Morning reading

Well it looks like the NZ Herald political team are back from holiday…

McCully vows to scrutinise Foreign Affairs cuts (Audrey Young, NZ Herald)

Goff’s attacks I mentioned yesterday seem to have hit a nerve…

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the Cabinet will closely scrutinise proposals to cut more than 200 staff by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will not approve cuts that would risk important relationships.

“Anything we think is too risky, anything that appears to be not fully aligned with the Government’s priorities obviously isn’t going to happen,” he told the Herald yesterday.

New Zealand earned over $55 billion a year selling goods and services to more than 170 countries, he said.

“You’ve got to have a reasonable investment in the machinery that manages relationships with those countries and there is no way I am going to sign up to a proposal that puts any of that at risk. But there are some sensible economies that can be made.”

Time on the board has Shearer raring to go (Audrey Young, NZ Herald)

Another piece from Audrey…

New Labour leader David Shearer will be hoping he can ride a new wave of popularity after enjoying a surfing holiday.

Mr Shearer took his his wife and two children camping for about 10 days in Northland over Christmas.

He got in a few “sublime” days surfing on his nine-foot-plus Malibu board, which is now back on its rack in the garage in Auckland.

“It was great. I felt I needed a break and the break was good and so I’m raring to go actually. In some ways a bit of a rest kindles your enthusiasm for getting into it.”

Sounds like a good break – I’m sure he’ll be glad for it later in the year! And then on the upcoming Labour caucus retreat…

“The retreat to some degree is getting the right questions of things we need to be asking – how do we become an effective opposition in a more crowded oppositional space now? How do we work with other parties? What are the key messages we need to have to engage with those people that didn’t vote for us?”

Good good.

How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics (Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast)

Via @philquin

The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he’s a wimp. Andrew Sullivan on how the president may just end up outsmarting them all.

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