Most watched video: 'That's not a very good question!' Winston Peters' wisecrack at National leaves Paula Bennett unimpressed

Note: This story was first published on Tuesday May 15

Winston Peters may have amused Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard when he made a wisecrack about the opposition in Question Time today, but the National Party's leaders seemed less than impressed.

The Deputy Prime Minister rose to his feet to interject during a debate between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Simon Bridges.

"Does the Prime Minister accept though that there may be a cause for downwards wage adjustment for poor professional performance such as is coming from the opposition at the present time," Mr Peters said, just hiding a wry smile.

The comment led to laughs from his side of the House before the Speaker chimed in.

"No. no, it's a very good question but it's not within the Prime Minister's responsibility," Mr Mallard said, which led to a cry of dissent from National's Paula Bennett.

"That's not a very good question!" Ms Bennett replied.

Question Time continued after the brief pause.

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Porirua residents say Government missed chance to end predatory loan shark industry

Porirua residents falling into a spiral of debt are calling out on the Government to end predatory lenders once and for all.

The Government has announced a crackdown on lenders, with plans to cap chargeable interest and fees on high-cost loans, tougher penalties for rule breakers and requiring lenders to pass a "fit and proper" person test.

The Commerce Commission said it has received 93 complaints against high-cost, short-term lenders in the past two financial years.

But it said the number of complaints did not show the extent of the problem.

The commission said the loans were available online or by text and it continued to see companies lending to people who could not possibly pay back the money.

It said it continued to see lenders failing to comply with responsible lending principles, putting many borrowers at risk of hardship.

The commission said a number of investigations were underway.

Nearly 40 per cent of the city's population are considered to live socio-economic deprivation, according to the last census.

Truck shops are a familiar sight in Porirua, north of Wellington, with several finance companies all within a few minutes walking distance of each other.

One Porirua woman in debt, who didn't want to be named, said she got trapped into a vicious cycle of debt despite having a job as well as her partner.

"I had to move for starters, you know, then other things happened, rent went up and so me and [my partner] had to move back home, to the parents and stuff like that, so just trying to live day by day."

She said getting a loan was the only way out they could see.

"And it's not like we spend our money on rubbish or anything like that. It's just getting from here to home, to contribute to home, school for kids... I can't say at the top of my head - maybe $10k in interest."

The woman said the government's move was overdue and did not go far enough.

"Shut down these bloody loan companies. I mean how easy is it? They say to you within 60 seconds you loan can be approved. Of course somebody's going to go for that if they need the money," she said.

"Shut them down, I don't think they need to be there."

Another Porirua woman said it was unacceptable people had to go to these companies just to make ends meet, but many did not have a choice.

"This is the only place they can go [to] for most of our families and being low-income, beneficiaries. I mean because they can't go to the banks - cause of credit, bad credit," she said.

"A lot of families would like to provide for their children you know like trips, school trips, camps, clothing, toys, outings."

Pakuranga and Howick Budgeting Service budget advisor Adrienne Gallie said there was also money lending happening from high-cost lenders for food.

Predatory lenders have long been overlooked and the Government's planned crack down did not go far enough, she said.

"I'm appalled by it and that's why i was really hoping that the Government would use this opportunity to do massive robust, bold reform and actually close down the pay lending industry," she said.

"I don't think we need it in New Zealand, and it's a bit of a indictment if they're saying people need it for cashflow."

One of Ms Gallie's clients, a solo mother-of-two originally from the Philippines, works two jobs to keep on top of her rent and debt.

The client said she ended up owing $30,000 through loans her husband took out to buy a television and a bed.

They're no longer together but she said she was still paying the debt back at $200 a week.

"It's hard and of course I'm not used to having debt since I was born, but then when I come here I get heaps of debt and I don't have my family here so it's very difficult."

However, Minister of Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi yesterday told Morning Report that enforcing a limit on how much people could borrow was not necessary.

