Today in politics: Tuesday, February 12

Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013

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Government plays up cuts to back office staff, despite Treasury blow-out 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 A trail of broken promises: 1992-2015 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 Agriculture left out of NZ government review of Emissions Trading Scheme

Groser on campaign trail around the Pacific 

Trade Minister Tim Groser is undertaking a five-day Pacific tour as part of his campaign to be the World Trade Organisation's next director-general. Mr Groser left yesterday to visit Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

He will be discussing trade issues and his candidature. The WTO will meet at the ministerial level in Bali later this year and Pacific countries will be wondering how their concerns can be addressed, he said.

Nothing to hide in 'Hobbit' negotiations, says Key

Prime Minister John Key is "pretty comfortable" about making public documents on negotiations ensuring The Hobbit films were made in New Zealand; they had little commercially sensitive information.

Last week the Ombudsman ruled that documents the Government withheld should be made public. Mr Key said yesterday there was nothing "hugely sensitive" and their release should not embarrass the Government or anyone else.

Norman and Mallard air disputes on Twitter

If Twitter spats are anything to go by, any Labour-Greens coalition will be combative. On SundayTrevor Mallard urged Russel Norman to "stop thrashing dead horse" of printing money. Dr Norman responded by inviting Mr Mallard to "go back to closing schools and making housing unaffordable like you did in govt".

When Mr Mallard suggested an intern must be in charge of Dr Norman's account, Dr Norman pointed out that Labour signed up for Novopay.

Labour calls for House to hear more views

Labour is calling on Speaker David Carter to reconsider his ban on West Papuan independence activist Benny Wenda speaking at Parliament. Labour's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Maryan Street, said Mr Wenda had been the guest of the British parliament, the European parliament and the United Nations.

She said Mr Carter took advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the Government's sensitivities should not dictate who may air their views.

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- The Dominion Post

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