Finger-wagging Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern clash over funding priorities ahead of new government's first Budget

Tensions were high in Question Time ahead of the release of Budget 2018 tomorrow, with National leader Simon Bridges questioning the Prime Minister on where the money for the $1 billion per year Provincial Growth Fund would come from. 

The opposition leader began by asking why the government considered "nearly $1 billion for foreign affairs was more important than delivering on their promise of cheaper GP visits, for all New Zealanders". 

Winston Peters, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced last week more than $900 million would go to foreign affairs and development over the next four years, in a pre-Budget speech.

Cheaper GP visits have been delayed by the government, however millions were announced last night to go into foreign affairs and aid. Source: Breakfast

It also comes as the government said there could be a possibility initiatives such as cheaper doctor visits, as promised by the Labour Party during the election, would need to be phased in rather than begin on July 1

Ms Ardern said to keep New Zealand's development funding at the status quo would require $590 million investment. 

Mr Bridges went onto NZ First MP Shane Jones' Provincial Growth Fund, asking if the $1 billion per year would be from new funding and not reprioritised from other sources.

Reprioritising is pulling money from other sectors. 

"We've traversed this many times in the House, substantively this is new, but we have reprioritised elements of the Budget as well," Ms Ardern said.

"Overall, I think what matters to the people most are the fact that we are actually investing in the regions that have experienced significant neglect over the last nine years."

Three injured, one critically, in two-vehicle crash south of Auckland

Three people have been injured, one of them critically, in a two-vehicle crash at Waiuku just south of Auckland.

Police and a rescue helicopter are attending the crash on Awhitu Road.

A section of Awhitu road is blocked and diversions are in place at the intersections of Taurangaruru Road and Kaihau Road.

Motorists in the Waiuku township area are being advised to delay their travel if possible due to the cordons in place and avoid the area if possible.

The Serious Crash Unit has been notified.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS


'It is no longer our place to judge' says Hopeful Christian's estranged daughter as she opens up on Gloriavale founder's death

The estranged daughter of Gloriavale founder Hopeful Christian has opened up following his death, saying he stands before his maker and it is not our place to judge.

The Australian-born founder of the secretive and controversial West Coast religious community died yesterday aged 92 after a battle with cancer.

Christian, an evangelical preacher who changed his name from Neville Cooper after founding the fundamentalist community in the late 1960s, was a convicted sex offender.

He was jailed in 1995 on three charges of indecent assault at the Springbank Christian Community - an earlier version of the church in North Canterbury - in the 1980s.

The NZ Herald reports the daughter fled Gloriavale nine years ago, along with her partner and children.

The daughter, who requested not to be named, told the media outlet she was taking space to grieve the loss of her father.

"We grieve what might have been. We reflect on a time when we loved, the longing for things to change, and the feeling of melancholy that things were not different," she said.

"We grieve that the relationship now has no chance of mending."

The daughter said her father gave her life and a heritage for which she is grateful.

"He now stands before his maker. It is no longer our place to judge.

"Everybody is shaped by their journey and it is up to us to choose what we make of it and who we become.

"I honour my Dad today."

Sunday’s Jehan Casinader interviewed the religious leader before he died, and says the community will adapt to go on without him. Source: Breakfast

Christian had 16 children from his first marriage to Gloria. Four of those children remain in Gloriavale, two have died and 10 have fled the community, the Herald reported.

The controversial religious leader died from cancer on May 15, 2018. Source: 1 NEWS