"I think that's going a step too far," he said. "We've got to put in some measures that across the board protect these vulnerable consumers and making sure that we can cap it at a decent amount to make sure that it doesn't spiral out of control is what we've seen fit to do."

Mr Faafoi said about 200,000 people borrow from high-cost credit lenders each year.

About one in eight default and spiral into debt, he said.

"I would like to see that number reduce significantly when these changes come into force," Mr Faafoi said.

The new restrictions follow a review of changes made to the Credit, Contracts and Consumer Finance Act in 2015, which the government said did not go far enough.

- Katie Gudsell

Rnz.co.nz

The Government is cracking down on loan sharks and truck shops who sometimes prey on financially-vulnerable people. Source: 1 NEWS

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NZ shares face hefty losses as US stock market drops further

New Zealand shares are facing a second day of hefty losses after the Wall Street dropped again overnight.

Despite the drop, Wall Street losses have been less severe than the brutal sell-off in the previous session.

The New Zealand benchmark top-50 index has fallen 82 points or nearly 1 per cent in early trading.

The fall follows a second day of losses on Wall Street, when US share markets suffered their sharpest one day fall in months on Wednesday. The New Zealand stock exchange followed the US and Asian markets down, with the NZX Top 50 last night closing 3.6 per cent lower - its fifth largest loss.

The US stock market is reacting to the impact of trade tensions on corporate profits, Treasury yields at multi-year highs and, more recently, Hurricane Michael making landfall in Florida.

Energy and health stocks led the decline of nine of the S&P major sectors, while technology companies managed to post slight gains.

While stocks had coped well with rising trade tensions between the US and China over the past few months, the sharp rise in bond yields earlier this month, accompanied by hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials, proved to be a tipping point that triggered the sell-off on Wall Street.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Still, the high-growth technology sector was up 0.4 percent, coming off a 4.8 percent slide on Wednesday. Gains were led by Microsoft, up 1.9 percent.

"The growth stocks, which are the path leaders, typically bounce from the bottom first," said Tom Plumb, portfolio manager of the Plumb Balanced Fund in Wisconsin.

Energy stocks fell 1.77 per cent as oil prices hit two-week lows after an industry report showed U.S. crude inventories rose more than expected.

Foreign exchange specialist Derek Rankin told Morning Report it was possible traders were taking profits early amid uncertainty ahead of the US mid-term elections in three weeks.

Rnz.co.nz

Stock market board

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Heavy snow set to hit parts of South Island, severe winds forecast for central New Zealand

A cold southerly flow is hitting Canterbury and Marlborough with heavy snow warnings in place, with powerful winds set to hit Wellington, Wairarapa and Auckland today.

MetService says a trough of low pressure in moving east across central and northern New Zealand, spreading a strong cold southerly flow across the country.

Snow is expected to low levels over many parts of central and southern New Zealand, and severe gale southerlies for parts of central New Zealand.

In Marlborough, the snow is expected to accumulate above 500 metres, with lesser amounts down to about 300 metres. The snow is likely to ease gradually through the day.

Strong wind gusts are expected to arrive in Taranaki around 5:00pm and last until tomorrow afternoon.

While in the Kaikoura Coast, Marlborough Sounds and Wellington severe southerly gales are forecast until 11:00pm today.

Periods of rain and showers are expected in Auckland today and tomorrow. The winds are expected to turn strong southerly early tomorrow, then ease out in the evening, and gradually dye out on Sunday.

Snow (file picture).
Source: istock.com


Fatal crash on State Highway One, near Puhoi north of Auckland, blocks road

State Highway One near Puhoi, north of Auckland, is blocked after a fatal crash involving a truck and a car.

Emergency services were called to the crash involving one truck and two vehicles at approximately 10.06am this morning near Mahurangi West Road.

Police say one person has died at the scene and three other people have been injured, two seriously.

State Highway One is completely blocked and diversions are being put in place at Warkworth and Silverdale.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible or to use State Highway 16.


Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS