Today in politics: Thursday, November 15

Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012

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Stacey Kirk: Grim prospects for suicide, as conversation goes quiet Security threats focus of Australian foreign minister's visit Stacey Kirk: tension still boils below the surface but cooler heads prevailing between New Zealand and Fiji Fiji Prime Minister extends personal invitation to banned TV journo Barbara Dreaver Cambridge locals barking mad at MP's response to dog breed law questions Fiji's Frank Bainimarama and Prime Minister John Key 'let bygones be byones' after diplomatic talks Government denies report NZ SAS in combat in Iraq Why the selfie election has given way to the Facebook campaign Duncan Garner: A surplus of cash and a deficit of concern for people Who named the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki?

Minimum-wage assessment process to be adjusted

The Government is "streamlining" how it consults over adjusting the minimum wage, but opponents have accused it of silencing low-paid workers. Public submissions are considered when the wage is reviewed every December.

More than 20 factors are taken into account, but the Government is believed to be planning to reduce that to four: inflation, relativity, employment and the impact on jobs. Public submissions would be called for every four years.

Ardern defends jobless from Bennett attack

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's comments about unemployed Kiwis were insulting. Earlier this week Mrs Bennett listed job openings at retail stores and meatworks.

Yesterday Ms Ardern revealed that for many of those jobs there were more than 100 applicants, and others were for stores yet to open. "To suggest that Kiwis are somehow lazy, or not trying to find work, is pretty desperate."

Optimistic Peters woos next generation of voters

NZ First leader Winston Peters has been around so long he must surely qualify as one of our most recognisable MPs. As proof of that a group of schoolchildren broke into frantic waves when they spotted the 67-year-old while they were on a parliamentary tour yesterday.

Mr Peters waved back just as enthusiastically, noting that they were his future voters – a statement of supreme optimism given most of them are probably still 10 years away from voting.

Callaghan name lives on in innovation institute

A new institute set up to help firms in the hi-tech manufacturing and services sectors will be named Callaghan Innovation, after the late Sir Paul Callaghan. Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said the name was recognition of Sir Paul's passion for commercialising scientific research. . The iinstitute will have operations in Auckland, Wellington (including Hutt Valley) and Canterbury. "Callaghan Innovation will be a one-stop shop for business innovation support."

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- The Dominion Post

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