Live stream: Budget 2018 Special – The 1 NEWS political team break down Grant Robertson's first Budget

Watch live as our experts analyse the Labour-led Government's first Budget. Source: TVNZ



NZTA failure to properly check companies that certify vehicles sparks urgent review

The public has been put in harm's way because the New Zealand Transport Agency has failed to properly monitor safety checks.  

An urgent investigation is underway into 150 cases. But it's not clear how many dangerous vehicles could be on the road, among them, heavy vehicles.

Heavy vehicles around the country have safety checks, but the NZTA hasn't properly policed those that do the checking. 

And it's now likely there are unsafe vehicles on the road as a result. 

"I have expressed my extreme disappointment that the agency has not carried out its regulatory role to the standards that I expect," Transport Minister Phil Twyford said.

NZTA chairman Michael Stiassny said the agency, "cannot say that anyone is proud of where the agency has been or where the safety is". 

In some cases the agency let certifying companies police themselves, in others it simply ignored files.  

Now 850 compliance files are being reviewed by a law firm, and 152 of those will be urgently reviewed because there's a threat to public safety.

"Sadly this has been going on for a considerable period of time," Mr Stiassny said. 

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said the forum has "been very critical of NZTA and not functioning as a regulator in the vehicle compliance, but particularly the heavy vehicle fleet". 

NZTA says at this stage there's no evidence to suggest incompetence has resulted in accidents that have caused serious injury.  But it will have more of an idea in November when the results of the 152 urgent cases are reported back. 

The Transport Minister is blaming under-resourcing by the previous government.  

"The loss of personnel in 2014 for heavy vehicle certification inspections I think is an example of that," Mr Twyford said.

National's Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said, "Actually what this is about is him talking about underfunding in order to justify his road taxes that he keeps on piling on". 

The law firm carrying out the investigation will continue keeping a close eye on the Transport Agency, with a lawyer now based at its headquarters.

An investigation is underway but it’s not clear how many dangerous vehicles could be on the road. Source: 1 NEWS


Man dies after vehicle hits power pole, closing SH2 at Matata in Bay of Plenty

A man has died following after a vehicle hit a power pole at Matata in the Bay of Plenty late this afternoon, closing State Highway Two in the area.

The crash was reported to emergency services at 4.24pm and police say it involved a vehicle hitting powerlines.

Matata Road, part of SH2, remains closed between Manawahe Road and Flax Road. 

Diversions are in place and motorists are being asked to avoid the area.

Police say the Serious Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances of the crash.

Police car Source: 1 NEWS


'Impossible' for Jami-Lee Ross to stay in National Party after expenses leak saga, says 1 NEWS political editor

It's impossible for Jami-Lee Ross to stay on in the National Party after an investigation found "the evidence we have points to" Mr Ross as the leaker of leader Simon Bridges' travel expenses, says 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay.

Mr Bridges today told a news conference, "The evidence establishes that Jami-Lee Ross was the person who leaked the expenses and the sender of the text message." 

In a bid to trump his leader, six minutes before Mr Bridges was set to make the announcement, Mr Ross took to Twitter.

"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 unlikeable in the public's eyes," Mr Ross wrote."

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay says it's "impossible" for Mr Ross to stay on in the party.

"And now we've got a long drawn out, and embarrassing process for Simon Bridges to try to get rid of him," she said.

Mutch McKay says it raises questions about "the dynamics inside the National Party" and about "whether Simon Bridges' leadership is really so secure". 

"Typically these kind of leaks come from opposing political parties. This has come form one of his own - a former close ally," Our political editor said. 

Now National's caucus will decide Mr Ross' fate when it meets at Parliament tomorrow. 

"Suspension is definitely on the cards tomorrow," Mr Bridges said. 

It's then up to the party to expel Mr Ross, who's still the MP for Botany. 

He can put up a fight and stay on as an independent MP, or resign from Parliament and force a messy by-election.

Jessica Mutch McKay says Simon Bridges faces a "long, drawn out and embarrassing process to try and get rid of him". Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern criticises minimum spend discounts by fuel retailers

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called discounting by fuel retailers requiring a minimum spend as having a "disproportionate effect" on those unable to afford to pay high amounts at the pump. 

"There is an increasing use of discounting by fuel retailers, yet some of them require a minimum spend," Ms Ardern said at her weekly post-Cabinet press conference, when asked about the high price for fuel. 

"There will be a group of consumers who will not reach that minimum spend because of the restrictions on their income.

"There are a lot of tools and devices used in marketing that will be having a disproportionate effect on consumers."

Ms Ardern said she would be "very interested" to see the role minimum spend discounts were having on fuel prices, and she hoped a market study would look into it.  

It comes as the Prime Minister faces pressure over fuel taxes, as prices reach record highs around the country. 

She says it could have a "disproportionate effect" on those unable to afford to spend a high amount at the pump. Source: 1 NEWS