Auditor-General given two weeks to respond to investigation about tenure during Joanne Harrison transport fraud saga

Auditor-General Martin Matthews has been given two weeks to respond to an investigation into his suitability for the job after questions were raised about his tenure at the Ministry of Transport.

Parliament's speaker David Carter told 1 NEWS the Offices of Parliament Committee has received a report by senior public servant Sir Maarten Wevers, who was asked to review Mr Matthews' position.

Martin Matthews was the Ministry's chief executive when Joanne Harrison was employed and then investigated for fraud.

In February, Harrison was sentenced to three-and-a-half years jail for taking $726,000 while she was the ministry's general manager for organisational development.

Harrison used fictitious invoices made out to three different entities, which had bank accounts in her name, and spent the money on personal credit cards and a Kiwibank home loan.

Martin Matthews agreed to stand aside in favour of his deputy, while the review was complete.

David Carter refused to say what the findings were or what implications, if any, they could have for Mr Matthews.

He says Mr Matthews has been asked to respond to the investigation's findings within the next fortnight, at which point the full report is expected be made public.

Martin Matthews was the Ministry of Transport boss when Joanne Harrison was hired, before she ripped off more than $700,000. Source: 1 NEWS



Givealitte page started for Auckland truckie attacked by mob of boyracers

New Zealanders have started donating to an Auckland truckie after a group of boy racers allegedly assaulted the driver and damaged his truck on Friday night.

The truck company also had to pay several thousands of dollars to repair the damaged vehicle. 

A video on social media shows a truck clipping a boy racer's car and a later attack on the truck driver by a mob of youths who gained access to the inside of the truck, repeatedly striking the driver.

Roy van Geffen set up the Givealittle page yesterday, which already has $766 donated. 

"Once I heard the story from a fellow truckie my heart sank," Mr van Geffen wrote on the page. 

"The funds are not only about the monetary value, but also knowing that the entire trucking community is behind these two fellow truckies."

The truck driver involved in the incident, Jordan Martin, 21, told the NZ Herald he was blocked by the group of racers when leaving his Penrose depot, but saw a gap he thought he could get his 50-tonne truck through.

That was when his truck clipped the front of a Honda, dragging it down the road and starting the incident which led to the alleged assault.

Mr Martin said he was unaware of what happened and continued down the road, before being chased down and blocked off by the group of angry racers on Great South Rd.

"I had to stop and then people just started crowding round the truck and one guy jumped in the passenger side and started beating me over the head with my fridge and there were people on the driver's side who started trying to get into the truck," Mr Martin told the NZ Herald.

He said the attack only subsided when the wife of another truck driver, who saw the incident and stopped, came to his aid by calming the mob down.

Blue Ice Logistics owner Paul Stone said he would have been happy to pay for the repairs once he found out what happened, but not anymore, after having to pay several thousand dollars to fix his truck after the attack. 

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'Things are pretty bad for families' - KidsCan charity unable to keep up with massive demand

More than 4,000 Kiwi kids are in urgent need of food, clothing and basic health products from the charity KidsCan.

It's the highest wait list the organisation has had since they launched in 2005 and they can't keep up with the growing demand.

Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman puts the high wait list down to school recognising children are more in need in the winter months.

"Five-years-ago, 11 per cent of a school roll would need food, that's now 21 per cent," she said.

"We're feeding 26,000 children a week across New Zealand, so things are pretty bad for families."

She says housing costs, food costs, and life circumstances such as job losses or relationship break-ups influence the high numbers of those in need. 

Ms Chapman said the Government were starting to invest in the area, but thought the lifting of low-income wages and tax-breaks could greatly benefit families. 

"I'd like to see more of that. An extra $40-50 a week would do amazing things for the children we support."

Chief executive Julie Chapman is calling for the Government to step in. Source: Breakfast