Winston Peters explains $900m foreign affairs' spend, saying New Zealand needs 'respect, and we intend to get it back'

With evident anger at the funding cuts his Ministry of Foreign Affairs had endured over the years, Winston Peters was more than willing to reel off the benefits the near $1 billion funding boost his portfolio has scored in Budget 2018.

Speaking with 1 NEWS Political Editor Jessica Mutch today, Mr Peters was keen to point out that his ministry does include "Trade" - and it's the life blood of the New Zealand economy.

So what did he have to say about the public's eyebrow raising over the huge budget spend off Kiwi shores?

The government has set aside hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for the region. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's not on top of their list (foreign affairs spending) until they get in trouble internationally, it's not on the top of their list until they want trade assistance internationally," Mr Peters said.

"This is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and as I say our trade was declining. We live and die by our trading success story.

"We live and die by the capacity of our businesses to go off shore and bring money back for the family New Zealand. So perhaps a better education on why this is important is required."

The Foreign Minister says the government’s announcement is a response to a number of influences in the Pacific. Source: Breakfast

Today, the government announced it was spending $714 million in aid to Pacific region, and $190 million to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade -  over the next four years.

Mr Peters said New Zealand has the lowest multilateral contribution to aid in the OECD, 0.28 per cent of global national income, and indicated he saw this as a false economy for New Zealand in the future.

"But in the long run the extrapolation of the thought of some of the political comments at the moment is 'why aren't we funding projects back home? Charity starts at home' and the extension of that is 'why don't we just abolish the ministry and abolish our off shore presence completely?'. I know where that will lead," Mr Peters said.

"A country like New Zealand needs friends, but you've got to get friends by your positive action and your preparedness to contribute.

"In short, we need respect, and we intend to get it back."

"So it comes down to where would you place the peg of financing, or the benchmark of financing?" 

Mr Peters also touched on the planned 50 additional New Zealand diplomats overseas - noticeably in Scandinavia and Stockholm, Sweden - who have no reciprocal embassy in New Zealand.

"When you look at a country like Norway which is the leading technological country on a thing like fishing... We have things to learn from them," Mr Peters said.

"We have things to learn from the Icelanders. We have a whole lot of things to learn in the area of remediating the deteriorating environment whilst we are farming cows.

"There are lots of cows in Scandinavia, but they are light years ahead of us. You fly over their rivers and they're pristine clean."

"No pollution... we could have learnt from them a long long time ago."

Simon Bridges says the Government should be investing more cash in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Budget 2018 will be fully released on May 17.

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

Earthquake displaced Redcliffs School may get new home by end of 2019

The long saga of the earthquake displaced Redcliffs School in Christchurch could see the school having a new home built by the end of next year.

The government confirmed it will apply special changes under the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act to speed up the land swap between the old school site and nearby Redcliffs Park.

The Ministry of Education plans to start site works on the new school site later this year.

The school had to vacate its original site in Redcliffs after a cliff collapse made its original site unsafe.

It has been using the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Sumner as a makeshift site.

Now a new school will be built on the Redcliffs Park site, that will be sold to the crown, and the old school site will be turned into a park in return.

In exchange the council gets the old school site, to turn into a new park. Source: 1 NEWS

The school will reopen at a brand new site just down from the old one, which had to be abandoned after a massive aftershock in June 2011. Source: 1 NEWS

The school had to fight to survive after former Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the closure of the school, but the community fought hard to reverse that decision.

In exchange the council gets the old school site, to turn into a new park.
Source: 1 NEWS


Lower Hutt police chase sees vehicle containing loaded pump action shot gun reversed into cop car before man tasered and arrested

A wild police chase of a fleeing driver has resulted in an arrest in Lower Hutt early this morning.

Police say a vehicle which contained two occupants, failed to stop for police and fled at speed in Woburn at around 1am this morning.

They say the vehicle came to a stop on Randwick Road where one occupant ran from the vehicle, before the driver reversed at speed into the police car that was following.

In the fracas the police car sustained minor damage, however the wanted vehicle then fled again before eventually coming to a stop.

Police say the driver then ran from the vehicle and was tracked by the police dog unit who located the driver at a residential property on Trevithick Grove.

They say the man resisted arrest and had to be tasered before being arrested. A search of the vehicle also revealed a loaded pump action shot gun and ammunition.

Police say the police officer involved in the arrest was not seriously injured, however he did receive minor abrasions as a result.

A 25-year-old man was arrested and is facing multiple charges such as failing to stop, dangerous driving, possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, assault with a weapon, possession of a knife, and possession of a pipe.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS