Today in politics: Monday, February 4

Last updated 05:00 04/02/2013

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Politics

Stacey Kirk: Long knives being sharpened, but can Helen Clark stay clear of the blades? Below the Beltway: The week in politics Jo Moir: The Maori King has nailed his colours to the mast by shunning Labour Key washes hands of soap 'joke' but has he learned his lesson? Auckland mayoral hopeful Phil Goff: Limit immigration to fix housing crisis Nick Smith is 'Milllion-dollar Minister' as average Auckland house passes $1m mark Jonathan Milne: There's only one answer to the housing bubble – gently deflate it Oscar Kightley: 'Unfairness at work continues, thanks to one u-turn' Jacinda v David: Put kids at the centre of the school funding debate Alice Wylie: The nonagenarian with a lifetime of political tales to tell

HAZING RITES GIVE STAFF NEW RUDE GREETING

You can take the boys out of high school, but it seems some habits stick.

Several parliamentary staff have let slip about the hazing rites for new members.

While they're not as wild as an American fraternity, the aim remains to embarrass.

Pranks apparently include sending money from strip bar Mermaids to new staff via internal mail and printing embarrassing pictures from Facebook and posting them around Parliament, including one of a man in drag.

ENGLISH TAKES CREDIT FOR MOODY'S AAA BOND RATING

In its latest credit analysis of New Zealand, international ratings agency Moody's said the country's Aaa government bond rating reflected "high economic strength, very high institutionalised and government financial strength and low susceptibility to event risk".

It was not an official ratings report, but Finance Minister Bill English was still quick to welcome the commentary and said it was recognition of the Government's "sound strategy".

HOW NOVOPAY SLICED THE MINISTRY'S CHRISTMAS

The Ministry of Education has been called many things during the ongoing Novopay debacle, but the Grinch? Well, maybe.

Among documents released about the embattled pay system last week was a letter from the ministry to Talent2 about Talent2's unwillingness to staff the service desk before Christmas.

The start of the word was blacked out and only "mas" remained. Sensitive information is often blacked out on released documents.

GREENS CRY FOUL OVER STATISTICS

The Greens are concerned the Treasury is trying to mislead over the level of inequality here after it last week compared New Zealand to non-OECD countries.

The background note said inequality here was "about average" compared with the OECD.

But the Greens say non-OECD countries in the comparison skewed the statistics.

Research by the Parliamentary Library showed New Zealand had dropped to 25th out of 34 OECD countries.

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