Jacinda Ardern releases letter outlining details of Winston Peters' six weeks as acting Prime Minister - and when he should contact her

Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters have developed an arrangement while the Prime Minister takes her leave of absence after giving birth, released publicly in the form of a letter today. 

Ms Ardern is intending to take six weeks maternity leave, with her baby due on June 17. 

Due to public interest, Ms Ardern said she had set out the arrangements in letter, created by herself and Mr Peters. 

"The Deputy Prime Minister will exercise the functions and powers of the Prime Minister in consultation with me, where appropriate," Ms Ardern said during her post-Cabinet press conference today.

"It is no different to any time he is in my acting prime minister in my absence, for instance for overseas travel." 

Today the Prime Minister revealed the letter outlining the details of their six-week arrangement. Source: 1 NEWS

He will manage the day-to-day business of the government, however Ms Ardern will still be contacted on "significant matters".

The PM told media today the pair worked on the letter together.  

The letter reads:

Dear Winston,

Working arrangements during absence of Prime Minister

As you know, I intend to take a leave of absence this year for a period of six weeks. Thank you for agreeing to be Acting Prime Minister during that time.

The arrangements during this time will be the same as they would during any other period in which I am away and you are Acting Prime Minister, but as there has been some public interest in this particular period, I am setting the arrangements out in a letter, to be published on the Beehive website.

As Acting Prime Minister, you will exercise the functions and powers of the Prime Minister, in consultation with me where appropriate, particularly where matters of significant political, strategic or public interest, or national security arise. I will continue to receive Cabinet and Cabinet committee papers. You will manage the day-to-day business of the government, including:

 chairing Cabinet and the Cabinet committees usually chaired by me (Appointments and Honours Committee, Cabinet Business Committee and Cabinet Priorities Committee). Agendas for the meetings will be managed between my office and the Cabinet Office in the usual way;

 engaging with and directing officials from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;

 overseeing the government’s policy programme;

 answering questions directed at the Prime Minister in the House and responding to media inquiries, Official Information Act requests and other correspondence; and

 attending official engagements.

My Chief of Staff, Mike Munro, and staff in the Office of the Prime Minister will support you in your role as Acting Prime Minister, as will officials in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, including the Cabinet Office.

Thank you again for your support,

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister

Ms Ardern is intending to take six weeks maternity leave, with her baby due on June 17. Source: 1 NEWS



Waikato Police to wear pink vests in stand against bullying

Speak up, stand together, stop bullying: A message Waikato Police are taking on board this week as they plan to dress in pink this Friday.

Bully-Free New Zealand Week starts today and ends with Mental Health Foundation's Pink Shirt Day on Friday May 18.

Waikato officers are taking part in the week by urging the community to stand alongside them and "make a stand against bullying".

The Pink Shirt Day movement is celebrated around the world after originating in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying, mobilising their school, after a peer was bullied for wearing a pink t-shirt.

Organisers in New Zealand hope the day creates communities where all people feel safe, valued and respected.

Hamilton is expected to turn into a sea of pink on Friday if Waikato Police have anything to do with it.

All frontline police staff will be wearing pink vests to mark the day, as well as leading a "Linked in Pink" event.

The event starts at midday at Garden Place, with free doughnuts and prizes for best dressed.

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'There is no loop hole' - boss of Tokoroa venue planning to install 30 pokie machines denies exploiting government legislation

The general manager of the Tokoroa gambling venue facing legal action from locals for its plans to install 30 pokie machines has denied they are exploiting a loop-hole in government legislation.

The owners say the merger of three clubs will actually be better for the community. Source: 1 NEWS

Pockets 8 Ball Club has raised the ire of locals in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa for obtaining a gaming license to operate 30 pokies on the basis it is merging with two other venues - The Olde Establishment, and the Putaruru District Services Memorial Club.

General manger of Pockets 8 Ball Club, Wendy Cook, says since the Gambling Act 2003, 13 clubs, in addition to her own, have merged and consolidated their gaming machines in one area.

"There is no loop hole," Ms Cook said.

That’s according to community group spokesman Colin Bridle who intends take legal action over the pokie machines. Breakfast Source: Breakfast

"There has been no breach of process by the local council. The council amended its gambling venue policy, after a full public consultation process, to expressly allow clubs to merge and operate up to 30 machines."

Ms Cook said the consent for her venue to merge and operate 30 pokies was given consent by council, and then reviewed by the Department of Internal Affairs and confirmed as being valid.

The GM of Pockets 8 Ball Club also claimed her business' merger would bring an overall reduction in gaming machines for the region.

"The merger is positive as it will result in a total reduction of gaming machines in the South Waikato District," Ms Cook said.

"Machine numbers will reduce by four and venue numbers will reduce by two.

"Having the machines in one centralised place allows for greater harm minimisation, as the players will be continuously supervised by specialised, trained staff."

Unfortunately for Ms Cook, many Tokoroa residents do not agree with these positive benefits, and a community group is taking legal action to stop the gaming license. 

Community group spokesman Colin Bridle says the reality is that Tokoroa is already a high deprivation community.

"Forty-nine point six per cent of the population live on less than $20,000 a year, so it's going to have a huge impact." Mr Bridle said.

"It's unfortunate and actually ridiculous that we have to take the government to court because the South Waikato District Council and Department of Internal Affairs have not stuck to the gambling act law under the 2003 act.

"In a small community with a high concentration of machines that are there already. It's increasing the harm of our community."

"We're pleading with the Minister to please stop this 30 pokie venue."

The venue will add to the 133 machines already in Tokoroa.

Pockets 8 Ball Club in South Waikato town of Tokoroa is set to install 30 pokie machines. Source: Facebook / Pockets 8 Ball Club