Watch: 'Still brings me to tears' - Emotional Minister David Parker close to crying as he recalls story of homeless 11-year-old girl during poverty speech today

Economic Development Minister David Parker became emotional when remembering the plight of an 11-year-old girl whose family was living in her car last year outside a marae.

Mr Parker was delivering a post-Budget speech when he told the audience about an interview conducted by John Campbell of Radio New Zealand last year.

The interview focused on T.A, an 11-year-old girl whose family could not afford proper housing and had been taken in by Te Puea Marae.

"The hardest part is actually not being able to read in the van, because you don't have space. They're all up in your face," she told RNZ.

"And there's not much light because it would waste the battery [so] I can't read."

"I don't know about you," Mr Parker said, "but when I heard that about a year or two ago ... I heard the story, it actually still brings me to tears, of that girl doing her homework by the light of a van.

"I mean ... really ... in New Zealand ... excuse me."

Mr Parker said he believes the 2018 Budget is "turning the tide on poverty" in New Zealand.

Housing was allocated $634 million in operating funds to increase housing by 6,000 homes over the next four years, to provide more transitional housing "and help for the homeless and offer grants for insulation and heating".

KiwiBuild was previously given $2.1 billion in the government's mini-Budget and in a pre-Budget announcement, $100 million was given to tackling homelessness.

The Economic Development Minister says the new Budget is “turning the tide” on poverty in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern says Budget 'factored in' upcoming pay negotiations with teachers, nurses and police

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government factored in looming pay negotiations with teachers, police and nurses into the Budget.

In her first media engagement since the Budget was unveiled yesterday, Ms Ardern was asked about what will likely be tough pay negotiations and the Government's ability to fund wage increases.

"Of course we know that we are facing those incredibly important pay negotiations and we've had to factor that in when we've crafted the budget," she said.

"For obvious reasons we don't make it particularly obvious where we've placed that contingency," she said.

Pressed on the issue, Ms Ardern said further details of the allocation would remain confidential, ahead of what looked to be tough negotiations.

"Yes, of course you'll understand why we don't put a clear headline in the Budget as to where that contingency is kept because of course we do need to go through a negotiation for each but we have factored that in as we have formulated the budget."

During coalition negotiations last year, the cost from collective bargaining and pay equity for nurses over three years was estimated at $750 million.

Pay talks for primary teachers began earlier this month, with the New Zealand Educational Institute union seeking a 16 percent pay rise and improved working conditions, especially with regard to support with special education needs.

Ms Ardern said teachers' expectations about Budget funding were not too high.

“I think they probably understand that we have a huge amount of pressure in the education sector, 17,000 students that there wasn’t funding set aside for, both for teacher needs and infrastructure that we had to make sure we were funding in this budget.”

“I think when you have a 46 per cent increase in funding in the education sector and still, there is that need, that goes to show just the amount of work that we’re having to put to rebuild that sector,” she said.

Ms Ardern said special education was prioritised in the budget because the need in that area was so great.

She added that it was a priority of Education Minister Chris Hipkins to attract people into the teaching profession.

The PM says the government has “factored in” looming pay negotiations with teachers, police and nurses in the Budget. Source: 1 NEWS


Air NZ passengers with same wedding date as Meghan and Harry gifted airport lounge access

Air NZ will be celebrating the royal wedding by offering complementary airport lounge access to all customers who share the same wedding date as Harry and Meghan - May 19.

Customers with this  wedding anniversary need to present their marriage certificate dated May 19, to access any Air NZ operated lounge.

Air New Zealand Manager Global Lounges Ali Swarbrick says it's terrific to get behind the much-anticipated royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and share the excitement with customers.

"We look forward to rolling out the red carpet for customers travelling with us on Saturday and invite them to celebrate their own special day with us as we acknowledge the royal nuptials," Ms Swarbrick said.

"In addition to welcoming these special guests into our lounges, we'll be serving celebratory Kir Royale cocktails in the Auckland International, Sydney, Los Angeles, Wellington Domestic and Christchurch Domestic lounges and running a fun wedding cake competition."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are understood to have chosen elderflower flavour for their wedding cake.

So customers in the Auckland International, Sydney, Los Angeles, Wellington Domestic and Christchurch Domestic lounges will be able to sample elderflower wedding cake made by the kitchen staff in each of these lounges as part of an in-house challenge.

New footage released shows the huge construction process from start to finish.
Source: Supplied