'Why did her Budget take $100 million out of mental health?' Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern engage in tense exchange over priorities

The Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition engaged in a tense exchange today during Question Time, around priorities from the Budget. 

"Why did her Budget take $100 million out of mental health and only put $10 million back in?" Simon Bridges asked.

Jacinda Ardern said the $100m "was not actually allocated to any specific project, it was a list of pilots, some of which didn’t happen". 

"What we have funded is a project to enable under-25s to access free mental health care, we've extended nurses in schools for young people to decile four, we've already funded mental health support in Canterbury and Kaikoura, and amongst the $750m in capital for health, it includes upgrade for mental health facilities," she said. 

Mr Bridges asked why the boost of almost $1 billion into foreign affairs and aid was "more important" than $100m into mental health.

"I'm surprised that Member no longer supports New Zealand upholding its international obligations, and I take this as now being on record that under National there would be a cut in overseas aid and development,” Ms Ardern said to Mr Bridges. 

She said she welcomed Mr Bridges on the next Pacific mission, "because they might have something to say to you". 

Winston Peters to visit China to discuss trade, security and North Korea

Winston Peters will visit China this week to meet China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Foreign Minister said in a statement New Zealand's relationship with China is a significant one. 

"This is an important time for the Asia-Pacific region."

"State Councillor Wang Yi and I will have in-depth discussions on important regional trade and security issues, including North Korea," Mr Peters said. 

It comes after New Zealand put $714 million into aid over the next four years, mainly focusing around the Pacific region. 

Mr Peters will also meet with members of the Chinese business community.

"As well as being an important trade and economic partner, China and New Zealand have extensive people-to-people links, including through tourism, education, cultural exchanges and New Zealand’s racing export industry."

Mr Peters has tried to explain the benefits of nearly $700m budget spending in aid, and 50 new diplomats funded in Budget 2018.
Source: 1 NEWS


Number of farms under Mycoplasma bovis regulatory control jumps by 29 in two weeks

The number of properties under regulatory control because of the cow disease Mycoplasma bovis has reached 328.

That is 29 more properties than when the Ministry for Primary Industries appeared before a select committee two weeks ago.

Jacinda Ardern says the Government is closely considering the next steps to take in order to combat Mycoplasma bovis in New Zealand. Source: Breakfast

At that select committee officials told MPs there had been an unprecedented rise in the number of properties under regulatory control in the six days prior.

There are 38 properties which are confirmed as being infected, while there are 29 under a Restricted Place Notice which means they are highly likely to be infected too.

There are 64 properties under Notices of Direction right now, with 86 notices in the process of being served. The notices mean animals can't be moved without a permit.

A further 111 properties are under surveillance. 

There are now 40 infected properties, and the government says the number will increase. Source: 1 NEWS