Large fire breaks out at Port of Tauranga

A large fire has broken out in a mechanical workshop at Port of Tauranga this afternoon.

Numerous Fire and Emergency crews are now at the scene  after they were called about 11.40am.

No people have been reported as injured, but a spokesperson said there is some risk to surrounding properties.

The terminal has been temporarily closed, but the building is not near to any vessels.

The container terminal has been shut down due to the fire as crews battle to get it under control. Source: 1 NEWS

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Political commentator says Jami-Lee Ross saga is a 'failure of leadership' by Simon Bridges

Labour's former party president has called outgoing MP Jami-Lee Ross' recent allegations against Simon Bridges breaking electoral law as "utterly unprecedented in New Zealand politics".

Former Labour Party president Mike Williams told TVNZ's Breakfast this morning that the Jami-Lee Ross saga is a failure of leadership from Simon Bridges.

"It is, as you said, absolutely extraordinary. I can't think of anything in my very long memory of politics in this country that matches it," Mr Williams said.

"What has he accused Simon Bridges of? Well, essentially, corruption over a political donation, and if it's half true, Bridges is in trouble."

He said Mr Bridges "should have answered that question" on allegations into electoral fraud, and that he “kept fudging it” during a news conference yesterday, that came after Mr Ross' dramatic hour-long appearance.

"I did not hear Simon Bridges deny it yesterday," he said.

The former Labour president said the claims could be very serious if proven true, calling it “utterly unprecedented in New Zealand politics”.

"Things have got way out of hand in the National Party caucus. Basically, it's poor leadership. When somebody is going off the tracks in the way that Jami-Lee Ross was clearly going off the tracks, a leader has got to see what's coming and get them back on the tracks. This is really a failure by Simon Bridges."

He said the security of Mr Bridges' position as National leader is dependent on the outcome of the by-election, which was triggered following Mr Ross' announcement of his resignation from Parliament yesterday.

"If National has a poor result, and if Jami-Lee Ross wins it, then it's all over for Simon Bridges, in my view," he said.

Mr Williams said it would be "not likely but not impossible" for Mr Ross to hold on to his seat in Botany as an independent.

"Jami-Lee Ross is a good campaigner, and he has a good organisation in that electorate. Whether that local organisation has stuck with him throughout this bizarre episode, we’ll find out in the next few weeks."

Mr Williams said yesterday’s allegations "could well affect their polling", which has been "very stable since the election".

"The Labour Party vote did not twitch during the Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri episodes. This is on a different scale, however, and I think if the National Party party vote starts to go down in the polls, then that is a severe problem from Simon Bridges."

Former Labour Party president Mike Williams says the Jami-Lee Ross saga is a failure of leadership from Simon Bridges. Source: Breakfast

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Sir Peter Jackson meets Prince William at the red carpet premiere of They Shall Not Grow Old

Sir Peter Jackson has rubbed shoulders with Prince William on the red carpet for the Kiwi director's new film.

They Shall Not Grow Old documents WW1 using previously unseen footage which has been colourised and restored.

Much of the footage came from Britain's Imperial War Museum, and Sir Peter's army of technicians has used advanced digital technologies for the restoration.

The World War One documentary created with 100-year-old footage premieres in London next month. Source: 1 NEWS

The film has also been converted into a 3D format.

Alongside the film's cinema release, a copy of the film will be sent to each high school in the UK for teaching purposes.

Early reviews of the movie from the UK are favourable.

They Shall Not Grow Old documents the first world war using previously unseen colour footage. Source: Breakfast

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Paula Bennett stands by claim Ross acted inappropriately for a married man, during tense interview with Jack Tame

National Deputy leader Paula Bennett stands by saying Jami-Lee Ross acted inappropriately for a married man but denies accusing him of sexual harassment.

Yesterday, as part of the extraordinary hour long stand-up in which he levelled a number of allegations at Simon Bridges and the National party, Mr Ross accused Ms Bennett of trying to scare him off with anonymous sexual harassment allegations.

The Botany MP has been expelled from caucus, while he alleges Simon Bridges committed electoral fraud – which Mr Bridges denies. Source: Seven Sharp

Ms Bennett defended herself today, saying Mr Ross has mischaracterised a meeting they had.

Mr Ross made a number of claims about the National Party leader in relation to donations. Mr Bridges has denied any wrongdoing. Source: 1 NEWS

“Well he came out yesterday and he said we’d made claims to him of sexual harassment and he likened himself to (US Supreme Court Justice) Brett Kavanaugh, which I found extraordinary in itself,” Ms Bennett said.

The National Party leader today made a statement defending his position and welcoming a police inquiry into claims of electoral donation fraud. Source: 1 NEWS

“So, he has characterised a meeting that I had with him quite incorrectly so all I was saying is that I had put inappropriate behaviour to him.”

READ MORE: John Armstrong's opinion: Jami-Lee Ross delivered one of parliament's most 'brutal, spiteful and disloyal diatribes'

Ms Bennett said she stood by telling media Mr Ross had acted inappropriately for a married MP.

“I wanted to make it very clear that it was not around sexual harassment.”

READ MORE: It's 'a crisis' for National as Jami-Lee Ross launches 'the most extraordinary attack' on Simon Bridges, says Bryce Edwards

READ MORE: Simon Bridges on caucus support: '55 MPs today say he [Jami-Lee Ross] is wrong'

Ms Bennett would not be drawn into specifics on the $100,000 donation from a Chinese businessman that Mr Ross accused Mr Bridges of asking him to split, claims Mr Bridges rejects.

“Jami-Lee Ross as he said himself, went and took the donation, so we’re trying to see what he’s actually done with it,” she said.

“The web that he’s woven does seem quite complex so we’re trying to work our way through that to see what he’s done with it.”

“I’m really reluctant to try and guess what’s happened and get it wrong for you, what I do know is that Simon Bridges has not taken that money and split it up and put in a false return.”

She echoed the views of the National party leader yesterday, saying Mr Ross should take his accusations to the police.

"He said 'he's going to go to the police', let's go to the police, let's get into the nuts and bolts of it," Ms Bennett said. 

"We’re very confident we’re going to come out of this alright." 

"Simon is adamant he has done nothing wrong, I believe him, I do not believe Jami-Lee Ross, he has told so many lies, he doesn’t know what the truth is anymore."

"I stand by leader, I believe him, he’s done nothing wrong."

National Deputy leader Paula Bennett stands by her claims about the outgoing National MP, but denies accusing him of sexual assault. Source: Breakfast


National MP Jami-Lee Ross' allegations raises questions about leader Simon Bridges' leadership, says 1 NEWS political editor

National Party leader Simon Bridges' leadership may be in question as outgoing National MP Jami-Lee Ross is expected to take recorded conversations to police today, which Mr Ross says proves he broke electoral law.

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay told TVNZ's Breakfast this morning about the outgoing MP's explosive allegations against Simon Bridges and how it could threaten his leadership.

Read more: John Armstrong's opinion: Jami-Lee Ross delivered one of parliament's most 'brutal, spiteful and disloyal diatribes', and given Simon Bridges a major headache

"It really depends how this plays out today with this police investigation," Mutch McKay said.

"I think it's fair to say that there are questions about how secure and how sure his leadership is."

She said Mr Bridges is "very keen to paint the picture that it is a 'lone wolf' - that he is acting alone".

"Jami-Lee Ross says that's not the case, that there are other people in the party who feel the same way as he did and they're just too nervous to speak up.

"Don't forget – this is his right-hand man. They were close friends, they were allies, he helped elect him into power, so to have someone like that turn, that's not a good thing in the party."

Mr Ross says the recording will be made public after he has gone to the police.

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay spoke to Breakfast this morning about the explosive allegations and its threat to Mr Bridges’ leadership. Source: Breakfast