Today in politics: Tuesday, December 4

Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012

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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

DAVID SHEARER LEADING THE CHARGE

Labour leader David Shearer has seen off the challenge from David Cunliffe and now it seems he is also beating his erstwhile rival in the battle for voters’ hearts.

A 3News-Reid Research poll found that 43 per cent of voters thought he was the best person to lead the party against 12 per cent for Mr Cunliffe.

Among Labour voters Mr Shearer had even stronger support, with 60 per cent to about 12 per cent for Mr Cunliffe.

NEW SPEAKER IN NEW YEAR

Parliament’s new Speaker is likely to be elected on January 31.

Fairfax NZ understands the personal vote, with no proxies, will take place then, with  Lockwood Smith set to take up the post of High Commissioner in London.

Yesterday, Prime Minister John Key would only say: ‘‘Assuming that vacancy presented itself, that would be early next year.’’

The smart money is on Primary Industries Minister David Carter.

SENIOR SPOOK FLIES IN TO SEE SPY

A US Government jet spotted at Wellington Airport was carrying a senior spook, although Prime Minister John Key, who is in charge of intelligence services, is not saying why.

He confirmed the plane was carrying a US intelligence official who met a New Zealand spy.

The visitor was ‘‘obviously pretty senior’’ given he or she had come in a US Government plane.

Mr Key could not name the official or exactly what the discussion involved.

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- Fairfax Media

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