PM's answers over Clare Curran resignation 'incredibly misleading' – Simon Bridges

The Opposition today labelled the Prime Minister "incredibly misleading" for not disclosing Clare Curran's Ministerial resignation during an interview on Friday morning. 

However, Jacinda Ardern contested that it was "only right" that time be given for an MP to inform family and staff, before news of the resignation goes out to the public. 

Simon Bridges asked today in Question Time if Ms Ardern was "satisfied with the answer she gave" during the interview on Newztalk ZB. 

Ms Ardern replied: "The question I was asked, 'Are you considering cutting ties with her or firing her?', I was not firing her, I did not fire her, the Minister made a decision to resign from her portfolio."

It was announced Ms Curran was resigning at midday on Friday. 

"Whilst that answer may be technically true, it's incredibly misleading," Mr Bridges said. 

Ms Ardern said if he was suggesting she cancel all interviews,"I don't think that's possible". 

"The Minister formally resigned at the time that I received her formal resignation," she said.

"Before a Minister resigns from their portfolio, of course they may choose to want to inform their family, to inform their staff. It's only right that we allow a member to undertake those things before it is publicly conveyed."

Mr Bridges then asked her, why she did not "just show some leadership and sack Clare Curran?"

"I removed her from Cabinet over the errors that she made. The decision to resign was hers," Ms Ardern said. 

Air New Zealand to ditch Vietnam flights next year

Air New Zealand will stop flying to Vietnam from next year.

The airline said that over the past year, due to engine problems, it has consistently had nearly half of its fleet of 13 787 Dreamliners grounded while their engines are serviced in Singapore.

As a result, Air New Zealand has leased three aircraft, but to prevent further disruptions it will stop flying to Vietnam next year, suspend services to Haneda in Tokyo, and reduce the frequency of flights to Argentina and Taipei.

Chief executive Christopher Luxon said he will meet Rolls-Royce management in London next month to seek reassurances the engines will be fixed soon.

Air New Zealand Dreamliner. Source: 1 NEWS


Carterton school mystery: Police say likely no plane involved in incident that left children hospitalised

Police say a plane was likely not involved in the incident at a Carterton school that saw 10 primary school children taken to Wairarapa Hospital after falling ill yesterday.

Emergency services were called to South End School yesterday afternoon after reports of an unpleasant smell.

Paramedics treated 40 other people - children and adults - with minor symptoms and over 100 people had to go through a decontamination process.

Police searched the school grounds this morning but were unable to find the source of the smell, Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said.

"Witnesses have described seeing a grey and white or red and white plane, possibly a Cessna, flying near the school between 1.30 and 2.30pm yesterday," Inspector Miller said.

After tracking down the plane and its pilot, Inspector Miller says there is no evidence to indicate the plane is the source of the smell.

"The initial call said a student saw a plane fly over the school and drop a white substance, after speaking to adults they confirmed that nothing came from the plane."

Inspector Miller says after speaking with residents it appears the substance came from the road and wafted over the school.

He says it's still a "mystery" and investigations are ongoing, including looking at local factories.

There are no ongoing effects for the children who became ill and the school will be open on Monday with a police presence.

The mystery substance which caused the illness is yet to be identified. Source: 1 NEWS



Obama in Pennsylvania, hoping to boost Democrats

Former US President Barack Obama turned his political attention to Pennsylvania today, a state Donald Trump won in 2016.

Obama campaigned in Philadelphia with two leading Democrats running for re-election, Governor Tom Wolf and US Senator Bob Casey.

At a campaign rally at the Dell Music Centre in Philadelphia, Obama implored Pennsylvanians to vote in November because the election was more consequential than any he could remember.

During the speech, Obama made no mention of his successor in the White House by name, but urged voters of all parties - not just Democrats - to vote to restore honesty, decency and lawfulness to government.

In the November 6 contests, Democrats are trying to oust Republicans in four U.S. House districts and more than a dozen state legislative seats in the Philadelphia area alone.

Obama twice carried Pennsylvania in his presidential races, and Democrats hope the state can help them retake control of Congress from the GOP.

Democrats in other states where Obama has campaigned recently say his stops have drawn big crowds, giving the party a chance to organise, update voter contact lists, motivate new donors and boost volunteerism.

Obama planned a fundraiser after the Philadelphia rally.

Donald Trump won the state in the 2016 election. Source: Associated Press


Jacinda Ardern says parts of employment bill still under discussion

Labour and New Zealand First are working on some changes to the government's employment law legislation, the Prime Minister says.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill which is before Parliament scraps the 90-day trial period for businesses with 20 or more employees and carries a raft of union-friendly changes including collective agreement bargaining and greater union access to workplaces.

New Zealand First minister Shane Jones said provincial employers and regional leaders had expressed some concerns about the bill.

Jacinda Ardern said there were still some parts of the bill that were being discussed between the parties.

But she told TV3's Newshub Nation she was confident the bill would still achieve the goal of improving employment law.

"As even the Deputy Prime Minister himself has said, 'this bill will pass', we're working on some details collectively.

"I'll keep my confidence around those negotiations, as I do with all of our negotiations, but we are the Labour Party, issues of employment legislation of course are critical to us, but I'd say actually they are to New Zealand First as well."

The details of the changes would be released soon, and people would be able to see that the balance of employment relations would be improved, Ms Ardern said.

It comes after the MP was accused of assaulting a staff member in Gisborne.
Source: 1 NEWS