Watch: Glowing Jacinda Ardern appreciative of Kiwis' 'kind' well wishes during pregnancy 'regardless' of their politics

The Prime Minister has described the support she has received from New Zealanders during her pregnancy as being "kind" and "generous", regardless of their political views. 

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Speaking today from Mystery Creek's Fieldays event, Jacinda Ardern said she had been given "not nearly as much advice as people think I would get", describing herself as "just as another human being going into a new stage of life". 

Just three days away from her June 17 due date, Ms Ardern was asked how people responded throughout her pregnancy.

"New Zealanders are incredibly generous people and have been generous in their support of me, regardless of the politics," Ms Ardern said.

"Mostly it's just wishing me good luck, Kiwis aren't really inclined to share a judgment on it, they just wish you well. Which is wonderful."

"I've got a strong sense New Zealanders just see this as a life event, not something that is going to particularly affect my job, and therefore have just been wishing me well, which is really kind."

Ms Ardern said she had been lucky in being able to work through her pregnancy, "a lot of people have their niggles along the way". 

She was asked if she had experienced pain in the pregnancy, to which she answered, "Yes. There's no doubt you get to a certain size and things start getting a little less comfortable. I think most women have experienced that."


The Prime Minister says many New Zealanders have wished her well. Source: 1 NEWS



Whitehouse spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders rumoured to be stepping down

Reports given to CBS News say Whitehouse spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders press secretary Raj Shah will soon leave their roles.

CBS cites unnamed sources "close to the administration" who say Huckabee-Sanders has told friends she will leave at the end of the year.

Neither Shah or Huckabee-Sanders have responded to CBS requests for comment.

The pair would be the latest in a growing list of Whitehouse staffers who have left their positions while serving under the Donald Trump government.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.
Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. Source: Associated Press

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Defence has spent $360m on ageing aircraft fleet in 10 years

Ageing Hercules and Orion Air Force planes are proving costly for the Defence Force.

The Defence Force has spent around $360 million on maintenance and repairs over the past 10 years, twice as much as in the previous decade, official figures show.

In 2008, keeping the planes fit for purpose cost about $24m. Two years ago the cost spiked over $50m, and this year the bill is more than $43m.

Defence bought its five Hercules and six Orions in the 1960s and all are coming to the end of their operational lives.

Official documents show the Orions had five engine failures over 15 days last year because of propeller malfunctions.

The Hercules also had propeller leaks and faulty oil gauges.

Replacing the aircraft would be costly and Defence Minister Ron Mark has accused the previous government of putting off the decision.

David Capie from the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University said successive governments had known that the capabilities needed to be replaced and updated.

"But the replacements are all so expensive - an eye watering amount of money - so I think there has been a tendency to think that this is a can that can be kicked down the road," he said.

Documents released under the Official Information Act documents reinforce the risk of keeping the old fleet.

The papers said: "The operation of aircraft that are in excess of 50 years old will result in an increase in unexpected maintenance action. This comes at an increasing cost to support through obsolescence and increased risk to mission success."

National had promised a $20 billion upgrade of the armed forces - but when Mr Mark took charge of the Defence portfolio last year he said there was no hard cash to back that up.

Mr Mark has criticised National for the failure to get new equipment, but National's defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell said the moves were under way to replace the old Orions with with Boeing P8 Poseidon aircraft when his party was in power.

"The fact of the matter is as the minister I already had the process well underway in terms of the procurement on the P8s.

"It's actually this government and this minister that's kicking the can down the road.

"They should have made a decision at least by April or May this year," he said.

He said Mr Mark had put on the brakes by launching a number of reviews.

David Capie said Defence was a portfolio that was highly political and not necessarily a vote winner.

"Most New Zealand political parties probably calculate there's not a lot of votes in the lead-up to elections that can be made in the defence sector but at some point there needs to be some hard decisions made about replacing and investing in these capabilities."

Mr Mark said he would have to make a decision before the end of July whether to replace the Orions with the Boeing P8 Poseidon.

In the meantime, he said officials had reassured him the old planes were safe to fly.

-By Jonathan Mitchell

Orion plane.
Orion plane (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS