'I just about fell off the couch' - Meet the woman who's dressing Jacinda Ardern's baby bump

Determined to buy New Zealand designed maternity wear, the Prime Minister headed to Auckland's Titirangi to dress her baby bump.

"I received an email from a woman who said she would like to get in touch and to look at some of our clothes. She said she worked for Jacinda and she was needing some maternity clothes," 3 Bears owner Katrena Drum says.

Making a private appointment at 3 Bears in West Auckland via email, this small business owner's dreams have come true.

"I like to think I did a cool walk to her but I probably ran. I eventually told her how much I loved her."

According to Ms Drum, the Prime Minister tried on a lot of clothes and said The Beehive is quite cold.

And regarding the question on everyone's lips, Ms Drum had this to say: "Before you ask, no we have no idea what the gender is and you couldn't tell by the way she was carrying the bump either." 

The PM paid a visit to one Auckland store for maternity wear to the delight of its owner. Source: Seven Sharp


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MP Jami-Lee Ross says 'I'm expendable' as Simon Bridges names him as leaker

The investigation into who leaked details of National Party leader Simon Bridges' expenses points to MP Jami-Lee Ross leaking the information. 

Mr Bridges said the report pointed to Mr Ross as sending an anonymous text. 

The PWC report said it had not identified the leaker with certainty, however, "the evidence we have points to Mr Ross". 

The Opposition leader launched an inquiry into the leak of his expenses earlier this year. Source: 1 NEWS

As the National Party leader was about to make the announcement, Mr Ross posted a number of tweets in which he said he had fallen out with Mr Bridges some months ago.

Mr Ross said in his tweets that he had become "expendable" and that Mr Bridges was about to "pin his leak inquiry on me".

"He can not find who the actual leak is," Mr Ross wrote.

He claimed Mr Bridges was attempting to use contact with Mr Ross' local police area commander and a journalist he is friends with as evidence that he is "somehow involved".

"I have said they are unrelated - he does not wish to believe that. Some months ago I fell out with Simon. I have internally been questioning leadership decisions he was making, and his personal poll ratings which show he is becoming more and more unlikable in the public’s eyes."

Mr Ross then made an accusation saying he had recorded the National Party leader "discussing with me unlawful activity that he was involved in".

In his tweets Mr Ross added: "Working on his instruction, he asked me to do things with election donations that broke the law".

Mr Bridges denied all of Mr Ross' accusations and called Mr Ross' tweets "false comments".

"He would say those things, given the situation… I've released the report… and it speaks for itself."

Mr Bridges said suspension of Mr Ross from the National Party caucus was an option.

The inquiry came after the National Party leader's expenses were released earlier than scheduled, revealing $113,973 was spent on travel and accommodation between April and June.

Last week, an independent review found no evidence that staff in the office of Parliament's speaker, Speaker Trevor Mallard, or Parliamentary Service finance and corporate staff released details. 

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Earlier this month, Mr Ross took time off from Parliament for health reasons, with Mr Bridges saying it was unrelated to the leak inquiry. 

Read More: National launches internal inquiry into Simon Bridges' expenses leak

A PWC report pointed the finger at MP Jami-Lee Ross as the person who leaked Simon Bridges’ expenses. Source: 1 NEWS

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New Zealand Defence Force facing fresh allegations of cover-ups and abuse

Investigative writer Nicky Hager says sources from the Defence Force have exposed a culture of bullying, sexual violence, drinking and cover-ups in the military.

In Mr Hager's 12-page investigation, published in the North & South magazine today, he details how a source revealed that an SAS soldier - known as Corporal B for privacy reasons - was awarded the second-highest military honour despite previously being considered for court-martial action for killing two children in Afghanistan.

"The Americans asked the SAS commander if they could take one of the New Zealand medical staff, a medic, on a raid they were doing on a Afghanistan compound," said Mr Hager.

Medics fall under a protected status in war battles and strict rules are imposed on them under the Geneva Convention, he said.

"Specifically, a medic can only ever shoot in self-defence or to protect wounded people under their care. These are very important and long-standing rules of war," Mr Hager's report stated.

"But they can't defend the American forces around them or something, and that's where it all went wrong," he told Morning Report.

Mr Hager said the soldier got involved in a firefight and later found he had shot two young boys, who joined the adults in defending the compound.

"[Corporal B] saw that the people he had shot were just little boys that [they were] some boys 12 or 13 [years old], the same age as his children."

He said the Americans suggested Corporal B should get a medal for his assistance, but when he returned to base, the soldier was told he could be court-martialled.

"So he was thinking 'oh no, I've killed children', and the Americans were saying 'great work man, you helped protect us, we might give you a medal'.

"And then when he got back to base he became a very unhappy and confused person, because the SAS commander was saying 'well hang on a moment, you've broken all the rules here, we're gonna court-martial you'.

"There was this man who was upset about hurting children, was angry at the military for sending him into a situation where it could happen like that with the American forces, and he was incredibly disillusioned because they were going to charge him for... having broken international law."

However, the Defence Force said it did not consider court-martialling Corporal B. Mr Hager said the Defence Force also did not confirm the source's story on Corporal B either.

Mr Hager said no such trial took place and Corporal B was eventually awarded a New Zealand Gallantry Decoration.

"It was also the same period where the Willie Apiata raid had happened and they were getting ready to give him a VC and they decided exactly the same thing with this soldier.

"They forgot that he had done things wrong, they actually covered up the whole thing and didn't do any investigations into the war crimes side of it, the Geneva convention side."

Mr Hager's investigation states Corporal B had left the SAS and NZDF by the time of the award.

Claims of 'dry theatre of operations' breach

Military members who went to Afghanistan operated under "dry theatre of operations" - a strict ban on alcohol in war areas - in the early stages of war.

Mr Hager said some of the NZDF members respected those rules, however, the SAS ignored the ban.

"This is an example of how there's a culture of the rules that apply to other people that don't really have to apply to them [SAS] and they'll keep it secret," Mr Hager said.

"What I was told, again by this SAS man who was there during it, was that the troops around them, and even the American troops, didn't have alcohol."

Instead: "When supplies were flown from New Zealand on large pallets, the outer layer of the pallets would be boxes of ration packs, made up by a firm at Linton. But most of the load, hidden inside the ration packs, the source says, was 'beer, spirits, everything. You name it, it was in there. The [SAS] unit organised it all'," the report detailed.

"They'd have huge screaming wonderful parties from their point of view and they'd invite the other nations to come along to them but they were totally breaking the rules," Mr Hager told Morning Report.

The NZDF told North & South "small quantities of NZSAS-branded wine and spirits, brought and paid for privately by Papakura Camp Mess members, were taken into Afghanistan for consumption and used as gifts for coalition partners and friends".

Claims sexual assault ignored

The same year NZDF released a report on sexual abuse in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Mr Hager said, a woman came forward to report a complaint on sexual assault.

"This is a story [that took place] in Ohakea three years ago, in 2015, where a woman who was a civilian worker there went to a Friday night party of the staff who she worked with and two of the other men there on the air force base decided they'd get her," he said.

"One came up in front of her and grabbed her by the breast while the other one shoved himself behind her and they pinned her between them, in a way which they thought was a hoot and she felt really terrible and was very unhappy about."

However, her seniors did not take her complaint seriously, Mr Hager said.

"She did exactly what the military says that people should do in its documents... she went to her boss and said 'I'm laying a formal complaint about this, I'm not happy with what happened' and he just shrugged it off and so she went to her boss' boss at Ohakea and said 'this has happened to me, I want you to take some action, I'm not happy with what's been done to me' and again she got shrugged off."

The woman pursued the matter but still was getting pushed off, Mr Hager said.

"She went to the defence force lawyers, she went to the deputy chief of the air force, and then she went up to the chief of the air force - and at every level they said 'no' and the reason they were saying no, according to the people who knew about it who were involved, was because the two men who had done it to her were part of an at-risk trade group.

"They didn't want something to happen to them, like to be fired for what they had done, because it was hard to get those particular skills.

"The final thing is that when she couldn't even get the chief of the air force to do anything about it, the defence lawyers on her behalf took it to the chief of staff, Tim Keating, and he refused to act as well."

An NZDF spokesperson told North & South appropriate action had been taken "in accordance with the established policies and procedures in place at the time". No further comment would be made "because to do so may breach the complainant's privacy".

Mr Hager, along with John Stephenson, wrote the Hit & Run book which claims six civilians were killed and 15 injured in a raid on two Afghan villages by the elite New Zealand soldiers.

rnz.co.nz

New Zealand Defence Force in training session. Source: rnz.co.nz

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Christchurch boy, 16, dies after fall on school grounds

A 16-year-old Christchurch boy has died after he was critically injured in a fall this weekend on the Opotiki School grounds.

Te Hawiki Hona Kiri-Te Amo, who was known as Hawiki, died from his injuries last night, police said.

He and another boy who was seriously injured fell on the school grounds at about 8.40pm Saturday, according to authorities.

The teen's death has been referred to the Coroner.

Source: 1 NEWS


'We've had enough' - hurting truckies caravan through Auckland to protest 'horrendous' fuel costs

Dozens of trucks caravanned down Auckland's Northern Motorway and snaked through city centre streets this morning in a protest aimed at driving home a single point: "ridiculous" fuel prices are hurting drivers, and those of us who eventually buy the goods they haul.

"Government taxes and all that, it's just horrendous at the moment," driver Syd Moana told 1 NEWS.

"Every time we seem to get ahead, something else comes up - diesel prices and all that sort of stuff."

He estimated the increased fuel prices are costing in his company about $5000 per week.

"That's a lot of money to fork out of your own pocket, without the Government helping you," he said.

"They've got to realise that we've had enough."

Fellow driver Danny Morgan estimated his company is paying about $50,000 extra per month, making it difficult to keep the trucks out on the road.

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He already pays high rent and high food prices, and as petrol adds another expense it's just too much, he argued.

"You haven't got much left at the end of the day, so people are starting to suffer out there," he said.

"I'm still trying to buy my first house. It's pretty hard...If petrol's going up every day, what we've got left in our hand is less and less."

RNB Transport owner Rob Ryan, who helped organise the rally using many of his own trucks and employees, said the protest isn't just about truckies struggling.

Truckies at RNB Transport wanted to show their outrage at fuel price and road user charge increases. Source: 1 NEWS

He pointed to his daughter, who he said is also feeling the pinch on her drive to work every day even though she bought a little Suzuki Swift because of its fuel efficiency.

"You're going to have more people on the street because they can't afford gas to get to work, they can't afford to buy bread and milk, all because of that," he said, explaining that there's going to be a "flow on affect" in the prices of basic items like milk and bread.

"There's power in numbers, man, and that's what it's all about," he said of the rally. "At the moment, we're not getting heard. We've got the councils and the Government just whacking on all these taxes that are not needed...Tell you what, there's a lot of pissed off people out there, and they've had their guts full of it."

Mr Ryan estimated between 100 and 150 trucks participated in the caravan today, with others suggesting it was upwards of 200. Auckland Transport, however, has suggested the number was closer to 40.

The 1 NEWS political reporters discuss the Prime Minister’s reaction to the sky rocketing cost of fuel. Source: 1 NEWS

"They are driving courteously and are having a minimal impact on a normally busy peak traffic movement," the agency said in a statement.

Mr Ryan said trucks joined the caravan at different points, with many participants peeling away at different times because they still needed to go to work.

He promised more - and bigger - protests in the future.

"If they don't listen now, we'll do it again in another month," he said. "And next month it'll be bigger."

Transport companies are paying thousands of dollars more per week, and it’ll being passed on to consumers, participants said. Source: 1 NEWS