TODAY |

Simon Bridges accuses Jacinda Ardern of failing to meet Government's 'high bar' of taxpayer spending over Chatham Islands trip

Simon Bridges has accused Jacinda Ardern of failing to meet the self-imposed "high bar" set by her Government when it comes to spending taxpayers money after a trip saw eight ministers sent to the Chatham Islands for the opening of a new wharf last week.

The feisty exchange opened Parliament's Question Time today, with the National Leader attempting to put the Prime Minister on the back foot over the issue.

"Does she stand by her statement that "we have set a high bar when it comes to spending taxpayers money" and if so does the fact that eight ministers flew to the Chatham's to open a wharf last week meet that bar?" Mr Bridges asked.

Ms Ardern was steadfast in her defence of the trip, saying it gave the ministers attending a chance to perform other duties on the islands.

"The honourable Chris Finlayson would be very disappointed to see you relegating the importance of the Chatham Islands.

"It makes more sense for a group of ministers to undertake work at the same time each of them undertook their own work while they were there for the opening of the wharf so it was a productive day for each of them," she countered.

The National leader then delivered a zinger which had his side of the House in an uproar.

"Can she confirm that all eight ministers voted against the new wharf when national put aside funding for it in the budget last year?" Mr Bridges said.

We head to the Chatham Islands with what feels like half of the Government to open a new dock. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister was quick to reply with a quip of her own: "I think you will find they voted against giving $400 million to the top ten per cent of earners and would stand by that."

The $50 million Chatham Islands wharf is hoping to give the local economy a significant boost.

The Government sent eight ministers to the opening of a new wharf in the Chatham Islands last week. Source: 1 NEWS