'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."

Related content:

Most read: Watch Paula Bennett's brilliant facials during Simon Bridges' Budget speech

Watch: 'I want my child to look back and judge me and this government favourably ...rather than deciding to change their name' – Pregnant Jacinda cracks a funny as she explains 'personal' Budget

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



Motorcyclist in critical condition after crash near Upper Hutt

A serious crash has left a motorcyclist in critical condition and caused a section of State Highway 2 to close for a time near Kaitoke, Upper Hutt.

Police say a motorcyclist hit a barrier at Kaitoke this afternoon about 4:30pm.

The male rider was taken to hospital via helicopter in a critical condition.

The road at SH2 Kaitoke, Upper Hutt is now open again after closing for a time.


A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Government reveals details of emails between Clare Curran and Derek Handley

Details of the email exchange between former Digital Services Minister Clare Curran and Derek Handley were revealed today during Parliament's Question Time. 

Ms Curran said she was not aware of RNZ's policies surrounding meetings with Minister's at the time.
Source: 1 NEWS

The messages were sent over the role of chief technology officer, with Ms Curran using her private Gmail account to send the emails. 

An offer to Mr Handley for the role was retracted by the Government last week, resulting in a $100,000 pay out to the entrepreneur. 

Acting State Services Minister Grant Robertson told the House the following about three exchanges between the pair about the role. 

First exchange

August 11: 

"Derek Handley emails Clare Curran about the chief technology officer position and questions about the role of the CTO, including resourcing for the role and potential conflicts of interest."

August 14

"Clare Curran replies to that email, confirming a call to discuss these matters."

August 15

"Derek Handley replies to that, confirming times for the call."

Second exchange

August 19

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding logistics around the next step on the process of appointment, including the content of any public statements that might be made, and refers to contract discussions with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)."

August 20

"Derek Handley responds to that email to Clare Curran about those issues, including the contact he has had with DIA and management of conflicts of interest."

Third exchange

August 21

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding issues that would be on the work plan of the chief technology officer and attaches some relevant background documents on those issues.

"On the same day, Derek Handley responds to Clare Curran, acknowledging the material and referring to the discussions that he is having with DIA."

Derek Handley says he’ll donate the compensation but is disappointed at the way the issue was handled. Source: 1 NEWS

The chief technology officer was intended to "drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand", said the then Minister for Government Digital Services Clare Curran, when the role was announced last December. 

The new Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods said the Government have put a "full stop" on the process.

Ms Curran was stripped of her position as Minister for Government Digital Services after not disclosing a meeting with Mr Handley previously.

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Over 20 vehicles vandalised overnight in suburb on Auckland's North Shore

More than 20 vehicles have been damaged overnight in an area on Auckland's, North Shore.

Police say a number of vehicles' tyres have been vandalised in Birkdale's, Tiri Tiri Road and Woodhams Street area.

Anyone who has had their car damaged is urged to report it to police if they haven't already done so.

Police are making area enquiries and conducting scene and forensic examinations and are interested to hear from anyone who may have information.


John Healy says people drastically underestimate the risks of leaving kids or pets in their car.
Source: 1 NEWS


Vodafone's 'unlimited' mobile plan comes under Commerce Commission scrutiny

The Commerce Commission has started an investigation into Vodafone's "unlimited" mobile plan launched in July which has a number of restrictions listed on the plan's promo page.

The NZ Herald reports the question is whether the "limited" factors are sufficiently prominent. 

The news outlet's online report says the ComCom refused any comment while its investigation was open.

The restrictions are listed on Vodafone's Unlimited Mobile promo page, but only after you click a link labelled "Important things to know".

Vodafone's "Unlimited Mobile" plan is $79.99 a month and NZ Herald says like "unlimited" plans launched earlier by rivals Spark and 2degrees, it has a number of limits.

These include speed being reduced from 4G to 3G if a customer downloads more than 22GB of mobile data within a month, and streaming video restricted to standard definition.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the company is "working through the details with the Commission and will co-operate fully with their investigation".

The regulator last month laid 10 charges against Vodafone under the Fair Trading Act for billing beyond the date of some customers' notice period.

In another legal action, the commission is targeting Vodafone's Fibre X marketing campaign.

More companies have gone into streamlining health and safety features such as picking up your arrival using  your phone and printing out your name tag ready to go when you arrive.
Source: 1 NEWS