Watch: Simon Bridges says Government's plastic bag ban is a distraction and won't make any difference

Simon Bridges has called the Government's plastic bag ban a "distraction" and says it won't make any difference.

His comments came after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announced the move to phase out the bags over the next year, with a six month phase-out period proposed.

Speaking outside Massey University in Palmerston North today, the National Party leader gave his thoughts on the announcement.

"I don't think the plastic bag ban is going to make any difference, supermarkets and consumers were moving toward doing the right thing anyway.

"Ultimately, it's a big distraction from the issue the Prime Minister must be focusing on at the moment which is a business confidence crisis that will have a real impact on New Zealanders jobs and household spending," Mr Bridges said.

The Government's move comes after a petition with 65,000 signatures called for a ban on the single-use bags.

The Prime Minister made the announcement today in Auckland to phase out plastic bags over the next year. Source: 1 NEWS

The public are able to give their views on the change until September 14, which includes options when the complete phase-out date should be and retailers that should be exempt.  


Mr Bridges thinks that falling business confidence should be the Government's sole focus right now. Source: 1 NEWS

Wally Haumaha inquiry head announced, six-week probe to start August 20

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin has announced Mary Scholtens QC will lead a Government inquiry into the appointment process of Deputy Commissioner of Police Wally Haumaha, saying the inquiry will start the week after next and has a six-week timeframe.

Mr Haumaha's appointment has been under fire in light of comments he made defending police officers accused of rape in 2004. 

There've also been accusations of bullying behaviour on a project Mr Haumaha was involved with. 

Ms Martin announced this evening that the inquiry will start on August 20 and Ms Scholtens will be the single member involved.

The inquiry's purpose is to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment of Mr Haumaha.

Ms Martin said Mary Scholtens is a respected QC who has worked in public and administrative law for 36 years. 

She was Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office for 10 years and previously worked as a solicitor privately and in several government departments. 

Since 1996 she has practiced public law from the independent bar, and in 2002 was made Queen's Counsel.  

She has been involved in or carried out many inquiries including acting as Counsel Assisting the 2004 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. 

In 2003 she carried out a review of the operation of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 for the Minister of State Services.

Ms Martin said that at the conclusion of the inquiry, and in the event the inquiry finds deficiencies in the appointment process, the Prime Minister will seek advice from the Solicitor General or the State Services Commissioner on the appropriate next steps.  

Wally Haumaha. Source:



Should drug testing of beneficiaries be stopped after 'so few' fail?

This week on Inside Parliament, the 1 NEWS team discuss the interesting findings into beneficiary drug use.

Reporter Benedict Collins questioned the large amount of resources that go into testing people on the unemployment benefit, when "so few fail". 

Figures show that 47,115 beneficiaries were referred to jobs that required drug testing in the year to June and 170 of those failed the tests.

The fail statistic includes people who did not turn up to be tested.  

Watch the full episode of Inside Parliament:

A weekly podcast with 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch and political reporters Benedict Collins & Maiki Sherman. Source: 1 NEWS

Listen to the full podcast on SoundcloudiTunes and & Facebook.

Reporter Benedict Collins said the amount of resources going into drug testing people on the unemployment benefit was “pretty extraordinary”. Source: 1 NEWS