Today in politics: Tuesday, November 27

Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012

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Government plays up cuts to back office staff, despite Treasury blow-out 'No eureka moment' from Australian govt on deportation rules - Andrew Little Public watchdogs need to bare their teeth over misuse of OIA, taxpayer events Andrew Little given 'good hearing' on Kiwi rights in Australia despite pushback Greenpeace protesters charged over boat boarding Runway extension: Mayors excited but Joyce not ready to loosen purse strings Philippa Howden-Chapman highlights NZ's increasingly embarrassing housing crisis Faces of Innocents: Promises, promises TPP deal sits in the hands of the weakest link Christmas Island deportee too ashamed to tell family he's back in New Zealand

Activists ready for trade talks protest

Anti-free trade activists are gearing up for the resumption of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in Auckland next week. The talks are an attempt to loosen trade barriers across a number of countries including New Zealand, the United States, Singapore and others.

Prime Minister John Key was giving away little yesterday but as negotiations enter their 15th round, he acknowledged "the issues under consideration in TPP are not going to get any easier".

Hobbit haven from heavy week in House

Parliament is back for a final frantic push before the Christmas break and business includes the hefty State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill and Local Government Amendment Act 2002. Other laws include the Advanced Technology Institute Bill and a livestock tax bill.

But it's not all work – John Key confirmed he would be attending The Hobbit premiere tomorrow and on Thursday would be in Matamata for "more Hobbit-related events".

Dunne moves to ban popular K2 high

K2, a legal high popular with schoolchildren, has been banned. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne issued a temporary class drug notice yesterday and from December 6 it will be illegal to import, manufacture, sell or supply the product.

K2 use has been tied to elevated heart rate, vomiting, anxiety and psychosis. "This is clearly not a product we want in the market place," he said.

Judge lays down the law in water rights hearing

His kingdom may only be the size of a courtroom, but Justice Ronald Young was yesterday exercising his power by insisting one reporter sit and stay for the last 10 minutes of the Maori water rights hearing, rather than leave to meet a deadline.

He had earlier told the same radio reporter off for leaving 20 minutes before the lunch break, saying it was "extremely rude". "It's not a cafe," he said tartly.

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- The Dominion Post

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