a major speech on education in Auckland tomorrow. Mr Shearer, a former teacher, will talk about how to give our children the best start in life and also announce new policy. The speech will delivered at St Leonard’s School in Kelston –  in David Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate.  Yesterday, Mr Shearer dropped into Napier’s Nelson Park School, on his way to collect signatures for the keep our assets petition.

HONE UPSETS PM WITH HOUSE NIGGERS JIBE

John Key has taken offence at Hone Harawira’s ‘‘house niggers’’ comment. The Mana Party leader made the comment on a Facebook post earlier this week. He was first believed to have aimed the jibe at Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. But Mr Harawira later said he had been referring to Mr Key’s treatment of Maori MPs within the National Party. ‘‘He is rent-a-quote at the best of times but this is really out of line in my view,’’ Mr Key said.

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- Fairfax Media

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