Today in politics: Saturday, September 14

Last updated 05:00 14/09/2013

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Motorcades and high level security are the perks of travelling with the PM: Brendon McCullum US Secretary of State tipped for NZ visit Methamphetamine contamination guidelines 'misused' to evict tenants Mental health workers clock up big hours PM Paula Bennett? What the Westie warrior could do while she's in the hot seat New Zealand's as close as it's ever got to a free trade deal with India - John Key Prime Minister John Key would have attended Helen Kelly's memorial service if he could John Key officially welcomed in New Delhi ahead of meeting with Indian counterpart Former GNS Science chief executive was highest-earning CRI boss on $800,000 India cranks up security a notch for Prime Minister John Key's visit

Dunne's agenda extends to Syrian humanitarian crisis

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne baffled journalists yesterday with a midnight embargo on a press release marking his "100 days in exile" – a list of the things he's achieved.

It might be he wanted to keep a lid on a tasteless quip that achieving a successful solution to the Syrian crisis was on his next 100 days agenda. "That might be easier than bringing the warring factions of the Labour Party together after the leadership vote," he wrote.

Takes more than turbulence to rattle finance minister

With brutal winds lashing one of the last aircraft to land at Wellington Airport before several flights were cancelled on Wednesday, one passenger kept his cool better than the rest.

Whether the state of the economy is a greater distraction or whether he simply has nerves of steel, Finance Minister Bill English barely flinched as the plane lurched through the fierce northwesterlies. He just kept on reading as many other passengers fought to stay calm.

McCully on mission to gain support for UN seat

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has left for the United States and the Caribbean to try to secure support for New Zealand's tilt at a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

He will attend the opening week of the UN General Assembly in New York along with Prime Minister John Key. He will also visit Caribbean leaders and stop in San Francisco to support Team New Zealand. Mr McCully said the trip was also an opportunity to debate issues such as Syria.

Welfare state in NZ chalks up 75 years

Today marks the 75th birthday of the welfare state in New Zealand. The Social Security Act, introduced by Michael Joseph Savage's Labour government, was passed by Parliament in 1938, ushering in free healthcare and a broader array of benefits.

Before the act, benefits were available only to widows, invalids, miners, the elderly and the blind. The NZ History website reports that the number of people then receiving a benefit rose from 42,600 to 230,000.

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- Fairfax Media

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