Neglecting child poverty is 'not who we are as a nation'

The Children's Commissioner is urging the Government to put a plan in place to deal with poverty. Source: 1 NEWS

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Simon Bridges defends previous National government’s record on fuel taxes - 'We wouldn’t have put it on at the current time'

Simon Bridges has defended the previous National government’s record on fuel excise taxes, saying prices – in terms of tax – increased less in nine years under National than it had in this term.

Mr Bridges did not argue that National introduced six excise taxes on fuel between 2008 and 2017, raising the price 17 cents.

"Here’s the deal, we did that (the six excise taxes) over nine years, in Auckland in the last year, fuel prices, in terms of the tax, have gone up over 20 cents in this term."

"It’s much faster, much more radical, the problem the government’s got which they should have seen coming is that it is at a time where oil prices are going up significantly, the dollar is going down, that’s really hurting Kiwis and that’s why they should get rid of these new taxes."

He said a National government would not have put on an excise tax in the current climate.

"In relation to the excise tax you said they’d put up 3.5 per cent. I was really clear, we wouldn’t have put it on at the current time."

Mr Bridges said National would also get rid of the regional fuel tax.

"I’ve always said on the regional fuel tax, we wouldn’t have imposed it and we would get rid of it – no ifs, no buts."

The Opposition leader said fuel prices – in terms of tax – increased less under the nine years of the previous National government than it had in this term. Source: Breakfast

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Government's new $10.5m teacher recruitment boost 'probably isn't enough' to avert strike, union leader says

The Government announced yesterday that it will spend an additional $10.5 million to recruit 850 additional teachers for next year - bringing the total cost of this year's recruitment drive to $40 million.

But is it enough to avert another nationwide teachers strike? New Zealand Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart told Breakfast this morning that she's not so sure.

"We're welcoming the fact that the Government is acknowledging that we are in a crisis, and that we do have an extensive teacher shortage," the union leader said. "But what we're also saying is that probably isn't enough...There's some significant work that still needs to be done."

In a secret ballot last month, primary school teachers resoundingly rejected a pay offer from the Government that would have seen a three per cent per year raise for most of them. The vote sent a clear message that the offer needed to also address the teacher shortage, Ms Stuart said at the time.

The PPTA announcement increases the pressure on the government and could inconvenience parents nationwide. Source: 1 NEWS

Teachers have left New Zealand to work overseas because of the conditions here, Ms Stuart said today.

"Yes, we need a significant pay jolt, and we acknowledge the Government has done some work towards that - not enough, as yet," she said. "But what is really concerning our membership is that nothing has been done around the workload issues that have been identified over a long period of time.

"Reducing class sizes, insuring that teachers get the support that they need for those children who have additional learning needs, insuring that they get the time that they need - non-contact time - to be able to really prepare and plan for those children, and to insure that we get the very, very best for each and every child in this country is what our teachers are crying out for.

"We know it costs money, but aren't our children in this country worth it? I believe so, and I think our public is saying that they believe so as well."

Education Minister Chris Hipkins sits down with Corin Dann to discuss pay and getting more teachers into our classrooms. Source: Q+A

The plan announced yesterday by Education Minister Chris Hipkins aims to recruit 650 extra primary teachers and 200 extra secondary teachers.

"We are determined to pull out all the stops to meet next year's projected shortfall," Mr Hipkins said.

The overseas recruitment target has also been increased for 2019 from 400 up to 900.

A new ballot will be distributed to teachers tomorrow, and they'll have until Oct 25 to vote on accepting or rejecting the latest Government offer.

"Our members will tell us what they think about that," Ms Stuart said today. "I wouldn't be surprised if they reject this, but we'll see."

NZ Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart tells Breakfast she’s sceptical the plan will avert another strike.

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Around 40 trucks rumble down Auckland motorway in fuel price protest

A transport company has sent 40 trucks down Auckland's Northern Motorway in a protest against the rising price of fuel.

The protest is being carried out by RNB Transport, to bring attention to fuel prices and road user charge increases. 

The heavy vehicles left Silverdale, north of Auckland, shortly after 7am, heading for the central city. 

The cost of fuel has become a hot topic in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the Government is taking steps to look into how and why petrol prices have risen so quickly, jumping by an average of 39 cents between the end of October last year and September 28 this year.

New Zealanders are paying more for petrol – and the PM feels their pain - she told media in Wellington today. Source: 1 NEWS

Petrol companies have denied the Prime Minister's claims that they are "fleecing" New Zealand motorists

Gull NZ general manager David Bodger says the oil industry takes a kicking from politicians from time to time and it's all part of the job. Source: 1 NEWS

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


Prince Harry and Meghan arrive in Australia, ahead of NZ visit

Australia is preparing to welcome Prince Harry and his new bride Meghan Markle just days after Princess Eugenie tied the knot in a lavish ceremony.

The royal couple touched down in Sydney this morning in a low-key arrival - with the first of their 76 engagements across Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand to begin tomorrow.

The pair are set to arrive in New Zealand on Sunday October 28.

Their four-day visit will include trips to Abel Tasman National Park for a tree planting; a gumboot-throwing competition in Auckland; a Kiwi hatchery in Rotorua, where they will name two chicks; a review of the newly unveiled UK War Memorial at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park; and a Wellington café where they will meet young people from a number of mental health projects.

It’s just over a month before the newlyweds touch down in Aotearoa. Source: Seven Sharp

But first comes Australia. Harry and Meghan, who became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the royal redhead in May, will visit Sydney, Dubbo, Melbourne and Queensland's Fraser Island as part of the couple's first major royal tour.

The tour coincides with the Invictus Games in Sydney, which runs from October 20-28. The sporting event founded by Prince Harry in 2014 gives sick and injured service personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

The couple will mark the games' launch and closing ceremony in Sydney.

Jacinda Ardern said they are still working through the details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trip. Source: 1 NEWS

Harry and Meghan's tour of Australia is seen as a key one for the royal couple who, during a TV interview to mark their engagement last November, spoke of their desire to promote humanitarian causes close to their hearts across Commonwealth member countries including Australia.

The visit comes six months after Prince Charles made his 16th official visit to Australia, primarily to open the 21st Commonwealth Games on Queensland's Gold Coast.

The royals touched down this morning in Sydney, part of their first tour as a married couple. Source: Associated Press