Today in politics: Wednesday, November 21

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2012

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Steven Joyce backs down on changes to student loan borrowing John Key commits $20 million to help reduce agriculture emissions Resource management reforms win initial Labour backing Andrew Little dismisses impact of Nanaia Mahuta demotion on Maori support Bill English brushes off Treasury report into anchor project viability More NZ retirees will become homeless without action on housing - Salvation Army High flying costs New Zealand tax payers Police trialling iPhone video statements at domestic abuse callouts Call for law reform to help families step in when elders get scammed online Moroney rewarded for ACC, parental leave work

Labour diversionary tactics a little outside the box

It looked like a scene out of the movie The Hurt Locker when the Defence Force staged a drill at Parliament yesterday to detonate a package. The Museum St entrance was closed off and even MPs were forced to use alternative doors.

The bomb disposer wore a full padded black bodysuit with helmet and the package made a boom when detonated. It led to suggestions on Twitter Labour had organised the drill to divert attention from its urgent leadership vote.

Well-seasoned prisoners as guards get pepper spray

Former police commissioner Howard Broad will chair an expert advisory panel to help make work safer for prison guards. The panel will oversee the implementation of the Corrections Department's new staff safety action plan next year, including giving 4000 staff "tactical exit training" to help them deal with violent situations.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said that for the first time all prison staff would have access to pepper spray.

Food for everyone if Kiwi kids were in charge

The Greens want Prime Minister John Key to take advice from Kiwi kids. A survey for International Children's Day yesterday asked New Zealand kids what they would do first if they were in charge.

Co-leader Metiria Turei said they voted to provide the basics: food, clothing and shelter. "Kids are telling us that what really matters is that people are cared for." Children were aware many of them were missing out on the essentials, she said.

MPs' Mintie moments before leadership decision

Labour MPs were greeted by questioning reporters when they arrived at Parliament for yesterday's urgent leadership vote. Finance spokesman David Parker delivered brisk answers before striding off into the complex.

However, there was no security guard on the door and he returned quickly to ask a reporter to swipe him in. Employment spokesman Su'a William Sio was less prepared, asking waiting media: "What's going on, guys?" when he arrived.

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- The Dominion Post

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