Today in politics: Saturday, November 10

Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012

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Politics

Key washes hands of soap 'joke' but has he learned his lesson? PM on prison rape joke: 'It's nothing to do with me' Another minor National bill drawn from ballot amid Opposition complaints International media batter New Zealand's progressive social welfare legacy Parliament's public entrance goes smokefree, but total ban stubbed out Businesses on both sides of Easter Sunday trading law coin Cycle bridge plan endorsed by majority of aspiring councillors Opinion maker: Tony Holman QSO on his vision for a better Auckland post local body elections Nod for Easter Sunday trading law gives councils power to decide Arthur Anae resigns over DHB's plan to sell land to the Government

UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES AT ODDS WITH EVERYONE

Opposition politicians continued to attack the Government over the unemployment figures. Labour MP Megan Woods said New Zealand is facing a youth job crisis with one in four young people unemployed. A spokesman for jobs tsar Steven Joyce said the correct figure is one in 26, as 56 per cent are not in the workforce at all - and around two-thirds are students. Prime Minister John Key argues that the data are at odds with ''anecdotal'' evidence.

MANAKAU COURTHOUSE TO HAVE 40.6M MAKEOVER

The contract to redevelop Manukau District Court had been awarded to Mainzeal Property and Construction. The court is to get a $40.6million refurbishment, a four- storey extension and new jury trial courtrooms. The court will continue to sit during construction work. The finish date is March 2014. Auckland handles one-third of the demand for court services. Recently the Justice Ministry announced it will close four courtrooms across the country.

TAMIHERE SKILLED IN WINSTON PETERS TALK

Former Labour minister John Tamihere says he hasn't considered joining NZ First, despite speculation that he might. But if his Winston Peters-style answers to questions are any guide, he is auditioning. Asked if he had legal counsel to advise him on his push to rejoin the Labour party Mr Tamihere, a lawyer, said it was correct that he was legally trained. Asked if he was on good terms with Mr Peters, he said no-one was on good terms with him.

FINANCE MINISTER TO STAND UP AND ANNOUNCE A DATE

Drum roll please . . . Finance Minister Bill English has a big announcement coming up. On Wednesday he'll reveal details of the date of the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update. The documents contain the latest forecasts for the economy, as well as the Government's fiscal expectations. The big reveal will come as he appears before the finance and expenditure parliamentary select committee. Presumably he'll have more to say than that.

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- Fairfax Media

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