Jacinda Ardern 'absolutely gutted' by Kiwi woman Abby Hartley's death in Bali, but says medevac refusal was the right call

Jacinda Ardern said this morning she is "absolutely gutted" to learn of Kiwi woman Abby Hartley's death in Bali. But the Prime Minister also held firm that the Government made the right decision by not intervening with an expensive medevac.

"I do want to join with the number of Kiwis who have expressed condolences to the family," Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

"What has been an eye opener for me, though, is the number of cases where we are called upon to help New Zealanders abroad," she said. "We have roughly 3000 calls for consular assistance overseas every year. Over 200 of those relate to medical issues, and we lose roughly 180 New Zealanders abroad every year."

There is help provided to those New Zealanders, she said. But that help doesn't involve doing what an insurance company should do, she said.

"When it comes to significant medical events, then that's when we're always hoping and seeking the assistance of insurers to support New Zealanders, when there are situations like medevacs," she said.

Ms Hartley, 41, was hospitalised on August 1 while on holiday with her husband, Richard, as part of a second honeymoon on the Indonesian island.

The Hartley’s crowd sourced funds to get their mother home, as the insurance company would not pay for it. Source: 1 NEWS

A Givealittle fundraising effort raised $237,000 to fly Ms Hartley back to New Zealand after her travel insurer didn't pay out, saying she had not disclosed a pre-existing medical condition.

Her death was confirmed to 1 NEWS this morning, shortly before the Prime Minister was scheduled to make her weekly appearance on Breakfast.

"In this case I do want to acknowledge New Zealanders really stepped up, provided support to the family," Ms Ardern said. "I want to acknowledge every New Zealander who did that. And it's incredibly sad that despite that funding being raised, it wasn't obviously in the position to be utilised."

Breakfast host Hayley Holt pointed to the immense pressure that was put on the Government to make an exception to the rule for the Hartley family.

"Do you think you should have done more?" Holt asked.

The National leader said he “facilitated” the New Zealanders who were “touched” by the Hartley’s situation. Source: 1 NEWS

Government officials have pointed out that the policy has been the same through multiple governments. Ms Ardern referred to the "provision in place for the assistance we give" and repeated her call for insurance companies to step up.

"The thing that I find tough to know is there will, of course, be other cases like this," she said. "In those cases, we're always hoping the insurers do their bit to support New Zealanders when they have that insurance."

The 41-year-old Kiwi mum died in Bali, weeks after falling into a coma while on her second honeymoon. Source: Breakfast

New rules allow ministers' nannies to travel on the taxpayer, but PM will cover Clarke Gayford's US trip

New rules for ministers with babies who are travelling overseas allow them to to take a nanny or carer paid for by taxpayers. 

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she does not expect the taxpayer to pay for both her partner, Clarke Gayford, and a carer for their baby Neve, NZ Herald reports.

Ms Ardern and Mr Gayford, along with their baby, are travelling to New York today for Leaders' Week for the UN General Assembly.

The prime minister says that she will be paying for her partner's flights, since there are not many engagements for partners.

"There is no spousal programme for this, so we just made a judgment call that we would cover his travel for this trip. He will be going to some things, but he's primarily travelling to care for Neve."

After Ms Ardern became prime minister, the guidelines for ministers' overseas travel were reviewed and changed, reports the Herald.

Now, a minister with young infants is allowed to take someone, other than a partner, to care for that child or for a minister with a disability to take a support person if needed.

Ms Ardern said she never sought for the change and did not intend to use the entitlement for herself, and would only allow it for ministers in "exceptional circumstances."

The prime minister signs off on all ministerial travel overseas, other than to Australia, including deciding whether partners can travel with ministers and who pays for them.

Other ministers with young babies currently include the Green Party's Julie Anne Genter and Education Minister Chris Hipkins, whose partner had a second child this week.

Ms Ardern told the Herald she did not expect to have travel with more than one person, but if there was a situation which required both Mr Gayford and another carer for Neve, she would pay for that extra person out of her own pocket.

"We are playing it by ear. There is no set plan, it's just whether or not she's getting enough sleep, where I am for feeds. They might be with us a lot, they might just be in the hotel,” she said.

In New York, Ms Ardern is also staying in apartment-type accommodation rather than the usual hotel because kitchen facilities were needed for Neve.

Ms Ardern said she had made sure it did not cost more than was usual.

Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford and baby Neve. Source: 1 NEWS


Sunday preview: What is the future for whitebait?

Saturday morning at the market. I bite the bullet, line up and buy one. It's a delicious, piping-hot, wee taste of home, but boy do I feel guilty. Not guilty enough to stop at one, though. I go back for a second. Then a third.

I've read the headlines. Read the entire stories. Whitebait are being wiped out because of people like me. They could soon be gone forever - and it's my fault. Or is it?

According to a Department of Conservation report released last year, three of the five whitebait species are "at risk/declining" and one species is "threatened".

Everyone agrees humans are having a huge impact on whitebait habitat, but people don't agree on how much of an impact fishing has on these species.

To help protect these native fish Forest and Bird are calling for recreational catch limits and a complete commercial ban on whitebaiting.

"Here is a species that are in trouble and there's no limit at all to the amount that you can catch" says Forest and Bird's Kevin Hague.

But Dr Mike Hickford, a marine ecologist at the University of Canterbury says fears of wiping out whitebait are grossly overblown. "I don't think we will ever wipe out whitebait" he says.

Hickford says a distinction needs to be made between adult and the post-larvae fish. "There's no doubt that the adult stage of these fish are in trouble, but it doesn't translate to the whitebait".

Hickford says there's no evidence to suggest at this stage that whitebaiting affects the threatened adult population, which spawn in such huge numbers.

"The majority of those whitebaits that are coming back in to the river, they're going to die anyway, they always have died and they still will die in the future no matter what we do".

Despite a lack of clear evidence, Kevin Hague says restrictions on how we catch whitebait, how much we can catch and the sale of whitebait should be introduced before the start of next 3-month long season (Sept-Nov).

"We don't want to interfere with someone's ability to go and get a feed for their family, but we just think there should be some tools that we use to actually reduce the pressure on these species".

Cascade Whitebait, one of New Zealand's biggest commercial whitebaiters, fish each season on the isolated Cascade river, just south of Haast.

Nan Brown, whose parents helped set up the operation 70 years ago, says their records don't show any decline in whitebait catch.   She wants to hold on to their fishery and says, "It would be unfair to let the guillotine drop on something you don't know enough about.” 

Watch the full story tomorrow night AT 7.30pm on SUNDAY TVNZ1 or TVNZOnDemand

Whitebait are being wiped out but people can’t agree on how much of an impact fishing has on these species Source: Sunday


Man in serious condition following assault near Christchurch mall

A 41-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition in a Christchurch hospital, following an attack in the early hours this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area beside the Hornby Mall, on Shands Road, for a scene examination.

It is expected to be cleared by midday today.

Police are continuing to investigate the scene to establish what occurred.

File image of an Ambulance outside a hospital. Source: 1 NEWS

Police in stand-off with man barricaded in Huntly house

Police are currently involved in an ongoing stand-off in Huntly, which started around 2am this morning.

The eight-hour stand off began when police were called to a home on Harris St, where a man and woman had been fighting.

Upon arriving at the scene, police found the man had locked himself inside and was refusing to come out. 

At 9am, he was still refusing to come out of the home and police negotiators are currently on site, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Charles Burgess told Stuff.

"He's barricaded himself in the house and is threatening to harm himself," Senior Sergeant Burgess said.

He's not known to have access to any guns, Burgess said but does have access to knives and other items inside the home. 

"A police negotiation team are trying to speak to the man so we can bring an end to this event."

A section of the road has been cordoned off and detours are in place.

No one else is inside the home and no one has been injured.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS