Teachers, nurses look set to be big winners from coalition Government's first budget

Teachers and nurses look set to be winners from the coalition Government's first budget in May.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged on TVNZ 1's Q+A today both groups missed out on a "dividend" from strong growth in the economy in recent years. 

New Zealand's economy has been growing for nearly 10 years straight, but the Finance Minister says workers haven't reaped the rewards. 

"It is time for New Zealand wage and salary earners to see a better dividend from growth," Mr Robertson said. 

One way Mr Robertson can do that is by lifting the pay of thousands of nurses and teachers. Both groups are in pay negotiations with the Government.

"Those groups of professionals probably haven't seen the benefit they should've in recent years," Mr Robertson said.

Join Q+A's Corin Dann for questions around spending demands for Grant Robertson. Source: Q+A

Asked are those groups in line for a "reasonable bump" in pay he said, "Yeah, look, they are in line for a negotiation with us. You know, when people start throwing figures like 16 per cent around, you've got to be pretty careful with a number like that." 

While the minimum wage is being increased, Mr Robertson accepts his ability to boost wages across the private sector is limited.   

"In the end it's the overall growth of the productivity of economy that will flow through to people in the private sector getting bigger wages." 

Following the interview with the Finance Minister, Fran O'Sullivan, NZME Head Of Business commented: "I didn't hear anything there that actually gave me confidence in productivity gains, apart from sloganeering."

When it comes to this year's Budget, money will be tight. Teachers and nurses pay demands alone will cost hundreds of millions dollars. 

So it's not surprising Mr Robertson wouldn't commit today on National's $20 billion pledge to upgrade the New Zealand Defence Force. 

"I don't think it's responsible at the moment to commit to any number until we're completely clear about the way that we go about our procurement," he said. 

But balancing the books is not his sole mission.  He also wants a focus on "well-being" rather than just economic activity or GDP.    

"What matters, I think, to New Zealanders is that their environment's clean, that the water's clean, that actually people in their communities are feeling safe," Mr Robertson said. 

Ms O'Sullivan said: "Really, without hard nose policies about expenditure, about micro reform that actually does deliver on productivity it's going to be difficult to see how the Government can tend to what on the surface is some fairly fluffy stuff."

Grant Robertson talks social dividends, are pay rises on the cards for teachers? Source: Q+A

Grant Robertson will deliver his first Budget on May 17. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged on Q+A today both groups missed out on a "dividend". Source: 1 NEWS



'My god she can run' - woman at centre of hilarious Kawakawa dog escape video says Lily is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp

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Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp

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Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp


Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS