Today in politics: Monday, December 3

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012

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Politics

Nelson byelection could be parting gift from councillors bound for Beehive Number of cycle helmet fines drops from 11,000 to 5500 in two years Labour leader Andrew Little makes Pike River re-entry bill an election promise Beggars reveal what life is like on the street Fair trade pants hard to come by for Oxfam trailwalkers Good times on the water, political storm to come MPs' hidden talents: Statistics Minister Mark Mitchell has a handle on police dogs North Taranaki iwi welcomes first Government Minister in almost 100 years Green lawyer hopes to be first refugee to win a seat in Parliament MPs' hidden talents: Kris Faafoi turns to guitar for 'a bit of an escape'

SENSITIVE ISSUES MAKE FOR COMPLICATED TASK

Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser defended the 15-country TPP agreement, saying it would help Kiwis get well-paid jobs.

But with sensitive issues on the table, such as dairy access to the United States, "if you expose the drafts by which this process takes place to full public scrutiny, you are going to massively complicate the American negotiators' tasks".

The agreement started as a small trade bloc but has expanded and is now a US priority for an Asia-Pacific deal.

NORTH KOREAN SATELLITE LAUNCH CAUSES CONCERN

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has expressed serious concern at North Korea's plans to launch a satellite later this month using a long-range ballistic missile.

The move was "extremely disappointing and potentially destabilising", he said.

New Zealand considers the use of ballistic missile technology to be inconsistent with UN Security Council resolutions and highly detrimental to the re-engagement of North Korea with the international community.

PARTY UNDERGOES MAJOR REORGANISATION PROCESS

Labour has taken the next step in the radical reform of its party rules, setting up 16 hubs that will group electorates for campaigning purposes, replacing the old focus on electorate by electorate campaigning.

It will also promote a new "registered supporter category, and initial membership through a koha [donation]" and set up a new policy process. It aims to establish a "permanent statement of Labour policy and values".

NEW ZEALANDERS KEEN TO SEE FREE TRADE DETAILS

As international trade negotiators gather in Auckland this week for the 15th round of talks to establish a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, critic Professor Jane Kelsey has released a poll showing two out of three New Zealanders think the contents of the agreement should be made public before negotiations are completed.

She said Labour had a new policy making support conditional on the release of drafts of the agreement.

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