'What the hell is going on here?' - National leader says Winston Peters one reason for 'flabby' spending

Opposition leader Simon Bridges described the government's Budget decisions as "flabby spending", influenced by promises to New Zealand First. 

The National Party leader yesterday said Budget 2018 was a "very surprising Budget". 

"People would have expected, given the rhetoric, that this government would be putting a lot more into health and education.

"They just haven't."

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Health was given $4 billion and education was allocated $1.6b in operating funds, $590m for early childhood and $284 to Learning Support.  

Mr Bridges said when in opposition, the government made promises in health and education, and he could understand why some people in those sectors may be disappointed.

"They're awash with cash, they've just got billions and billion of dollars from a strong economy, higher revenues that they thought, good books anyway, more tax, more borrowing. 

"Then you say, what the hell is going on here?" 

He said one of the reasons was "Winston". 

Mr Bridges said the $1b for foreign affairs and $3b over three years for the Provincial Growth Fund was "flabby spending". 

This starts with making sure Kiwis have access to high quality public services, says the Finance Minister while delivering the Labour-led Government's first Budget. Source: 1 NEWS

He said there were arguments why the almost $1b into foreign affairs was beneficial, however, "when you're not doing the cheaper GP visits, when you're not doing the full police numbers you promised, when you're not funding mental health that you promised, it's kind of a strange priority". 

"There's been money there, but they've put many billions into other things. Diplomats, free fees, winter energy payment."

"It's big, it's flabby spending and it's very different from what we would have done, where it would have been targeted."

Mr Bridges said he did not see anything in Budget 2018 "that adds the cream". 

He said it could be considered a wasted opportunity.

"Perhaps that's the label of this Budget, 'The Budget of Wasted Opportunities'." 

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch says there was no lolly scramble in Wellington today. Source: 1 NEWS

The National leader called Budget 2018 "flabby spending". Source: 1 NEWS

Watch: US President Donald Trump takes on Laurel v Yanny challenge, his answer is not what you'd expect

US President Donald Trump and the White House are the latest to weigh in on the Laurel versus Yanny debate.

In a video posted to Twitter, the White House staff revealed whether they were hearing 'Laurel' or 'Yanny'.

The clip has already received 1.67 million views.

Earlier this week, a short audio clip went viral and divided the internet into two camps - those who heard 'Yanny' and those who heard 'Laurel'.

In the video, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is asked for her response to reports saying she hears 'Laurel'.

"Clearly you're getting your information from CNN 'cause that's fake news. All I hear is 'Yanny'," Ms Huckabee Sanders joked.

At the end of the video, President Donald Trump says, "I hear Covfefe".

A video featuring US President Donald Trump and White House staff received millions of views when it was posted to Twitter today.


Israel Embassy takes objection to PM's description of 60 deaths in Gaza as 'one-sided'

Israel's embassy in New Zealand has officially taken objection to Jacinda Ardern's description of this week's Gaza conflict in which 60 Palestinians were killed as "one-sided".

The embassy has responded to the Prime Minister's comments made on Tuesday, May 15, describing them as a regrettable misrepresentation of the conflict that occurred.

"It is astonishing to see how much disinformation is being used against Israel for its self-defense on the Gaza border," Israel's Embassy says in the press release.

"The government of New Zealand, which has recognised Hamas as a terror organisation, regrettably has not condemned Hamas for its actions nor its investment in terrorism."

"Israel is unjustly and against any objective reasoning accused of using disproportionate force against Hamas.

"The use of force must be judged not by the number of casualties (and don't forget that the majority of them are Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists)."

Ms Ardern had described the conflict as "a devastating one-sided loss of life" in an overall critical assessment made hours after the incident.

However, she would not go so far as to say the attacks from Israel were a breach of international law, without a full briefing.

"This is the most significant violence we've seen in a number of years," Ms Ardern said on Tuesday morning.

"We would condemn the violence that has occurred, and I think it's plain to see that the effects of this decision and the ramifications are wide-reaching."

Jacinda Ardern outlined her government’s stance on the US-led strikes on Syria today, speaking from the Comm Games in the Gold Coast.
Source: 1 NEWS