Today in politics: Friday May 24, 2013

Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013

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Politics

Key talks housing while Little backs small business McCully slates Russia, but shies away from attacking Putin Duncan Garner: Driven to distraction - the issue is safer roads, not foreigners Vernon Small: RMA reforms no long-term solution Labour's long-standing ties with Ratana in focus Arthur Taylor claims John Key's election as MP unlawful NZ First MPs make most of summer lull Better Budget deficit renews Government surplus hopes Greens use Ratana meeting to attack John Key Len Brown cool on light rail in Auckland transport plan

'Disaster' averted, says Cunliffe

Labour's David Cunliffe says ''disaster'' has been averted by changes to the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill. Public servants were set to lose redundancy entitlements and employment rights, but after ''tough negotiations'' in the finance and expenditure select committee amendments were made allowing them to retain their redundancy entitlements unless they accept a position ''no less favourable'' than their existing package.

The father, the sons and the holy alliance

Defence chief Rhys Jones had an interesting take on New Zealand's place in the ''Five Eyes'' security arrangement when explaining it to the US-NZ Partnership Forum this week. He described Britain as the father, the United States as the mother - ''it does all the work'' - and Australia and Canada as the rival siblings. ''We're the five-year-old and mother and father tell the siblings to go and take New Zealand out to play,'' he said.

Struggle to pay bills 'proves' power  too high

The latest Canstar Blue power survey, showing 36 per cent of households can't afford to heat their homes adequately in winter, was pounced on by the Opposition as vindication of their radical power policies. Green co-leader Russel Norman said it highlighted the need for lower prices and better insulation and Labour leader David Shearer pointed to an increase of 3000 people who have had their power cut off because they could not pay their bills.

Minister in possession of dubious jersey

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy was adamant that the major meat block in China had nothing to do with their authorities battling counterfeit meat, but it appears the minister has some dodgy goods in his own office. Adorning his wall is an All Blacks jersey from the 2011 Rugby World Cup. It is one of a batch quietly withdrawn by adidas because it contained extra advertising - for Climacool - contravening tournament rules.

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