Surviving on benefits, young people leaving - Simon Bridges hears what worries Kiwis on his roadshow

National Party leader Simon Bridges has wrapped up his nationwide roadshow, saying he has heard many personal stories from New Zealanders on issues from trying to survive on benefits to worries about young people leaving the country.

Mr Bridges estimates at least 10,000 people have attended his public meetings from Gore to Kerikeri, with numbers ranging from about 100 in small towns to 500 in cities.

"We've had hard questions, easy questions on all the things you'd expect - health, education, law and order - but all your very personal stories," he told 1 NEWS in Tauranga today. 

"I remember a mum who couldn't get by on the benefits and also felt that she wasn't incentivised with her young children to get into work. And she wanted to see what we could do differently," he said. 

He had also heard from elderly people "who have real concerns for their children's future in New Zealand. worry about them leaving for overseas". 

"It's been really good for me, not just to listen, but also to get a real sense that we're on the right track in a bunch of areas, and the work we need to do to make it a competitive, exciting election where New Zealanders have a real choice in 2020."

Mr Bridges said he got a real and reassuring sense from New Zealanders "that we got things right in National in the economy, we were strong on that, we managed it well with their help as New Zealanders". 

"But there's also other areas where they want to see us maintain relevance, they want us to recalibrate and modernise. 

"And so we're in a process right now of making sure we listen this year. But then we get out and discuss our ideas, we put some things on the table next year so New Zealanders have really concrete proposals and plans before them in 2020, they've got a real choice at that election."

The National Party leader says about 10,000 people have attended his nationwide public meetings which wrapped up in Tauranga. Source: 1 NEWS



Batten the hatches: Wet and windy weather on the way

Wind and windy weather is on the way.

Winds of up to 130 kilometres an hour are forecast in Canterbury, Southland, Clutha and Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa.

Heavy rain warnings in place for Fiordland are predicting flooding and slips.

MetService meteorologist April Clark said the South Island would bear the brunt of the bad weather today but it would move further north overnight.

"We have a front that is expected to move over the South Island today and onto the lower North Island overnight in to places like Taranaki tonight and then over the rest of the North Island tomorrow morning and moving off the most eastern areas like Bay of Plenty and Gisborne a bit later on Sunday."

The front bringing heavy rain and strong winds would be followed by more showers with possible thunderstorms and hail.

"People need to keep updated, even though that persistent rain eases off, if you're on the West Coast you could be getting heavy thunderstorms and showers as well."

Heavy snow is expected down to 600 metres for Central Otago, Southland and Clutha on Sunday.

Snow warnings are in place for Arthur's Pass, Lindis Pass, Milford Road, Crown Range Road and Lewis Pass.

Check the forecast for your area on our weather page.

Gusts of up to 130km/h are forecast in the worst affected areas. Source: Twitter / MetService

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Two men arrested in homicide investigation into McLaren Falls death of 'well-loved father'

Two men were last night arrested by Waikato Police in relation to the death of a Ngaruawahia man whose body was found in McLaren Falls last week.

Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found in the water at McLaren Falls, near Tauranga, on July 13.

A 36-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening in Paeroa and is due to appear in the Hamilton District Court on Monday 23 July on charges of murder and kidnapping, police said today in a statement.

Another 27-year-old man has also been arrested and charged with being an accessory after the fact.

He is due to appear in Hamilton District Court on July 31.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said the enquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death continues. 

Mr Paterson's dead is one of three recent homicide investigations that fall within the Waikato region.

Anyone with further information can contact Hamilton Police on (07) 856 6200.

A statement from Mr Paterson's family has also been released by police today, printed in full below:

"Mitchell had a heart of gold. He was a hard-working and a well-loved father, son, grandson, nephew, cousin and dear friend. He will be sadly missed by his family.

"We are extremely grateful and appreciate the Police investigation team working quickly to identify and hold people to account for Mitchell’s death.

Superintendent Bruce Bird says at this stage police are treating the three murders since June 30 as separate investigations. Source: Breakfast

"We ask that the public and media please respect our privacy at this difficult time so we can process our loss and grieve as a family for Mitchell."

Three violent deaths in Waikato linked to gang crime, police say public not at risk. Source: 1 NEWS