Simon Bridges says left has attacked free speech after Don Brash shut out of Massey University

Simon Bridges says the left has attacked free speech after Dr Don Brash had a speech cancelled at Palmerston North's Massey University.

Mr Bridges was himself addressing students at Massey University in Palmerston North about the controversy today.

"We have seen a real attack on free speech from some on the left recently, first on some Canadian speakers and now on Don Brash," he told reporters outside the university.

The National Party leader hoped that the Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas would reconsider her decision to stop Dr Brash speaking there.

"Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas has got this badly wrong and she needs to rethink her decision and ask Don Brash to come and speak here."

He also had a message for the Government on the issue.

"The Government needs to have a real position on this, they can't cop out and sit on the sidelines, they fund the universities of New Zealand and should be standing up for free speech as well," Mr Bridges said.

Dr Brash, a former National leader and Reserve Bank governor, was due to speak to the university's Politics Society in Palmerston North two days ago, but Ms Thomas cancelled the event citing safety concerns.

Ms Thomas said the decision came at a time of heightened tension over free speech and hate speech prompted by the visit of Canadian alt-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux to New Zealand.

Brash said their actions just helped to prove his case. Source: 1 NEWS

Last night protesters attempted to shout down Dr Brash while he spoke at a free speech debate at Auckland University.

Mr Bridges was addressing students at Massey University in Palmerston North about the controversy today. Source: 1 NEWS


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.


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

Person still on the run following gang-related death in Canterbury over the weekend

At least one person is still on the run after a man was shot dead in rural Canterbury over the weekend, according to police.

The 28-year-old's body was found on the side of the road near Charing Cross at about 3.30pm on Saturday, and police said a firearm was involved.

They haven't confirmed the man was a gang member but said his death is gang related. For that reason, a heavy police presence remains at the scene more than a day later.

Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell spoke to media in Christchurch Police Station today. Source: 1 NEWS

Members of the public witnessed the incident and were part of the first response team, Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell said in a press conference yesterday.

"As you can well imagine (it was) a traumatic event for them," he said.

Several cars have been seized and are currently under guard while inquiries continue.

"A number of forensic scene examinations are underway in Grange Road and Telegraph Road," Mr Parnell said yesterday, explaining that they are likely to continue this week.

One person has died in the rural area of Selwyn this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

Police said the person or people at large do not pose a risk to the public.